Accuracy in Media

Our media have been filled in recent months with stories about a Spanish effort to prosecute former Chilean leader Augusto Pinochet, supposedly for crimes against humanity, murder and genocide. Pinochet, who is 83 years old and in poor health, is being hounded for his successful effort back in the 1970’s to save Chile from an emerging Communist dictatorship backed by Cuba?s Fidel Castro.

Speaking of Castro, why hasn?t there been a comparable effort to hold him accountable for what has happened in Cuba? In contrast to Pinochet, who stepped down from power voluntarily, Castro has been running a dictatorship for 40 years. He has sponsored subversion and terrorism throughout the world. Why haven?t our leading newspapers been calling for his arrest and trial?

It turns out that some or our top newspaper editors recently traveled to Cuba to meet with Castro himself. The delegation came from the American Society of Newspaper Editors, whose president, Edward Seaton, came up with the idea. Seaton, the editor-in-chief of The Manhattan (Kansas) Mercury, said the trip was worthwhile because “We want to help editors understand more about nations that are making news.” But they pandered to the dictator, giving Castro a gift ? a baseball signed by Chicago Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa.

Can anyone imagine these editors meeting with Pinochet and giving him a gift? If you ever needed more evidence of a left-wing tilt in the American news media, this is it. In order to get into Cuba, which is isolated by a U.S. economic embargo, the editors had to get special licenses to slip into the country. They went to great lengths to meet with Castro.

Another ostensible purpose of the visit was to ask the dictator to allow the opening of more American news bureaus on the island. So far, CNN is the only U.S.-based news organization with a bureau there. This sounds like a legitimate purpose. The problem is that the CNN bureau at times has sounded like an arm of Cuba?s propaganda ministry. Last January, the Cuban American National foundation denounced a CNN special report from Cuba on the Pope?s visit to the island as “an infomercial on why the American people should hate the embargo.” The broadcast from Cuba featured images of sick Cuban children, blaming their plight on U.S. policy. In fact, the U.S. embargo permits humanitarian aid and medical supplies to reach the Cuban people.

More than 30 editors and others were part of the visit to Castro?s Cuba. Many came home and wrote stories about their time with the dictator. Gregory Moore, managing editor of the Boston Globe, said that “Clearly, Cuba has much to be proud of. Officials boast that Cuba has no organized crime and a low overall crime rate. They note that few, if any, criminals have guns.” That?s true because the dictatorship has all the guns. It is the dictatorship that constitutes an organized criminal enterprise regime. In an interview with the editors, Castro denied a Forbes magazine report that he has accumulated $1.5 billion in personal wealth. Gregory Moore of the Boston Glove probably believed him.

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