Sunday, April 01, 2007

Covering the debate and missing the story

I was interested to read today's Herald article about the debate yesterday. The debate of course was the one held at the Tower Theater in Little Havana to discuss the travel restrictions to Cuba and was hosted by that "champion of free speech," John de Leon, and the Miami ACLU of which he is Vice President.

My personal feelings on the debate are at but they are outside the scope of this blog. What isn't outside the scope of this blog, however, is how the Herald covered it. Here's and excerpt:

The mood in the jam-packed Tower Theater was reminiscent of the many decades of demonstrations and discussions about U.S. relations with Cuba: tense, heartfelt and often loud.

Tempers flared here and there, and moderator Michael Putney of WPLG-Channel 10 and several panel members had to remind the crowd to keep calm.
Laura Morales, the article's author, however does not go on to explain what were the issues that drew the most objections from the audience. I am referring specifically to FIU professor Lisandro Perez' refusal to stipulate that the Castro regime is a totalitarian dictatorship that abuses human rights. Both the moderator, Michael Putney, and an audience member during the Q&A put the question directly to Perez and he refused to answer with a "yes" or "no."

I think it was important for the Herald to report this aspect of the debate and it did not. The reason it's important is because it helps the reader put the rest of Perez' remarks into context. In other words he, unlike his fellow panelist congressman Jeff Flake, will not condemn the Castro regime. Of course, that's his choice and he does not have to answer any question he doesn't want to but the Herald's readers deserve to know that he did refuse to answer.

For his part, El Nuevo Herald reporter, Wilfredo Cancio Isla (one of the Marti Moonlighters), didn't mention Perez' refusal to answer the question in his piece on the debate either.


asombra said...

They see and notice and report what they want and what suits them. If anyone, ANYONE, who presumes to speak with any authority on Cuba will not take a clear stand on the nature of the Castro regime, that is the first thing that needs to be considered with respect to ANYTHING that person says on the matter. Failing to pick up on that strikes me as either ineptitude or deliberate omission. I'm hardly surprised.

Jose Aguirre said...

Asombra is correct; specially if that someone is working for FIU!!!

Anonymous said...

EVERYONE has got to see what is happening in the town of Surfside, traditionally a bastion of honesty, public service, and transparency, and now, NONE OF THAT ANY LONGER as a new administration has sold out to greed interests: