Castro's "Luxurious" House for Elian; Helping Elian "Readjust"; Dangerous Global Warming
1) NBC marveled at how the house where Castro will put Elian
is "a mansion by Cuban standards" while CNN marveled at how
"even by American standards" it's "luxurious." Both
portrayed the placement as benign. Only FNC raised the issue of communist
2) GMA and Today benignly played clips showing the Havana
home, but both shows were more interested in focusing on the letter from a
pediatrician claiming Elian is in "imminent danger" in Miami. Only
FNC noted the doctor once served on a Hillary task force.
3) NBC's Jim Avila argued Cuban life is improving as
there's "more freedom of thought and speech" and "most nights
meat is back on the table," so 80 percent would stay if the border was
4) Actor Nestor Carbonell, a star on the NBC sit-com Suddenly
Susan, complained about the news media: "I don't think that Castro has
been depicted as the monster that he really is..."
5) "Climate experts are saying...there are new and
ominous signs that global warming is generating drastic and dangerous weather
changes," declared Dan Rather. ABC's Ned Potter saw
"calamitous" results, but neither had time for even one scientific
propaganda operation hit a home run Tuesday night when CNN and NBC, in full
stories featuring attractive Cuban TV video of the house in which Castro plans
to place Elian, characterized the purpose of the placement as making time for
a proper "transition" so Elian can "readjust" to life on
the island. Neither network broached any more sinister reason behind the
decision to not allow Elian to return to his hometown of Cardenes.
Only FNC's Orlando Salinas relayed predictions from
Miami Cubans that Elian "will be re-trained as a young communist
commando." After his taped piece ended at just past 6pm ET, Salinas told
FNC's Brit Hume:
"One thing that
I've been hearing from some Miami Cubans out here is they say they are
worried about this: When Americans in other parts of this country see those
pictures they might think to themselves 'hey that doesn't look all that
Very prescient. Eastern and Central time zone viewers
didn't have to wait long for confirmation of the fears picked up by Salinas.
Less than an hour later on the NBC Nightly News Jim Avila marveled at how the
house has a swimming pool and is "a mansion by Cuban standards."
Avila passed along how "psychiatrists consulting the Castro
government" maintain Elian's home town "is not the best place for
his immediate transition." CNN's Martin Savidge gushed at how
"even by American standards" the house is "luxurious."
Savidge favorably compared the house's amenities to where Elian is now
living in Miami, showcasing the Havana home's bigger pool and
"specially built playground."
Tuesday night, April 18, the CBS Evening News avoided
the Havana house video while ABC's Peter Jennings gave it just a few
seconds. Over video of an empty pool, a bedroom and a playroom, Jennings
announced: "Cuba showed reporters the house where Elian will spend a few
months with his family and some of his classmates during a transition back to
life in Cuba if he gets home."
-- CNN's The World Today. Anchor Jim Moret noted how
the UN's Human Rights Commission voted to condemn Cuba's record, but that
Cuba is now focused on how to treat just one boy.
From Havana, CNN's Martin Savidge began the story,
which Moret introduced, by playing video of a white house alongside a busy
road as he explained:
"This is the home
Cuba says is almost ready for the return of the six-year-old in Havana's
fashionable Miramar district, home to many international embassies. Even by
American standards it's luxurious. By Cuban standards, almost unimaginable.
The report on Cuban TV showed freshly painted rooms it says will house not
just Elian but his close family and twelve schoolmates, a stark contrast to
the boy's Little Havana house and that may be the point."
That comparison aired first over video of the inside of
the Havana house, with a shot of four single beds covered with colorful bed
spreads in a room with yellow walls and a well-worn tiled floor and a small
refrigerator-like looking white thing in a corner and a toilet in an empty
bathroom. It looked closer to the barren feel of a U.S. summer camp cabin than
any luxury home. CNN's footage then contrasted that with video from inside
the cramped but full of stuff Miami home with two adults, Elian and another
kid near a sofa as Elian lifted a large plastic Mickey Mouse figure, followed
by a clip of Elian on the sofa hugging a big teddy bear.
Next, over video of Elian splashing in a small
above-ground pool, Savidge described the scene: "Elian's pool in
Miami." CNN then cut to a shot of an empty underground pool in a concrete
courtyard as Savidge contrasted the settings: "The one waiting for him in
Havana, minus the water."
Continuing his back-to-back comparisons, Savidge pointed
out "Elian's swing set in
Miami" as viewers really saw video of Elian crawling head first down the
pool-side slide. The contrast: "The specially built playground in
Cuba." Playground? Viewers saw a see-saw and a swing set. Later in the
story Savidge displayed an angle which included a slide and showed that the
three things were in the concrete courtyard next to pool. And, none had any
padding beneath. So much for putting children's safety first.
Savidge proclaimed: "Cuba says it's just not a
place Elian can play and rest, but also readjust to his homeland, a process
one psychologist says could take no less than three months."
Dr. Lesia Canovas,
identified on-screen only as a "psychologist," maintained:
"This transition is absolutely necessary. We expect that after this
period he will be integrated into his group, to his school and his
Without raising the possibility of communist
"re-education," Savidge moved on to run clips from a man and woman
who were swimming in the ocean behind the house. The man found Elian deserving
of the luxury accommodations while the woman said
Elian would adjust better in his home town. Savidge concluded:
wondered about the view Elian would have here: The ocean, a possible daily
reminder of the ordeal that cost him his mother and the divide that separates
not just two nations but his family as well."
During this last line viewers got a quick shot of the
house from the ocean and saw a chain link fence in front of tennis court-sized
area of broken up concrete. Quite "luxurious."
++ See for yourself what CNN considered
"luxurious." Wednesday morning MRC Webmaster Andy Szul will post a
RealPlayer clip of the first part of Savidge's World Today story. Go to: http:\\www.mrc.org
-- NBC Nightly News.
Anchor Tom Brokaw declared: "In Cuba tonight special preparations are
being made for Elian's return. The government of Fidel Castro announced that
he will not be going directly home, not right away at least."
Jim Avila, in Havana,
eagerly relayed: "Tom, a source close to Juan Miguel Gonzalez tells NBC
News that American psychiatrists are telling the father that he should bring
his boy back to Cuba as soon as possible. And here in Havana the government is
putting the finishing touches on a combination school and living quarters for
Elian and his Dad."
Cutting to the same video shown by CNN, Avila played
tour guide: "This is the state-owned guesthouse where Elian will stay
when and if he returns to Cuba. It's a mansion by Cuban standards, but
psychiatrists consulting the Castro government tell NBC News the boy's home
town, Cardenas, is not the best place for his immediate transition into island
Martinez, identified on screen as "family therapist," insisted
through a translator: "There must be a soft transition; changes create a
lot of anxiety."
Without casting any doubt upon the motivation behind the
claim of a communist government's "therapist," Avila plowed ahead:
"Today, members of the Cuban Ministry of Construction, painting and
plastering the house owned and donated by the Youth Communist Party. Two
stories, eight bedrooms, [video of the barren bedroom] four-car garage in the
upscale Miramar neighborhood -- a section of Havana busy with new foreign
companies and renovations. A far cry from most Cuban homes, it has a swimming
pool in the backyard, satellite TV, air conditioning, a playroom [video of a
room with four of five things that looked like big footrests].
Avila showed a classroom
where Elian will receive his communist indoctrination, but offered a more
benevolent description: "Specially built: a classroom and dormitory to
accommodate twelve of Elian's Cardenas classmates, who will live with the
Gonzales family, and a medical team including psychiatrists. Cristobal
Martinez heads the Cuban mental health team in charge of Elian's transition.
He says Cardenas was ruled out because Elian is too big a hero to simply
return to his family home."
Martinez: "Can you
imagine 300 to 400 kids running out to express their feelings? We have to
avoid more trauma."
Avila did give a few
seconds to another view: "In Miami, members of the Cuban Pediatric
Society called for Elian to stay and were unimpressed with Cuba's
"The setting would be abnormal, artificial in ways that perhaps would not
be in the child's best interest."
countered: "But an independent American psychiatrist at the University of
Chicago says the luxury accommodations won't hurt Elian."
Dr. Alan Ravitz:
"It's more politics. They're trying to make it look as if he's
going to need a lot of services when in fact he probably won't need so many
Avila concluded by saying that after he gets Elian Juan
Miguel plans to return to Cuba with his son immediately.
-- FNC's Special Report
with Brit Hume. Over in FNC's parallel universe,
where communists are not assumed to be altruistic resort hosts, Orlando
Salinas reported from Miami:
didn't notice, but on Tuesday Cuba's communist leaders showed the world
what used to be, until recently, a communist hospitality house with a pool and
some space and if Cuban castaway Elian is repatriated to his native country,
this, known as a young communist residence, will be his new home."
Salinas then highlighted a worry ignored by CNN and NBC:
"But the anti-Castro crowd in Miami wants none of it, saying Fidel
Castro's cabana is where Elian will be re-trained as a young communist
going to that house but Castro wants to give him, is not going to be with his
father. He's going to be property of Castro and we don't want that."
Man: "He's going
to be treated very nice in front of the camera, but in the back where
nobody's seeing he's going to be mentally and psychologically tortured
because they won't forgive him for telling 'I don't want to go back to
After his piece, Salinas
told Hume: "One thing that I've been hearing from some Miami Cubans out
here is they say they are worried about this: When Americans in other parts of
this country see those pictures they might think to themselves 'hey that
doesn't look all that bad.' But what these Miami Cubans say is many people
don't realize is these children, Elian's age, usually get sent to child
labor camps and they say once the cameras are gone and off of Elian that's
exactly where he will be sent."
At CNN and NBC the cameras might as well already be off.
morning ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today played brief clips
showing the Havana home to which Elian is destined, but both programs were
much more interested in highlighting the conveniently-released letter from
pediatrician Irwin Redlener claiming Elian is in "imminent danger"
at the Miami home where he's being "psychologically abused." Today
brought him aboard for an interview and GMA talked about it with a lawyer for
the Miami family. CBS's The Early Show picked up on the pediatrician's
charge but skipped the Havana home.
Matt Lauer opened NBC's Today, as caught by MRC
analyst Geoffrey Dickens: "Good morning. The pediatrician advising the
U.S. government on the Elian Gonzalez custody battle said last night the boy
should be removed immediately from the Miami house where he's staying. Citing
imminent danger the doctor says federal officials should go get him today,
Tuesday, April 18, 2000."
In the evening, the CBS Evening News, CNN's The World
Today and NBC Nightly News all ran full stories on the pediatrician's
assessment and the reaction to the letter, including the observation that he
has never talked to Elian, but only FNC's Rita Cosby mentioned a tie between
Redlener and Hillary Clinton. On FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume, Cosby
who's been advising the federal government in this case, wrote what he says
was an unsolicited letter to Reno saying Elian should be quote 'rescued from
his Miami home.' Doctor Irwin Redlener, who worked with Hillary Clinton's
health care task force and is not trained in psychology or psychiatry, says he
believes Elian's being psychologically abused by his Miami
On the Havana home revelation in the morning, MRC
analyst Jessica Anderson caught this benign reference to it from Karla Davis
on Tuesday's Good Morning America: "In another development, Antonio
[Mora], new pictures aired on Cuban television showing the residence where
Elian and his immediate family are to live once they return to Cuba. The
large, seaside house is being prepared for the child, his family, schoolmates
and teachers for a transition process that could last more than three months.
However, if the Miami family here has its way, that will not happen anytime
up with another tribute to Cuba's advancements from NBC's Jim Avila, MRC
analyst Paul Smith noticed that on Saturday's NBC Nightly News Avila
showcased as some kind of success a family able to serve meat. The reason?
Dollars can be earned legally as Castro allows "more freedom of thought
and speech" and "rarely mentions communism anymore."
Anchor John Seigenthaler led into the April 15 piece:
"The thought of Elian going back to Fidel Castro's Cuba horrifies the
people of Miami's Little Havana, but as NBC's Jim Avila reports, today's
Cuba is different from what many remember."
Avila began: "Dinner at the Pinnella family home in
Havana. On this night, meat, bought with Cuba's favorite currency,
After a soundbite from a woman, sitting next to a man, both
indoors and on lawn chairs, Avila introduced them:
"For Herman and Hermalia, life in Cuba better today
than when most Miami Cubans left the island. Dollars earned legally. Gifts of
money from family in the States now legal. New dollars-only stores selling to
Cubans. Experts say there is more freedom of thought and speech. The biggest
problems? Housing, fuel and car shortages. So how does Castro survive after
pure communism failed, dollars now propping up the system? Experts say two
"First, he is a
teflon dictator. An icon who escaped personal blame for government failure.
And second, Castro rarely mentions communism anymore. Example, Elian, a six
year old boy Cuba argues should be returned to the island. Not because of the
political system here but despite it. Rallies here, like today's in Las Tunas,
emphasize Cuban pride. Nationalism replacing communism as the island unifier.
DePaul University's Professor Felix Masud Pilato left Cuba twenty years ago
but returns annually. He says the battle over Elian solidifies Castro's
status, framing the issue as one of national pride."
Masud-Pilato: "It has become a question of honor. It may not be but it
has become that, ironic and crazy as that may sound."
Avila stressed: "And Pilato says Miami Cubans hurt
themselves by attacking a Cuba that no longer exists."
still think of the Cuba they left behind and that has changed rapidly."
If it's so great, why not just move there?
Avila elaborated on the it's not so bad theme:
"Many Cubans still want to leave but those numbers have changed
dramatically too. Sixteen years ago, when Lazaro Gonzalez took a plane to the
United States, a mere 23 Cubans were caught rafting their way to the United
States, a number that ballooned during the early '90s, Cuba's worst economic
period -- 37,000 in 1994. Now fallen since the mid-'90s because the United
States began returning them to Cuba, making it a less attractive gamble. U.S.
intelligence sources now estimate that 80 percent of the island population
would stay even if borders were open."
So, 20 percent would leave if they could. Which is a
heck of a lot more than the 23 who tried rafting 16 years ago, thus
contradicting his whole point that Cubans are any happier now. They're just
getting caught more often by the Coast Guard.
Avila concluded: "In a Cuba, where life remains
difficult but where most nights meat is back on the table."
media's favorable treatment of Fidel Castro is so blatant even a Hollywood
actor realizes it. An April 17 story on CNN's Showbiz Today, about the
American Latino Media Arts Awards ceremony which took place Sunday in
Pasadena, relayed this comment from Nestor Carbonell, an actor born in New
York to Cuban exile parents, who is now a star of the NBC sit-com Suddenly
"I don't think
that Castro has been depicted as the monster that he really is and I think
that people don't realize the extent of the oppression that's going on in
Cuba under this dictator."
Hey, the people have access to meat and Castro will put
Elian and his father in a "luxurious" ocean-side house with a
see-saw. What more do you want?
++ If you don't recognize the name you might recognize
Carbonell's face, so the MRC's Kristina Sewell will locate a shot of him
that Webmaster Andy Szul will post alongside this item in the online version
of this CyberAlert. After 11am ET, go to:
you were dreaming about some network balance in the reporting of Earth Day
issues, Tuesday's coverage of a report, on record high temperatures in the
first three months of the year, showed you can forget about it. CBS and NBC
led with it while ABC provided a full story. In all that network time devoted
to impending weather disasters not one doubter, who holds a position contrary
to the liberal environmental demands for more regulation or who does not
believe warming causes extreme weather, appeared -- even though ABC's Peter
Jennings acknowledged that only "some scientists are putting the blame on
-- ABC's Ned Potter intoned on World News Tonight:
"Scientists and environmentalists warned for years that if the world
became warmer the result could be calamitous: hurricanes, tornadoes, heat
waves. The government used today's numbers to say some of those warnings are
already coming true."
James Baker, NOAA:
"The impact of greenhouse gasses is inevitable. And it is a wake up call
now for us from this data that we need to do something about it."
Potter relayed the predictions of more droughts and
noted how federal disaster relief costs
are up 337 percent from the '80s to the '90s before showcasing another
liberal activist, Michael Oppenheimer of "Environmental Defense,"
who conceded the lack of proof for the theory: "It's impossible to say
how many of these disasters are related to global warming, but they do present
a picture of what could happen in the future, they present a picture of our
Potter rued how polls put public concern for
global warming near the bottom and then concluded: "Climate warming may
be too gradual to notice, but the administration is trying to show that its
consequences are something people can already see."
-- CBS Evening News. CBS gave away its lack of concern
for one-sided advocacy by listing on its Web site, under "Features,"
an Earth Day page with links to the liberal groups involved: http://cbsnews.cbs.com/now/story/0,1597,180659-412,00.shtml
Dan Rather opened Tuesday's show by gravely intoning:
"Good evening. U.S. climate experts are saying tonight there are new and
ominous signs that global warming is generating drastic and dangerous weather
changes short and long-term. This report comes out as this nation had its
warmest January through March on record. Forecasters already believe the
impact includes longer and stronger tornado seasons. Now they are predicting
bigger and deadlier hurricanes that could devastate coastal cities. CBS's
John Blackstone has the facts on the CBS WeatherWatch."
Blackstone also featured a dire soundbite from NOAA's
Baker before insisting: "Federal officials say we're already seeing the
impact, a significant increase in severe weather damage over the past decade.
More floods and more droughts, and now scientists say get ready for hurricanes
with more destructive power."
Baker: "Water is
the engine of hurricanes so a warmer ocean leads
to stronger winds, stronger hurricanes."
there is another threat for cities on or near the coast, particularly New
Orleans, already below sea level. Global warming will raise sea levels as much
as five feet over the next century."
Management Agency Director James Lee Witt
warned: "If you had a Category 4 hurricane that hit New Orleans, which we
have all tried to prepare for, with a four-foot storm surge, you'd have 20
feet of water in New Orleans -- that's frightening."
"While there may still be some debate about what's causing global
warming, climate watchers say there's now no doubt it's real. Federal
officials believe it's time to begin prepare for the consequences: everything
from extended droughts, to more powerful hurricanes, to rising sea levels that
will threaten major cities."
-- NBC Nightly News. Robert Hager opened with video of
"tornado-like winds" in California whipping up rivers. He warned: "This and other recent, increasingly intense
storms, could they somehow be linked to a bigger picture, to climate change
and rising temperatures? Today a report finds that in the midst of all the
violent weather, the year 2000 is off to the warmest start ever in U.S.
history, the months of January, February and March warmest in the 105 years
that records have been kept..."
Hager passed along:
"The figures from the government's weather agency, NOAA, and its
Director, James Baker, who warns the warmer temperatures could be cause more
extreme weather, now and in the future."
"We're going to see more extreme events, we're going to see more
droughts, we're going to see storms with more water in them, we'll see
both rainfall and droughts. It's something we are going to have to learn to
For the scientific
assessment ignored by the networks, check out The Satanic Gases: Clearing the
Air About Global Warming, a new book from the Cato Institute by Patrick J.
Michaels and Robert C. Balling, Jr. The Web site summary:
"Global warming is
vastly overrated as an environmental threat, argue leading climatologists
Patrick J. Michaels and Robert Balling, Jr...
"The Satanic Gases
marshals an impressive array of scientific data, studies, and analyses that
argue, cogently and consistently, that the initial forecasts of rapid global
warming were simply wrong. But, perhaps more important, the book points out
that attempts to "fix" the forecast by the UN's Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change are even more misguided than the original projections.
"The authors argue
that the jury is already in on global warming, and the verdict is a modest
heating over the 21st century -- very similar to what occurred during the last
third of the 20th century. The vast majority of warming will take
place in the winter, and within that season, the coldest, deadliest air masses
will show the greatest change....
Also, check out excerpts of the Competitive Enterprise
Institute's Earth Report 2000: Revisiting the True State of the Planet by
Ronald Bailey: http://www.cei.org/books/earthreport2k.html
On Thursday Rich Noyes, Director of the MRC's Free
Market Project, will produce an Earth Day edition of MediaNomics packed with
links to the most compelling answers to liberal global warming hype. I'll be
sending excerpts in Thursday's CyberAlert. --
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