Sunday, November 4, 2018

Mr. Regalado adapts

The U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM), Radio/TV Marti which oversees the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB), is investigating the TV Marti Soros program, and from this Herald story we learn it’s a 10-day investigation.

While the investigation proceeds, OCB Director Tomas Regalado has been commenting and seemingly trying to find safe political ground.

He began by half-embracing the program, saying that Judicial Watch is a “good source” but should not have been the only source, and that the program fell short because it was “not precise” and lacked “balance.” As if the program contained an actual story that was not properly told.

By last Wednesday he was saying the program “looks like an anti-Semitic report” and he made the ridiculous suggestion that the Radio/TV Marti staff needs diversity training.

In his statement yesterday, he flatly called the program anti-Semitic and called for “ethics and standards training,” which presumably includes the basics of journalism.

I suppose it’s good that Regalado is adapting. The program was produced and aired before he assumed his duties, but his initial reactions to it set a terrible example for his newsroom.

He also told the Herald – again, before the investigation is complete – that two people, and two people alone, are responsible for this fiasco. They were “the only two people who had anything to do with the report coming out on the air,” he said. That statement strains credulity and looks like an effort to limit and isolate the damage. Fire two people, case closed, everybody moves on.

Regalado also told the Herald another interesting detail. Reporter Isabel Cuervo, he says, did no on-camera interviews for the program. That means that Cuervo lied on the Levantate Cuba program when she said that she herself interviewed Lia Fowler, whose comments appeared to be from a Skype interview. (I would post the clip but TV Marti removed it from YouTube, and appears to be purging everything on its website and elsewhere that refers to the Soros program.)

Meanwhile, Senator Menendez wrote to the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM) to set some expectations for the investigation and to demand information. Good for him.

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