The Press should focus on important news
Editorial by David Arthur Walters
THE MIAMI MIRROR
October 26, 2011
Miami Beach—I don’t know about you, but I could care less about whether or not U.S. Senator Marco Rubio’s parents either temporarily visited or permanently immigrated to the United States, either to avoid the violence under Batista until Castro took over, or to stay away from Castro’s regime altogether.
The underlying question seems to be: Is Senator Rubio faking his parent’s membership in the Cuban exile community in order to gain favor with conservative voters? I personally believe that he sincerely sympathizes with and identifies with the Cuban exile community. That is enough for me.
Of course we all know that winning political office depends on advertising that requires elevating image over substance, so we are not surprised when politicians lie about or exaggerate their personal backgrounds to get elected.
However that may be, many non-politicians somewhat innocently repeat family legends without conducting a careful investigation into the underlying facts. Indeed, we all live according to unsubstantiated myths to some extent. We can be glad that investigators are not digging out the facts as we speak.
The Florida papers, particularly The Miami Herald, sedulously repeats the attacks made on Senator Rubio’s integrity in this matter, and to such an extent that we are given reasonable suspicion to believe that the press has a hand in manufacturing this front-page “news,” and does so to please a market wherein Cuban exiles are indeed an influential force that has become increasingly liberal having been repeatedly betrayed by elected neo-conservatives.
But the media tactic falls flat and is resented. The issue is not left or right but rather the ethnic identification the press would keep drawing. The fact of the matter is that both Cubans and non-Cubans are sick and tired of “the Cuban Thing.”
I could say that I have a “Cuban friend” named Darwin—he was born in Cuba—but why should I bother to mention that he is Cuban? Should he call me his "American American" friend?
Darwin is the son of parents who emigrated from Cuba to Spain and then to the United States. His father worked for Castro but made the mistake of publicly complimenting Francefor its superior solar technology, so it behooved him to get his family out of the country. After Darwin landed in the United States, he studied art and became a painter, a Born Again Christian, and a fan of President Bush. Although his affiliations have changed, he was and still is a Red, White, and Blue American. As such he resented, for one thing, being called a “Cuban painter.”
Being identified as a Cuban artist naturally has its commercial and political advantages in South Florida. Still, Darwin said he was “sick of the Cuban Thing.” He loves his particularly ethnic culture, but when it comes to politics and business he is a full-blooded American.
The press decides what the news is. The Miami Herald has decided that the fire storm it has fanned for its ulterior commercial and political purposes is front page news. But the Cuban Thing in this context is certainly not important enough to be front-page news although it may be more important than the sports articles the Miami Herald editors like to run on the front page—one man pointed at the football on the front page yesterday and said that is what the editors have for brains.
Of course the senator has used his Cuban background as a campaign strategy, so it seems fair to challenge it, but not really. Senator Rubio’s handsome appearance and popularity is worthy of a sentence or two, for that often suffices to get someone elected. Yet intelligent voters care about what he has done and what he can do for his country, and could care less about his ethnic background as he perceives it.
One thing that really matters is Senator Rubio’s ideology. I like the senator’s looks, and I think he is relatively sincere compared to older hands in politics. But I am suspicious of his ideology, not because it temporarily pleases the tempestuous teapot faction, but because it seems fixed. I do not trust someone who is married to a certain set of ideas or fixated on a political ideology.
Ideas should not be things to cling to but should be modes of creativity. Fixation on ideas is a sign of moral insanity, and presages demented behavior. That is what John Adams, a true conservative, meant when he called ideology “idiotology.” It would be in the public interest for the press to manufacture some “news” on that universally newsworthy subject instead of using the parochial Cuban Thing to suit what it conceives to be its market.