Batista, Obama, Fidel and the “Fourth Estate or Power”
The press has been often classified as the Fourth Estate (I like the term Power) of a government, especially a democracy. In a Democracy the Media’s function is to inform and provide balance to events, without hiding or underscoring their importance. Opinions and newspaper editorials should be very separate from the rest of a newspaper and well identified.
Free Media has the duty to enlighten the people, to fairly inform them. They are supposed to use true facts without using tactics which downplay, ignore, or emphasize events. The news should be given in a way that fits as Walter Cronkite used to say, “… and that is the way it is”.
Any critique by a person or a discussion group should be preceded by political orientation of the critique. Knowing the political alignment of a writer makes clear his intention, and makes it easier to check past opinions and accusations. This is particularly important, now, when almost all news shows on television are really talk shows. Knowing, and understanding an editorial bent is a preemptory knowledge in a democracy. Our educational curriculum, starting in pre-school, should introduce and provide constant practice in discovering the different propaganda devices that constantly are used by interested parties in speeches, talk shows and ads. Also, children need to be taught, starting at a young age, how to differentiate facts from opinions. And, above all, learn how to research for facts to make possible this distinction. Unlike totalitarian governments, democracy needs illuminated people who can separate what is important from what is trivial; what is good from what is bad; what is a lie from what is truth; and, what is real pain from what is drama to impress.
In autocratic or dictatorial governments of any persuasion, media resources are forced to work for the government. It is and was a reality during the governments of Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Franco, as well as currently in China, and North Korea. All are all created and directed to enhance the government and in many cases make diatribes against opposition leaders and ideas. In those cases, the convincing force of the “Fourth Power” exists to indoctrinate people, and make them believe that the best way is the way of a determined totalitarian or despotic, government.
However, many times the press becomes a dictatorial press by its own will. Probably that happens under the influence of the political, social, economic, etc. preference of those involved in the direction, editing or preparation of the news shows or editorials. In these cases, the Media itself imposes that dictatorship That kind of press or a self-imposed dictatorship adopts the same goals as would a government controlled Media. And, they will make use all of these propaganda devices, and even lies, to develop fanatic attitudes in those receiving its influential messages.
Cuban Media became a self-imposed dictatorial media, the kind of press described above, during the Ramon Grau San Martin, and Carlos Prior Socares constitutional governments. These presidents were not as liberal as the press wanted. The press proceeded by downplaying the many good works that Grau and Prior did, and instead fiercely concentrated on their sins, (such as embezzlement of public funds). In reality this was the sin of other preceding Cuban presidents. My opinion is quoting that of Miguel Angel Quevedo , owner and editor of the weekly magazine “Bohemia.“ His opinion is very clearly indicated in his post mortem testamentary letter “Mea Culpa” (*), a letter that should be read by all people in democratic as well as totalitarian nations (3). He also declared that Cuban Media prepared the way for the Cubans disillusion toward these two constitutional governments, at the end of the government of Prio. And, he also indicates that it was one of the factors in why Cubans were indifferent to Prio’s constitutional government close to the time that the next Constitutional election was scheduled to take place.
The many good facets of these government and the many good measures they took for the development of Cuba, were erased by their sins. Imagine if the same negative press propaganda had occurred against Bill Clinton. Probably his wonderful flexibility in accepting Republican suggestions and in so doing helping create the years of prosperity our country had for many years, would not be recognized now. Cuba was a young government at that time, only 50 years free from Spain. Its constitutional way needed to be protected and preserved. However, as Quevedo indicated, the majority of the Cuban people only read and heard a negative approach that made it easy for them to only condemn the pre-Castro governments.
Quevedo also indicated that the press during Batista’s time redoubled their efforts.. By reading the letter, one can understand the terrible horrors the newspaper published about Batista regime. Horrors that were often not true, yet parroted by others, including the lie that Batista killed 20,000 Cubans. Other lies were spread showing depravity in Cuban life, such as that Cuban prostitutes at that time were everywhere, as they apparently are now in Cuba (they are now known as “jineteras”). Cuban prostitutes, like prostitutes everywhere, were in brothels. Or the lie that drugs were being used everywhere in Havana. Or that the mafia ran Cuba. It is true that there were mafioss in Cuba, such as George Ralf. It is also true that many Cuban actors and artists admired American artistic culture and actors, such as Ginger Rogers. Cuba had successful cabaret’s which copied what American’s were doing. A good example of this was the shows at the Tropicana, which I saw several times, and was a takeoff on the style of the Ziegfield follies. This is no different than what we see in places like Las Vegas, Nevada. Why do those writing about Cuba do not give similar comparisons to Las Vegas? We do not see them comparing Americans going to Las Vegas’ diversion and gambling places a as drug addicts and or Las Vegas as a den of prostitutions? The Cuban press used all possible derogatory words to show all the bad were associated with Batista. No wonder many American had a completely wrong idea of what was the real Cuba, and what a typical Cuban was like. I remember when I began to work in a junior high school, here in the United States that some men (among them teachers) began to talk to me as if I were a rumba dancer or a prostitute. Of course, very soon they realized who I was and even later some of them and some female teachers used to make fun of me and said, “ Could you imagine I confused you with a loose woman, when you are really a prude?” At that time I went to the dictionary to find the meaning of this word. After so many years of living in United States I am proud that Cuban women (half of the more than one million Cubans who arrived here in the United States) had shown that they are decent “Cuban women”
I think Batista behavior was deplorable. He adopted an arrogant attitude and a semi-god posture. I think Machado developed the same posture, and had few constitutionally elected mandates. However, it was a terrible thing to stop the constitutional process (no matter how shakey the ground it stood on) of a new nation who was beginning to take its first unbalanced steps. However, I also think that the majority of the Cuban press should not have only been talking about Batista doing evil things and killing people. The press should not be injecting venom, aggrandizing events, inventing lies in an already dying democratic environment. The press should give real truths; or clearly state that is giving interested invective. The press knew very well that Fidel was a Communist, even though he had not allied himself to Cuba’s Communist Party. They knew that Fidel was member of one of the Univesity of Havana’s ganster groups. They knew Fidel’s role in the “Bogotazo”. They knew about the accusations made against Fidel for various assassinations even if in reality these accusations were not judicially proven. They also knew about the lie that Batista assassinated 20,000 Cubans. They also knew that the close relationship between Cuba and the United States would force Batista to allow elections.
The indifferent attitude that the Cuban press took toward the 1958 Presidential elections was venal. The press did not want to admit that these elections could be the door to allow Cuba to escape from it’s unconstitutional state . The press, as Quevedo said, and my personal witness corroborates, almost did not mention the elections. It did not make any effort to help the success of the election . As more people would believe in an election, the less chance Batista would have to corrupt it. Instead of fostering these elections, the press isolated herself from these events. The men slated as presidential candidates, were important men, and highly thought of; men such as: Carlos Márquez Sterling of the Party of the Free People, Former President Ramón Grau San Martín of the Cuban Revolutionary Party-Authentic, and Andrés Rivero Agüero of the government coalition. (7)
During this election process, all three of the candidates were threatened by Castro, and several assassination attempts were made on both Ramón Grau San Martín and Carlos Márquez Sterling. Castro threatened the candidates in the elections because if any non-government candidates won, they would block the Revolution's triumph and his ascent to power, since it would have meant that the elections were free and fair. In the end, he did not have to worry about fairness. On Election Day, estimates on the turnout range from 30–50% in the areas where voting took place; this did not include parts of Las Villas and Oriente, which were controlled by Castro. The initial results showed a Márquez Sterling victory, but the military ordered the counting to stop as they changed the actual ballots for fraudulent ones, and Batista declared Rivero Agüero the winner. Once Castro came to power, he ordered all records from the elections destroyed, so that Carlos Márquez Sterling could not claim that he should rightfully have been President.
I see similar things happening here in the US. Already, many Americans are noting the self imposed liberal bias of our media. Even Liberals accept this tendency. But, probably, they do not know that the American press is acting like the pre-Castro Cuban press. President Obama and any of the preceding presidents have not taken away the freedom of press of the united States, but the Media has taken this freedom as a way to lean events in the way they want, or to present information in a downplayed manner (like in the tv show “The View”) and as do many of the MSNBC anchors. It is a partisan press that imposes it’s belief, and takes on the duty of protecting and advancing those persons, causes, political parties, events, etc, that it favors and creates an adverse public opinion against those with whom they differ.
And this attitude of agreeing with any kind of behavior when it comes from a Liberal (usually Democratic) President, and fiercely attacking similar or lesser behaviors Conservative or semi-conservatives such as Bush, is a slow destruction of our constitutional Republic.
“Democrat strategist and political consultant Patrick Caddell is fed up with the mainstream media bias and how it overwhelmingly favored the re-election of President Barack Obama. Virtually the entire news media was on the Obama bandwagon, which is not what the First Amendment contemplated, Caddell insists.
Caddell, who is a fixture on cable news, was a pollster to and political advisor for Democrats such as Jimmy Carter in his narrow 1976 win against President Gerald Ford and in his landslide loss to Ronald Regan in 1980. Reagan defeated Carter in 1980 by forging a coalition of Republican voters and so-called Reagan Democrats.
Caddell didn’t mince words in his recent speech .He claims that the media has now become the enemy of the American people and a fundamental threat to democracy. “The overwhelming [media] bias has become very real and very dangerous,” Caddell said in speech for the Accuracy in Media organization.”
Recently examples of the Liberal media’s self-imposed dictatorial stance, was the interjection of Candy Crowley into the second presidential debate between Governor Mitt Romney and President Obama , probably costing Government Mitt Romney the Presidency. Crowley interrupted Romney and came to the defense of Obama during the subject of the attack on the US embassy in Libya
Romney: “I want to make sure we get that for the record because it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror.”
Obama said: “Get the transcript”
Candy Crowley interfered and with all the seriousness of an expert affirmed that Obama has classified the “Attack to the Benghazi embassy as an act of terror, when it is not. It was a Candy Crowley pure lie and President Obama pure lie. In both case defending the popularity of Obama since that the Presidential election were to be effected some days after.
And where was the outrage of the leftist press? Nobody noted it.
Ex Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, also played main role in sustaining the Obama cover up when she declare after the attack on the U.S. Benghazi embassy, that the attack was not a terrorist act, even though it was later proved to be one . And this declaration has to be considered a cover up when later in Obama’s debate with Romney he denied that he had classified the attack as spontaneous, and need the assistance of Candy Crowley to sustain that lie.
Hillary Clinton had responsibility for not paying attention to the 12 terrorist attacks prior to Benghazi for not paying attention to the letters by the US. Embassador indicating that the embassy’s safety was suspect. She was clearly inefficient as a guardian of American’s overseas interests and people. But what really hurts is her collaboration in the Obama’s cover as to the real nature of the Attack on Benghazi. Her histrionic performance was tinted with her tearful and emotional voice, followed by parts tinted with angers. She indicated what the government is going to ensure the safety of American embassies. I think was good news. But, she did not answer the main question that still should be in the minds of Americans: Why cover up of the nature of the attacks on Benghazi?
During her recent visit to Congress, the Senators and Representatives asked weak questions that did not lead to a good cross examination and instead to scrambled or garbled questions. Nothing was clear after all those hours. However, still there were many leftist tv shows that considered Hillary’s performance as “super”. I would think that everyone regardless their political affiliations should be anxious to hear Hillary Clinton’s explanation about the government’s initial cover up of the Benghazi events, and worse, the negation by President Obama, that he had not said it was a terrorist act. And the “say nothing, but act strongly”, appearance before the Senate Committee.
But while the conservative show “The Five” on Fox made fun of the Hillary’s evasive and dramatic declarations, a leftist show “The View” after showing a little excerpt of the hearing, applauded the evasive-say nothing Hillary Clinton performance.
The lack of fulfillment to the duty of the press in finding real truths and facts, culminated in an interview of Steve Kraft by Piers Morgan. Piers Morgan asked about the reason for the soft ball questions by Steve during his interview with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama during “60 minutes”. Steven Kraft’s answer tells us why President Obama has accepted many interviews by Steve. Answering Piers Morgan’s question, Steve declare:
“But I think it's a question of fairness. I, we have not, I think he knows that we're not going to play gotcha with him, that we're not going to go out of our way to make him look bad or stupid, and we'll let him answer the questions”
Is the above answer one from a member of the free press or a a member of a self dictatorial Media?
Noel Sheppart ,Associate Editor of News Buster Blog , comment about the above answer:” How proud the folks at “60” minutes has to be to know that they have created an environment where the President of the United States feels comfortable seating on their network without being challenged and therefore avoid looking bad or stupid”
What about the press in Fidel’s Cuba? What press? The free press, , a really self-controlled press, died in Cuba immediately after the Revolution. The government controlled the entire Media and later the entire internet in Cuba. There is only one newspaper: The Granma, whose articles are only a cult to Fidel and whatever he or his subordinates wish. All the radio programs are controlled by the government, as well as all the television shows. Internet is prepared only for research and what is previously examined and approved by the government. AND THE OPPOSITION? What opposition? In defenseless Cubans without any army nor guns are incapable of any opposition. The smallest criticism of the government renders the person under arrest in prison by a jailor in Fidel’s uniform.
AND WHAT HAPPENED TO THE PATRIOTIC UNIVERSTITY FEDERATION OFSTUDENTS? Twenty-first century Cubans are likely unaware that once upon a time there was a very influential and powerful university student’s federation. As soon as Fidel took power in Cuba, he ended this same group which he once belonged to, and had previously been autonomous. . Now students have to ask official permission for any meeting they want to organize, and allow government officials to approve anything they want to say.
* Please see prior post "Bohemia Accuses the Killers of Cuban Democracy"