CNN’s Amanpour: Castro Made ‘Genuine Progress’ in Education, Health Care

The same day CNN’s Allison Flexner, an one-time producer of Cuban stories, apparently issued a memo instructing how the "resignation" of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro was to be covered, CNN’s chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour neatly matched one of the points made in the memo during two segments on Tuesday’s "American Morning."

During the first segment, which was six minutes into 7 am Eastern hour, Amanpour heralded Cuba being "a leader in many things such as education, health care -- all of those things that it has been able to bring to its people, but not the fundamentals" such as "openness, freedom, the ability to have enough wherewithal, and, you know, the same kind of bread and butter issues that everybody all around the world wants." - Media Research CenterAt the beginning of the 8 am hour, Amanpour noted that "there’s a lot of difficulty in day-to-day living," and focused on the jailing of political dissenters. She immediately followed this by saying, "that offsets some of the genuine progress that he's made, in terms of education, health care. People have talked a lot about that. But day-to-day life for them is very decrepit and very hand-to-mouth and, obviously, they want change."

Amanpour’s talking up of Castro’s "progress" followed the second point in Flexner’s memo. "Please note Fidel did bring social reforms to Cuba – namely free education and universal health care, and racial integration, in addition to being criticized for oppressing human rights and freedom of speech."

The only other occasion on February 19 that someone on CNN used language from Flexner’s memo was during the 1 pm Eastern hour of CNN’s "Newsroom." CNN International’s Isha Sesay commented on the sparse coverage of Castro’s resignation on Latin American television. "And the interesting thing to point out to our viewers is, despite the fact that Fidel Castro is seen by many in Latin America as a hero, these networks are largely going the course of business as usual. This story is hardly dominating from what we've seen. We're not seeing wall-to-wall coverage of this story." This lines-up with the last point in the memo - "while despised by some, he is seen as a revolutionary hero, especially with leftist in Latin America, for standing up to the United States."

Audio available here (265 kB).

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan was a news analyst at Media Research Center