27 April 2007

Castro's Snow Bunnies

Yesterday, I wrote, metaphorically, that the Cuban propaganda apparatus was like a giant snow-making machine and that some reporters were just willing to blindly ski down any slope the regime prepared for them. No questions asked.

This article in The Nation tells us what happens in Castro’s Media Ski Slopes:

Marie Sanz, Agence France-Presse's correspondent for four years in Havana….says
the Cuban government may prefer neophytes--she calls them "starry-eyed reporters"—

"The Cubans should never be underestimated in this propaganda war," she said. "They know what the foreign press wants and how it works. They play hardball." (ice balls! Ouch!).

Recently, the Cuban Regime politely asked 3 reporters to remove themselves and their laptops from the slopes. One of these reporters was Gary Marx. As a skier, Marx, blazed his own trails and did not ski with the rest of the pack. That got Mr. Marx noticed by the ski police:

Marx was called into the Cuban International Press Center (CPI) and told his five-year stint as a correspondent in Cuba had come to an end. "The bottom line was basically this," Marx told me. "[CPI director José Luis Ponce] said to me, 'This is nothing personal, this is business. Our overseas image is very important to us. We weighed your positive stories against your negative stories. There are too many negative stories. We think we can do better with someone else.'"

But why would reporters willingly ski the trails marked by the regime and try not to ruin all the fresh snow? Marx has a theory(no, not THAT theory, wrong Marx):

'If you want to be here for the big day when Fidel goes and witness whatever transition takes place, you better be careful.'

There are Four US news organizations with skiers on mount Cuba: CNN and the AP, as well as two Tribune Company newspapers, the Chicago Tribune and the South Florida Sun Sentinel. (Marx works for the Chicago Tribune). CNN, is of course, infamous for “skewing” its reporting from Iraq so that it would be allowed to keep its news bureau there. The AP’s role in reporting from Havana seems more like the role of spokespersons since they tend to repeat exactly the regime’s official “snow job” as facts with few critical comments. I have taken to call them the Associated Parrots.

Ironically, Anita “Snow” (AP) often writes “fluffy” snow stories from whatever slope she’s told to ski on.

With the onset of global warming and the inernet, both creations of Al Gore, it takes more and more energy to continue to produce all this snow. Sometime soon, some of these snow bunnies may find themselves high and wet atop Castro's slopes like CNN did in Iraq.

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