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Tuesday, August 15, 2006


NPR (mis)informs its listeners about Cuba

I was briefly listening to NPR's "Talk of the Nation" today. The conversation was about Cuba, and one of the guests was Oscar Corral, the principal reporter on Cuba for the Miami Herald, the newspaper which features more coverage of Cuba than any other paper in the U.S. And what did I hear Mr. Corral say on that show? "Cubans aren't allowed to own anything: houses, cars, etc." Balderdash! Even if you don't know that Cubans do own houses, surely everyone who has ever watched or read anything about Cuba knows that the "old cars of Cuba," the 50's relics that Cubans still nurse along with pride and improvised spare parts, are a feature of Cuba. Of course Cubans own lots of other things as well - their clothes, their appliances, their furniture, and so on. What they don't own is the "means of production" - the factories and such. But the idea that the principal reporter on Cuba for the Miami Herald would make such a statement, and that no one on the show -- not the host, nor any of the other guests -- would bother to correct such a gross misstatement, is unfortunately indicative of the state of reporting about Cuba.

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