[freedomtowernight_edited.jpg] 26th Parallel: MSM and Cuban-Americans

Friday, August 11, 2006

MSM and Cuban-Americans

My last few posts have dealt with the media, its poor handling of the situation in Cuba and the image it often portrays of Cuban-Americans.

Something that has bothered me quite a bit in the past and present, is the often negative light in which the MSM casts the Cuban-American community in. To get to the bottom of the reason why this is the case, we need to look at ourselves as Cuban-Americans, but also recognizing the environment which we're surrounded by.

A lot of people believe that Cuban-Americans (C-A's) as a whole have done a bad PR job when it comes to expressing their beliefs and attitudes. I believe this is true to a large extent, but it doesn't tell the whole story nor lets the MSM off the hook. By bad PR, I mean falling into the traps that our opponents place, occasional overreaction and overemphasis on relatively minor issues instead of focusing on the big picture, etc. Another reason for the bad PR is a basic misunderstanding of C-A's by the prevailing Anglo-Saxon environment that surrounds us. There is a cultural divide that many even in Miami have not grown accustomed to. C-A's passionately but peaceful protests get misinterpreted as wild-eyed craziness bordering on violence. Anyone who knows C-A's understands that they tend to be passionate and express themselves that way. C-A's are an enigma to many outsiders: a minority group from Latin America that is mostly Caucasian which has achieved a high level of success in a very short time, and are primarily Republicans. They certainly don't fit the typical Hispanic minority stereotype.

Note that I mentioned "peaceful" when referring to protests by C-A's. Skeptics will quickly point out that there have been instances where C-A's have committed violent acts against those with opposing views. That is true, and inexcusable. For a moment, let's assume that every one of those violent acts committed in the past 40 years have been done by anti-castro exiles (something that is very much in doubt, BTW). I ask the skeptics this: does the behavior of a minority represent the views of the entire community? It can influence it, yes. But I ask again: should everyone be painted with the same broad brush? The answer should be clear.

On the WGNU (St. Louis) talk show yesterday, Francisco Aruca disgustingly trashed Cuban-Americans and Miami with the usual rhetoric about oppression of dissenting views, violence, you name it. It's not the first time he's done this in interviews with the media. For someone who has lived in Miami all his life and understands the true nature of C-A's, I found it to be incredulous. I thought to myself: this person must live in a different Miami, perhaps in some evil parallel universe. Thank goodness for the people of St Louis that Conductor came up afterwards and cleaned up the mess Aruca left behind. Conductor absolutely nailed it on all key points, particularly the issue of C-A's and how we're (mis)perceived. For this, Conductor is congratulated.

Why do I bring up Aruca? Aside from being a open castro apologist, he is a successful businessman who has lived in Miami over 20 years. Let's go back and analyze this more closely. Aruca owns a Miami business which deals with travel to Cuba, a sore point amongst many C-A's. Aruca also runs a Miami radio station - Radio Progreso - which is openly and vehemently left-of-center and does not disguise its apologetic stance towards castro nor its contempt for freedom-loving right-of-center C-A's. In light of this, Aruca's complaints of intolerance and oppression of diverse views is laughable at best, and defaming at worst. It's very easy to see the extreme bias that Aruca is dealing with when he trashes the entire community.

Aruca isn't the only one who reaps the benefits of an open society in Miami despite having very questionable views with respect to the castro regime. I won't go over the list, but suffice it to say that they are not hard to find whatsoever.

Back to the MSM and the issue of their misrepresentation of Cuban-Americans. Why? Is it the natural tendency towards liberal bias that most journalists exhibit? Is it lazy journalism? I think it's a bit of both. I'll tell you also what it's NOT: lack of information from the mainstream C-A point of view. Certainly with 3 C-A representatives in Congress and 2 Senators, these smart and talented individuals have represented the views of many if not most C-A's for a long time now. Add to this the presence of many talented professional C-A's in Miami and elsewhere from all sides of the political spectrum who have ably and honorably represented the community. And let's not forget the blogosphere, either.

The MSM can tap into any and all of those resources for a fair and balanced view of Cuban-Americans. Yet they don't, except in rare cases which are very few and very far between. They tend to buy into the Aruca view more than the mainstream C-A view. The MSM's difficulty in understanding C-A's should be a motivator for them to work harder to understand us better, not simply to rely on rhetoric and stereotypes.


Blogger Jonathan said...

There are many anti-CA bigots in the US MSM. It's not so much that Cuban Americans are unskilled at PR (though some are). It's that many MSM people are leftists, and leftists tend to be both ignorant about Cuba and bigoted against Cuban Americans, whom they perceive in stereotypical terms as cartoon reactionaries rather than flesh-and-blood Americans. IME a lot of people outside of S. Florida don't have a clue about life in Miami, and see it as some kind of Wild West kind of place. I've met a couple of people who told me that the Everglades are full of Cuban American death squads in training. It's difficult to argue with people who think like that.

2:10 PM, August 11, 2006  
Blogger Robert said...


Agree with everything you wrote. Thanks for the comment.

3:59 PM, August 11, 2006  
Blogger Henry "Conductor" Gomez said...

Robert you nailed it. I've been posting about the MSM's willful blindness too. One correction Aruca doesn't own a radio station. He has a show "Ayer in Miam" which he leases time from a station to broadcast. It's a show with zero ratings.

4:26 PM, August 11, 2006  
Blogger Robert said...

The Radio Progreso website says that Aruca is the president, so that's where I got the impression he ran the station.

Irregardless, his show and the station deserve all the low ratings they get.

4:34 PM, August 11, 2006  

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