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A Case Study of Corporate Media Disinformation: Keith Bolender's "Manufacturing the Enemy: The Media War Against Cuba"

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Some alternative media have exposed the US government and its corporate media fake news reporting on Russian "election interference," on Venezuela, the war on Syria, China's Xinjiang and Hong Kong, Nicaragua, Palestine, among others. One of the longest running media disinformation campaigns has been directed at Cuba, well covered in Keith Bolender's Manufacturing the Enemy: The Media War Against Cuba. [1] This thoroughly documented work is a good antidote to the constant anti-Cuba disinformation we are subjected to, which inevitably influences all of us. According to well-known Goebbels quote, "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it" - true, but actually a lie that Goebbels ever said this.

Over the 60 years of the Cuban revolution, the corporate media has implanted in us a negative image of Cuba through their distortions of the country's political and economic system, their discounting the revolution's achievements, and their denial of the impact the blockade and US terrorism have had on the country. The media has been especially effective in not addressing the endless complex problems a developing nation faces once it has decided to establish its genuine sovereignty while trying to survive the relentless hostility of the world's superpower.

In early 1960 Robert Kennedy spelled out the US' Cuba project: the overthrow of Castro "is the top priority of the US government, all else is secondary, no time, money, effort or manpower is to be spared." (p. 76) Washington clearly understood the revolution opened a future that didn't exist before, still doesn't today in most countries, and consequently imposed a blockade similar to a full military blockade in war. The US sought to undermine the Cuban Revolution by making people suffer, with the hope that they would blame and overturn their government.

The US government engineers the "regime change" attempts, while the "media's role is not to examine Cuba's society fairly: it is to validate regime change"[2] (p.137). The media's function is to win public support for overthrowing another country's government, not question Washington's right to interfere in the internal affairs of that nation. It re-packages counterrevolution as saving the freedoms and human rights of the targeted nation's people. With its control over information available to the US population, the corporate media has been able to convince most US people that Cuba is not a model to follow. The media consistently holds Cuba up to a higher standard that few other nations, including the United States itself, are subjected to.

The corporate media remains the gatekeeper of information, with five corporations controlling 90% of the media business. They have effectively promoted that its news can be confidently trusted. Bolender notes that while overall trust in the media has decreased, he points out, using the examples of Fox News and CNN, "it is mostly based on the consumer not believing in the media that presents opposing information to his own opinions in a specific issue"(p.34). On Cuba, however, the corporate media present no opposing information, and are free to feed us fake news.

Fake News on Cuba

Bolender's book can be called a short version history of fake news about Cuba. We present a sampling here:

The media claimed that Castro and his allies executed hundreds of Batista regime enemies in kangaroo courts after taking power. In fact, Batista's repressive forces and police had killed 20,000 and some of them were captured and brought to justice for their crimes.

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anti-war and solidarity activist, of Chicago ALBA Solidarity. See ChicagoALBASolidarity.wordpress.com

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