In a "Gee, it's not so bad" story, Associated Press writer Vanessa Arrington points out that "Some Cubans Enjoy Comforts of Communism". Who, you ask, is the subject of her human interest story, this fortunate soul enjoying the benefits of socialism? Try a homeless park janitor who hasn't eaten in three days. You think I'm kidding. I'm not. Hey - he's got free health care! Oh, and did you know Cuba has free education and high literacy rates? Zzzzz. Is this honestly considered serious journalism?
Paragraph two opens, "In Cuba's communist society, where every day is a struggle but survival is practically guaranteed..." Oh, it is? Tell that to the thousands of Cubans whose family members have been disappeared and/or executed for opposing the regime. [WSJ: Counting Castro's Victims]
How does Arrington describe the mood of Cubans amidst a changing political situation this week? Well, they're taking it "in such stride" because they're just so comfy with communism. Gag me.
To paint a comparison picture, she offers quotes from her subject saying he could come to the US or Mexico, but surely that would be harder and more expensive [free health care!]. Yeah, I'm sure it's much better to live without any food in a park shed decorated with cleaning supplies.
She mentions that the "locals" tell her about the richness of the culture - and their "safe streets". I don't know about you, but I've never considered neighborhood patrols by communist secret police to be that advantageous to one's safety.
Then there's an oh-yeah-by-the-way-there-are-political-prisoners-who-don't-like-it-here-but-there's-just-a-few-of-them-most-people-wouldn't-say-they're-repressed paragraph.
Cuban "democracy" is also explained. Apparently, the Assembly members, who are elected, are the ones who choose the president. "Castro, a representative from the eastern city of Santiago, has repeatedly won out." Please spare us.
And, you know the tactic that members of the White House Press Corps use when they ask Bush questions with anonymously-attributed introductions like, "Some say that you're Hitler..."? The AP writer offers a similar anecdote - "Some Cubans retort that a system allowing President Bush to "steal" elections and wage wars without the people's support is certainly more flawed than their own."
Now notice the pictures the AP uses next to the story. Of the thousands of pictures of Condoleezza Rice, that's the one they chose? The pensive revolutionary vs. the menacing imperialist. Castro has been in power since 1959 and how many stories has the American media ever run enumerating the crimes he has committed? I strain to recall even one instance in my lifetime. In my opinion, they have no credibility left. If they want to operate as Eason Jordan's CNN did in Baghdad, by compromising principle for access, then they can go ahead. I'll get my news elsewhere.
May God protect the people of Cuba and those who seek freedom.