The Press Is to Inform, Not ManipulateJuly 18, 2012 | Print |
HAVANA TIMES — The Granma newspaper in its issue of Saturday, July 14, ran a headline on its front page, but with no details. It read: “Information from the Ministry of Public Health,” with a small “2” below this to indicate that the text was on the second page of daily.
Then, on the first page, there appeared a large headline that read: “Florida Experiencing Tuberculosis Epidemic as the Governor Closes Hospital Where Cases Have Occurred.” This took up around a fourth of the entire page, with this report explaining that the epidemic in the US involved 99 detected cases and 13 deaths.
Turning to the second page to find the news item, it officially reported on an outbreak of cholera in Cuba with 158 infected and 3 deaths.
Previously they had reported 85 people infected with what they referred to as “vibrio cholerae” virus, which is only understood by specialists, instead of calling the disease by its common name. Since that earlier date there had been an increase of 73 cases.
Granma’s information seems more focused on diverting the attention of its readers to the TB epidemic in Florida than informing the Cuban people about the existence of cholera here in Cuba.
Those who run the newspaper and write its editorials don’t realize that this crude form of manipulating information only serves to call into question the truthfulness of the article on cholera in Cuba. It makes people question why the journalists want to minimize the outbreak here and describe it as being limited to the city of Manzanillo.
The official organ of the Communist Party of Cuba seems to have forgotten that it has been a long time since it has served as the sole source of information for Cubans. Other media sources give other information different from what Granma reports, and they’re talking about the presence of cholera in other regions.
With this brief news note in Granma, the placement of its article on the second page and the paper’s clearly manipulative intention, the other reports — which may be false — gain credibility.
Granma needs to be more careful with these sensitive issues and it should keep in mind that the Cuban people learned to read between the lines a long time ago.
These things happen when the main objective isn’t to inform but to divert the public’s attention to other subjects, a form of manipulation that has been widely criticized as a common practice by the Western corporate media.
I hope this comment helps the party press in some way.
To contact Pedro Campos, write: firstname.lastname@example.org