Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A hat tip to the evil MSM

For me, it has always been enough to stick to the subject of this blog without getting into discussions about the deeper meaning of blogs and the Internet as “new media” of communication.

Except today.

As I read other blogs on all kinds of subjects, it’s common to see a strong air of “new media” superiority vis-à-vis the “mainstream media,” or MSM. And it strikes me as ridiculous.

Why? Because whether a blog acts as a platform for opinion and analysis or as an aggregator of news, it is almost always feeding off the work of newspapers, wire services, and other established media outlets. Like parasites.

In this corner of the blogosphere, we all depend on media organizations that have reporters resident in Cuba, or that visit Cuba, or that sneak into Cuba to do reporting that the rest of us chew up for free. We probably benefit from the fact that those organizations have something blogs don’t have – editors – that stop stories, rewrite them, or add perspective based on long memory.

I could go on, but my real point was to point out a huge and terrific piece of work that the Miami Herald just cranked out about Operation Peter Pan, which moved more than 14,000 unaccompanied Cuban children to the United States in the early years of the Cuban revolution. It’s an extraordinary story, an extraordinary part of Cuba’s history and Miami’s history. My hunch is that those grown children today have an influence beyond their numbers.

The Herald’s feature covers the stories of individual Peter Pan children and key figures in the operation, it has a database of the 14,000 children, and more. The paper’s editor wrote a note explaining the genesis of the project.

Right now there’s a race going on in the media world, where the old revenue model is in decline and a new, viable one is not yet in place. We don’t know how that race will turn out, but this much seems clear: The day the MSM disappears, the “new media” – not to mention citizens who care about multiple sources of quality news content – are in big trouble.


Anonymous said...

where's leftside to denounce those parents who were so fearful of their children being raised in his socialist paradise that they sent them to an unknown future abroad?

Mambi_Watch said...

Nice post Phil. But, this would only apply to some blogs, namely those that thrive on the news.

Many blogs are the result of personal stories, and operate no different than a personal diary. Those blogs would not be affected if the newspaper disappeared.

leftside said...

Yeah Mambi, but I think Phil was talking about blogs as the new form of news media. I agree with him that people who belittle demise of newspapers are a ridiculously naive bunch.

Karamchand said...

No me parece que los periódicos desaparezcan, puede que reduzcan espacio o cambien formato o propósito en la versión impresa, quizás las ediciones pasen al formato digital en su mayoría, pero deben y permanecerán, pues en un blog, se escribe sin compromiso u obligación, sinresponsabilidad real por lo que se escribe o describe, mientras los grandes periódicos, para mantener la credibilidad, deben confirmar las noticias importantes, tienen una responsabilidad ante la sociedad. Se suele decir que el papel aguanta lo que le pongan, yo agregaría a fecha de hoy, que los blogs aguantan muchos más, son complemento y sustancia, pero los periódicos, son la confirmación de la realidad, la evidencia confiable de esa sustancia.

Anonymous said...

peter pan was a complete lie fabricated by the miami church, supported by cuban church, directed eventually by the CIA. based on the basic fears of parents which had no basis in fact.
it caused untold harm to thousands of youngsters who left the country alone, and to thousands of cuban parents who still feel the guilt and shame. there are many pedro pans who have opposed it. it may have seen noble at the time, but was it worth the personal suffering? another cuban experience that has two sides to the story

Anonymous said...

this is an important blog for what it does, but so much partisanship. what i don't understand is the absolute obsession on the minutia; every little thing that happens in cuba is held up as the inherent evil of the government or the wonderful goodness of socialism. neither is relevant, as any country, including the USA could be picked apart in such a manner.

to me what seems to be the most important issue is the overriding one -- cause and effect. what has the US hoped to achieve in its 50 years of policy towards cuba; and has it achieved it?

from a dispassionate viewpoint read That Infernal Little Cuban Republic.

The most salient point i got out of it was on page pg 510

2000 – the year United States granted normal trade relations with China.

House majority leader Richard Armey, a Texas republican:

“Free and open trade is not only the best way to make China a free and open nation, but it may be the only way. A market is simply an arena in which there is a sharing of information about market transactions, information about desires, wants, hopes and dreams, and economic conditions. But, Mr. Speaker, one cannot share that information about economics without also sharing information about culture, politics, religion and values. Information, Mr. Speaker, is the life blood of a market. It is also poison to dictators, because dictators know that it is the truth that will set one free.”

The embargo, Republican whip Tom Delay responded, “Has not worked the way it should have worked because we have not been turning the screws on him and screwing him down and putting pressure on him, so that his people will rise up and throw him out. After all, Cuba is not Eastern Europe, this is not the Soviet Union, this is a tiny island.”

The response, from New York representative Jose Serrano, born in Puerto Rico: “It finally happened. The last speaker let the cat out of the bag. Cuba is a small island, not a large European country. That is the problem. If it was a large European country or an Asian Country, he would be lobbying, as he did, for free trade with Cuba, because he was thee chief s sponsor of lobbying on behalf of President Clinton for free trade with Cuba. But he said it. Cuba is a small island, and for 41 years, we have been saying, you are a small island, you are insignificant, you speak another language, we are going to step all over you. It was never about what was right. It was about Cuba being a small island, and China being a big country.”

to criticize or compliment cuba is all perspective, and subservient to the geopolitics of a superpower's relation to a small nation. The US should be ashamed.

Anonymous said...

funny no comments from the right side to anon 8:59. nothing to argue about i guess

theCardinal said...

Cuba is a small island. A small island with limited economic prospects. Geopolitically if not for Castro it would not matter at all. Why don't they lift the embargo? Because it really isn't worth the effort. Easier just to let things be and wait for cooler heads to prevail someday. Funny thing is that once the embargo is lifted that Cuba will be even "smaller" - the only reason it remains in the news IS the embargo. Without it, Cuba will be relegated to geopolitical obscurity.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 8:17AM,

Although I do not consider myself part of the "right side", and I enjoy that others find humor in little things in life, I would remind you that in this blog like in others silence does not mean agreement. It just means that we have something better or more urgent to do.

To Anonymous 8:59AM, I would say that the victim role for Cuba is outdated and inaccurate. Cuba has played a global role far larger than its geographical size or its population would warrant. The Cuban government participation in global events since 1959 has been extensive. Its role as an opponent of American foreign policy has been well documented and at times reflexive. The antagonism of the USA against Cuba has its basis on unilateral actions taken by the Cuban government motivated by historical and ideological grievances. (We just marked the 50th anniversary of the first salvo in this tit for tat, the Agrarian Reform Act of 1959). To argue that Cuba has been the victim all along is not complimentary to the many Cuban revolutionaries who have given their all in opposing the "Empire". It is a great example of chutzpah.

Sorry if this stopped tickling your funny bone!

Vecino de NF

Anonymous said...

so you are trying to equate cuba with USA when it comes to its global role. the only point is US policy towards Cuba is BECAUSE it is a small country. China has played a much greater global role, the Soviets played a much great global role re anti-american activities. AMerican policy past and present is considerably different that what they have done to Cuba. The point is US treats Cuba far differently because it is a small country. your post did nothing to address that concept. not funny, just sad

Anonymous said...

vecino likes to rewrite history -- the unilateral actions of Cuba??? no, the US took unilateral actions in taking over Cuba in 1898, all fidel did was accomplish what marti wanted to. was Platt accepted by Cubans or forced down its throat?
at least we all know your perspective, it's all cubas fault for the embargo, etc etc

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2:10PM,

I am not trying to rewrite history. In 1959 the Platt ammendment had been abrogated for at least 19 years (longer if you use the 1933 revolution as the milestone.) (It is always interesting that everyone talks about the Platt amendments but nobody mentions the Teller amendment.)

There was no hostile action by the US government against the revolutionary government of Cuba until the Agrarian Reform Law was decreed in 1959. That action was taken by the Cuban government not in reaction to any contemporary US action but rather as a measure against perceived historical and ideological grievances. May 17, 1959 marks the beginning of the tit for tat between Cuba and the USA. The documented historical record is pretty clear on this.

That Fidel Castro chose to first enact revolutionary decrees rather than legitimize the government through elections is a great what-if- of Cuban history. He was popular and most would agree that he would have been elected President. I suspect that he did not like the non-reelection clause in the 1940 Constitution. Some might argue that he felt that he could not trust the Cuban people to like him. Either way here we are 50 years later, and any attempt to recognize the right of each other to have different opinions is still beyond our grasp.

I suspect that many that feel they know my perspective are missing it entirely either inadverntly or on purpose.

Vecino de NF

Anonymous said...

the teller amendment was a joke, obviously, just another example of american hypocrasy. the osted maninfesto much more accurate to their intentions.

Anonymous said...

and the intent of Platt was??

why did US treat China and Soviets different than Cuba; that was the whole point of the post, something that has not been addressed. why does US treat China, Vietnam, Egypt, Saudi Arabia differently?

do you mean that the land reform, which was done with offered compensation, is the basis for the embargo and all the other hostile acts?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 5/23/09 11:11AM,

The 1959 Agrarian Reform decree was the event that started US hostile reactions to the Cuban Revolution. The doumented historical record from the US side is pretty clear on this. Up to this point the US was ambivalent at worst, and openly sympathetic at best toward the Revolutionary Junta. Fidel Castro was treated like a rock star by the US public, and the US try to accomodate his protocolorar requests during his 1959 visit. Things could have been a little different if more patience and less bravado would have been employed by Fidel Castro and his group. (That's probably what is behind his counseling of Hugo Chavez to go slowler than he did) He must have felt that there was no other way to enact his agenda except through open and direct confrontation against the US and his Cuban opponents.

The Cuban government should be proud that they have openly confronted the US throughout the world and prevailed. This continnous whining about being the victim of American imperialism is below its triumphs in the fight agains US imperialims and global capitalism.

Vecino de NF

Anonymous said...

"Why? Because whether a blog acts as a platform for opinion and analysis or as an aggregator of news, it is almost always feeding off the work of newspapers, wire services, and other established media outlets. Like parasites."

Well, is nice to know you understand your own role and have described yourself perfectly. I guess no one knows your own role and protagonism better than yourself.