Friday, May 11, 2012


In 2009, Pixar studios released an impossibly sweet animated 3D movie called "Up."  And while animated movies are usually marketed to kids, this one also held great appeal for old coots who have reached the "you kids get off my lawn" stage in life.  I am a little worried by how much I liked the movie and the old coot.

At one point in the movie, our heroes find themselves being pursued by a pack of vicious and well-trained attack dogs.  The only thing that saves them is their discovery that the dogs can be easily distracted by simply shouting the word "Squirrel."  It turns out, humans are almost as easily distracted by the word "sex."  And so it was that while the USA was discovering that Latin America has almost totally abandoned them diplomatically at the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena Columbia, the USA press needed a distraction.  So naturally they shout "sex" and sure enough, everyone (at least official Washington) got distracted.

Canadian Press Tells Us What Really Happened in Cartagena – And It Wasn’t About Prostitutes and Secret Service

International Press Inform that the Main Issues Were Cuba, Legalization of Drugs, and the U.S.’s Isolation from South America
by JEC / Special to the OB Rag / April 25, 2012

Would I sound naïve – perhaps pedantic – to say American media is censored? I just had one those “moments” when information falls in your lap by chance. Like an overheard comment, the authenticity is powerful. As it happened I was in Cartagena, Columbia on Saturday, April 14th, in the midst of the “Summit of the Americas”. I was on the cruise ship “Rotterdam” just after passing through the Panama Canal.

The Summit of the Americas was ever present; helicopters in the air, speed boats cruising the harbor. The streets were nearly lined with police/troops most often holding automatic weapons. Reportedly over 90% of all police and security forces of the entire country were in Cartagena to protect the 33 heads of states. Two small bombs exploded the night before getting everyone in the proper mood.

But what do Americans know?

The Secret Service sex scandal and that’s about it. It was the lead story on the Nightly News Monday night (4/23/12). I’ve heard nothing but the 24/7 drum beat since I returned five days ago – sex, sex, sex – seems to serve as the filler for America media.

Am I surprised? No, disappointed yes because I know it goes beyond Fox News. It’s about how pervasive the censorship is across America’s media, including CNN, MSNBC and the New York Times. And this censorship is damaging us, all of us. We make lousy decisions based on faulty information, thanks to American mainstream media. And when it comes to Cuba, we are nearly psychotic.

Ok, so what happened?

It unfolds this way – on Sunday – April 15th – the passengers were eager to read about what they just saw firsthand. The ship produces ten different condensed papers from a number of countries. Different nations seem to follow their own editorial policies.

The Canadian carried the Summit as its lead story “Emboldened Latin America parts ways with Canada, US on Cuba and drugs”. In direct contrast, The New York Times lead was a dry feature on Nigeria Population growth placing the Secret Service sex scandal on page 3.

By chance I overhead three separate conversations of fellow Americans noting the difference between the Canadian press and the New York Times. They were not happy. The Canadian confirmed what we all heard on the streets while in Cartagena on Saturday. The New York Times, in an effort, apparently, to avoid saying anything favorable about Cuba simply left it out. Or so it seemed. On Monday and Tuesday The Canadian disappeared quickly while the NY Times were left in the rack.

Talking to the locals and getting reports via media from other countries such as Japan and Holland, we sensed important changes were occurring in Latin America. Major industrial expansion, improvements to the infra-structure, plus the expansion of the Panama Canal already 70% complete. China is spending billions in grants spread across the region, making friends by building soccer stadiums, schools, roads, and more; gifts, not loans.

Returning home I decided to search out the actual Sunday edition of the New York Times to see if and how the “Summit” was reported. Yes, the NY Times did run a story – “Americas Meeting Ends with Discord Over Cuba”. But with a different spin:

“…the U.S. and some Latin American nations remained sharply divided over whether to continue excluding Cuba…”;

Really, some, not all Latin American nations? If you read the entire article you’re left with the impression that the Latin American nations are not unified on the question of Cuba. This is far from the truth. Latin America and the Caribbean Islands are in complete agreement as all have asked the U.S. to end the embargo on Cuba. more

1 comment:

  1. Jonathan,

    I agree with you that the new media has been shouting Squirrel one too may times. It had become so bad that I finally decided to cut the cable. I have been without TV for years now and could not be happier.

    I was in a social discussion on this topic a few weeks back. I found myself to be in the minority. Most people believed if Pulitzer awards were being handed out the reporting standards had to be excellent. Guess why no one got an award for ediorial this year?