Tuesday, January 29, 2008

MSM: Some Change, More of the Same

It has become noticeable that there is a certain sea change in the coverage of Cuba by the mainstream news services. It is but a slight shift, but it is there. The new pattern to reports seems to be to begin with Cuban government pronouncements and fictions. In the past that would be end of story. Lately, the middle of the piece will turn to a noted dissident or anti government activist, the spokesman for one of the alphabet soup of organizations dedicated to change. So it is with this story.

A while back, I posted on the regime's revival of a program to bring some sweetness and light into Cuba's prisons, not humane treatment, but song and dance and architecture. Yesterday, the AP reported on singer Silvio Rodriguez's part in this program. In what has to be considered a sign of progress, the article cites an opposing point of view:

Human rights activist Elizardo Sanchez criticized the program as propaganda designed to whitewash the image of Cuban lockups abroad. Sanchez's Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation regularly describes the island's prison conditions as "subhuman."

Still, the AP missed a major part of the story. They neglected to mention that political prisoners who have refused to attend Rodriguez's appearances have been severely punished and now are whisked away beforehand to avoid the appearance of Cuban reality. You would think that news organizations would read the dispatches written by independent journalists from the island, non?

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