In this concise and detailed work, Salim Lamrani addresses questions of media concentration and corporate bias by examining a perennially controversial topic: Cuba. Lamrani argues that the tiny island nation is forced to contend not only with economic isolation and a U.S. blockade, but with misleading or downright hostile media coverage. He takes as his case study El País, the most widely distributed Spanish daily. El País (a property of Grupo Prisa, the largest Spanish media conglomerate), has editions aimed at Europe, Latin America, and the U.S., making it a global opinion leader.
Lamrani wades through a swamp of reporting and uses the paper as an example of how media conglomerates distort and misrepresent life in Cuba and the activities of its government. By focusing on eight key areas, including human development, internal opposition, and migration, Lamrani shows how the media systematically shapes our understanding of Cuban reality. This book, with a foreword by Eduardo Galeano, provides an alternative view, combining a scholar’s eye for complexity with a journalist’s hunger for the facts.
Critics of the Cuban Revolution often point to a lack of freedom of the press as proof of totalitarianism. In this illuminating book, Salim Lamrani thoroughly demonstrates how Spain’s prestigious newspaper of record, El País, consistently misinforms about Cuba, vilifying its leaders and praising its most transparent detractors. Cuba, the Media, and the Challenge of Impartiality is brilliant and important—for understanding Cuba and for understanding the challenges to truth in information.
Whether it’s Madrid, Paris, London, or New York, after a lecture, when questions are raised by the educated classes, more likely than not, they reflect a reading from the ‘papers of record’—El País, Le Monde, The Financial Times, or the New York Times. If the topic is Cuba, the questions or commentaries deal with human rights, the ‘dissidents,’ the ‘failed social experiment’—and mirror the biases and fabrications of the ‘papers of record.’ Professor Lamrani challenges one such newspaper, El País’s reportage of Cuba. Through a systematic presentation and analysis of eight issues over two decades, he demonstrates how El País distorts Cuban reality, omits vital data, and fabricates stories. His method is to present the official version and then to marshal facts and figures which critique and counterpose another vision of Cuba as a vibrant, dynamic, and just society. This book is an essential text for all readers of public affairs and is an important textbook for courses in journalism and media studies.
Salim Lamrani is a treasury of powerful factual information.