Media Blog

CBS, Still Toasting Fidel Castro’s Charisma and Idealism

Communism, that poisonous and deadly ideological fad, has never quite lost its cachet in the anti-anti-communist media. Even now, 18 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, our “mainstream” media still portrays communist leaders in a less skeptical spotlight than they treat a Republican president. On Thursday’s “Early Show” on CBS, Maggie Rodriguez reported on Cuba’s communist holiday: “This is a big day in Cuba, Revolution Day, marking the communist rebellion led by Fidel Castro in the late 1950s. But Castro, who has been in ill health for some time now, will not be attending the celebrations.”
The word “dictator” – or even the notion that Castro has ruled the country with an iron grip – is forever absent. Reporter Kelly Cobiella in Havana reported: “In this country of contradictions, everything has changed and nothing has changed. In the streets of old Havana, this summer sounds just like any other. The old cobblestone squares are filled with tourists and there are surprises at every turn. Beyond the postcard perfect Havana, among the domino games and buildings in need of repair, Cubans are settling into the idea their leader of 48 years is fading into the background.”
But the biggest disappointment comes when Fidel is defined as an “idealist.” People at CBS would need to be put in thumb-screws before they would use the I-word to describe a Republican president like Reagan or the current President Bush, but it just spills out of Cobiella’s mouth when it’s Castro. After Rodriguez suggested Raul Castro “doesn’t have Fidel’s charisma,” Cobiella replied, “Well, he is very pragmatic, much more pragmatic than idealistic like Fidel.”
It’s easy to look like you have “charisma” when criticizing you can be fatal. But I wouldn’t define creating an island prison that people risk death to escape as an “idealistic” life’s work.

Tim GrahamTim Graham is Director of Media Analysis at the Media Research Center, where he began in 1989, and has served there with the exception of 2001 and 2002, when served ...

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