If there were ever a reason that illustrates why newspapers are dying and the mainstream media isn't trusted by many people, this story from the Babalu Blog is a perfect example. Last February, your humble correspondent posted a Newsbusters blog about the studied incuriosity of the MSM over the Che Guevara flag hanging in the office of Barack Obama campaign volunteer, Maria Isabel. This flag was discovered when Houston Fox News 26 reported on the opening of an Obama campaign office as you can see in this video. This caused a big flap at the time but it was reported almost exclusively in the blogosphere as the MSM, with a notable exception of Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe, mostly ignored the story.
On February 12, the Obama campaign issued a terse statement on the Che Guevara flag controversy that was careful not to condemn the flag or Che Guevara himself:
"This is a volunteer office that is not in any way controlled by the Obama campaign. We were disappointed to see this picture because it is both offensive to many Cuban-Americans -- and Americans of all backgrounds -- and because it does not reflect Senator Obama’s views. Barack Obama has been very clear in putting forward a Cuba policy that is based on one principle: freedom for the Cuban people."
Well, now it turns out that it was not only a disembodied Obama campaign that was involved with this controversy but Barack Obama personally who, according to Maria Isabel in a recent interview on the Enrique Y Joe Show (La Calle FM 98.3), told her to shut up about the Che Guevara flag. Here is how the interview went as reported by the Babalu Blog managing editor, Henry Gomez (emphasis mine):
...Many liberals and Obama supporters have a favorable opinion of Guevara and that was demonstrated by the 15 user-generated web pages at BarackObama.com with quotes from and pictures of Che Guevara. At the time of the incident Maria Isabel didn't want to talk about Guevara or the flag. In fact she walked off an interview with the same station that had previously covered her campaign office.
Well, here we are several months later and Maria Isabel has resurfaced. Morning radio show hosts Enrique and Joe (who once crank called fidel castro) interviewed Maria Isabel. You can listen to the interview here.
What's interesting is how she tries to justify the flag by saying that her father gave it to her to remind her about the suffering of Cuba. She says "tearfully" that the "flag doesn't support fidel castro or Che Guevara. This is some rather convoluted logic. It's like hanging a Nazi flag at a synagogue to remember the holocaust. Note in the picture above that she has the flag right next to an American flag and a peace flag. For her to claim now that she is not an admirer of Che Guevara is incredible in the literal sense of the word.
But when asked why she didn't explain that to the Fox TV reporter she turns the fake waterworks off and explains how the campaign decided to handle the incident. They advised her that she could continue to speak on behalf of the campaign but was "prohibited" from talking about the flag because "what happens, what happens is that is that there are a lot of groups that, well, some people like Che Guevara and other people don't like Che Guevara and that if I appear on television talking about the flag it would cause a lot of distractions." When asked who told her that, she answers flatly, "Barack Obama."
You can hear Maria Isabel make the astounding admission that Barack Obama personally told her not to talk about the Che Guevara flag at the 5:13 mark of the radio entrevista which is mostly in Spanish but also has portions in English. So who will be the first MSM reporter that dares to ask Obama about his plea to keep mum on the Che Guevara flag controversy according to Maria Isabel?
In these times when newspapers are undergoing huge personnel cutbacks and the MSM is losing its credibility, they might ask themselves if it is not perhaps because the blogosphere and talk radio, which they often deride, is leading the way on topics that they refuse to touch.