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May 23, 2000

Back to the "Peaceable" Paradise: Media Soldiers for the Seizure of Elian

Executive Summary

We would like to think that the Cold War is over. But for the people of communist Cuba and the people who’ve fled it, the Cold War remains. In all of the coverage and controversy over the arrival and seizure of six-year-old Elian Gonzalez, the media have taken the stark contrast between American liberty and Cuban tyranny and muddled it to the point that much of the American public thinks Cuba is no different than America, or worse, that Cuba is better than America. The Media Research Center has compiled a record showing how the national media built the public-relations rationale for Elian’s eventual return to Cuba, and then justified the government raid on a private residence to insure a political victory for the Clinton administration and the communist regime of Cuba. Is it any wonder that the public told network pollsters that they approved of the seizure of Elian after being barraged with liberal arguments? Analysts identified four patterns of distinct liberal media bias: 

1. The news media have deliberately undermined the moral legitimacy of Elian’s Miami relatives specifically and anti-communist Cuban-Americans in general. 

2. The news media have consistently praised the actions and "achievements" of Fidel Castro’s Cuba, claimed it was better for children than America, and played up the paradise Elian could dwell in among the Communist Party elite. 

3. The news media have justified Attorney General Janet Reno’s actions and arguments, and lamented any resistance or delay in returning Elian to Cuba. 

4. The news media have dismissed congressional criticism of the INS raid and calls for investigation as unpopular and unnecessary. 

If the media were interested in a balanced presentation of the Elian controversy, they would have scrutinized the administration more than justified it; they would have explained the regimented reality of family life in Cuba; they would have balanced their questioning of the motivations of Elian’s Miami relatives by questioning the motives of the reunification camp; and they would have encouraged more discussion and oversight instead of trying to cut it off. 

Complete Text of Special Report

The MRC's Tim Graham appeared on FNC's The Edge with Paula Zahn on June 5 to discuss Elian coverage. 

U.S. Rep. Ros-Lehtinen invited colleagues to learn about the MRC's Special Report on biased coverage of Elian. 

(Free RealPlayer required to view above video clips.) 

Related Items:

Statement of L. Brent Bozell III on "Back to the ‘Peaceable’ Paradise: Media Soldiers for the Seizure of Elian" (More)


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