By Arailaisy Rosabal García
Radio Cadena Agramonte.
In one of his masterpieces, prominent communication theoretician Walter Lipman wrote: “Very little of what we think we know of the social realities of the world have we found out first-hand. Most of ‘the pictures in our heads’ we have gained from these media-even to the point where we often do not really believe what we see before us until we read about it in the paper or hear about it on the radio.
What does happen then when the press hushes up or distorts certain facts, because the case might be uncomfortable and disturbing? We do not have to search our answer in any book: instead of informing they are misinforming. This is what has happened around the Cuban Five case, five anti-terrorist fighters who have remained locked in U.S. jails for more than 12 years.
For the global media giants, the Cuban Five case is not interesting, in spite of having a major news value, because the arguments it presents could even unleash a high-profile scandal.
Although the mass media are vital for the development and knowledge of any society, when they become instruments to manipulate the people’s minds and conscience, then the press turns reprehensible. Even so, the advocates of “communication” as merchandise prefer to use it with a profit-making objective at any cost.
For example, the press has played a leading role in the history of the USA as a bellicose State. In 1898, the newspapers of that potential power published that the cause of the USS Maine explosion in Cuban waters – still a dark cloud sits over that historic event- had been a mine planted by the Spanish foes. This justified the war against Spain, and consequently the long-awaited occupation of the westernmost island of the Greater Antilles.
Perhaps, one of the most effective media campaigns launched to begin a war, based on false arguments, was the one employed in the first Gulf War. The US-based public relations company Hill and Knowlton began to sell messages filled with sentimentality and dramatism to the extend that the public considered necessary to get involved in the conflict between Iraq and Kuwait.
Right now we are being witnesses of the show surrounding the alleged death of Osama Bin Laden, leader of the al-Qaida terrorist organization, whose killing has helped U.S. President Barack Obama improve his popularity and win the trust of the people, disappointed with his policy.
René, Ramón, Gerardo, Fernando and Antonio have been frequently targeted through labelling in the U.S. media, which only spread lies about them. In a research conducted in 2008 by a U.S. university, they concluded that the case of the Cuban Five is one of the most censured subjects in the country.
But we should not be amazed. It is clear that – as Vicente González Castro said about the media- “those who have in their hands such a powerful resource are aware that it is like possessing the nuclear power. If they want it, they can make a positive use of it to guide social processes, support just causes and bring together wills for a noble work…or on the other hand, they can get rich out of this profession, serve the boorish politicking, manipulate people making them believe in divine and social miracles, and become a sort of goddesses without miracles”.
The solution for such nonsenses of the mainstream media is producing alternative messages to discredit the humbugs of the “owners of the information”, and allow decontaminating the climate of lies created in Miami about the Cuban Five and penetrate the silence areas imposed by the superpower.