Wednesday, August 17, 2011

PR Shame: Associated Press and the Dictator

Consider this from the Huffington Post, by Thor Halvorssen and Pedro Pizano of the Human Rights Foundation:

"Fidel Castro just celebrated his 85th Birthday. One would think that after 52 years of running a police state in Cuba, the media would accept that Castro is a brutal oppressor and tyrant. Comparable, no doubt, to any of the totalitarian despots still alive today. For example, Bashar al-Assad in Syria (41 years of dynastic tyranny) or Teodoro Mbasogo Obiang in Equatorial Guinea (31 years of bloody oppression). Yet, surprisingly, when it comes to North Korea and Cuba, one of the most trusted wire services in the world, the Associated Press (AP), cares more about business than about journalistic ethics and the truth.

"Now consider this recent press release from the Associated Press commemorating Fidel Castro's birthday:

"Castro is proclaimed by the AP as an "iconic" leader and a "source of inspiration for many people throughout the world." Ché Guevara is lauded as a "revolutionary hero" in the picture captions. Castro is no more "iconic" than Hitler, Mussolini, Mao, or Pinochet in historical context. However, it is highly unlikely that the AP would try to sell pictures and collections of Hitler as an "enigmatic" historical figure who is "still a source of inspiration." Castro and Ché may, indeed, be a source of inspiration for ignoramuses, washed-up ideologues, tendentious institutions, or people who still believe that he accomplished some "good things," (much as Hitler "created jobs" or Mussolini "made the trains run on time" or Pinochet "saved Chile from communism") but it is shocking that the AP would sink this low to make a buck."

You can read the whole article here. It's unbelievable to me that so-called "journalists" can be so ignorant of historical fact... willfully or otherwise.

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