10 Miami Herald journalists on US gov’t payroll
In a way I think it is unfortunate that this story is about Cuba, because being about Cuba means that a lot of people just aren’t going to want to hear it. But it is something that should be well understood.
10 journalists working for the Miami Herald and its Spanish-Language sister paper were discovered to be accepting large sums of money from the US government to write articles aimed at undermining the Cuban government. Now it is good to get more definitive news about US activities in this area, but don’t let the Cuba angle obscure the fact that this is a story about the US government directly interfering with the press. Now I suppose you could say that freedom means being able to accept money from whomever you want for whatever purpose you want, but the expression “free press” generally means something a little different.
Editor and Publisher covered the story well. The BBC’s coverage pointed out the fact that the Cuban government has claimed for many years that US journalists covering Cuba were in the pay of the US government. An interesting tidbit from this article: on Argentine television, Fidel Castro directly confronted his interviewer, Juan Manuel Cao, then a a reporter for a Miami television station, asking him if he were in the pay of the US government. Cao denied the allegation, certainly making Castro look a little batty. Now Cao has admitted being in the pay of the US government for his Cuba reporting, saying, “I would do it for free. But the regulations don’t allow it. I charge symbolically, below market prices.” Reporters were paid tens of thousands of dollars for their service to the US government.