In just fifteen incidents a media swarm, events related to an international pop star and a glory of Cuban baseball, occurred . Several media published the news that Marc Anthony would come to sing in Cuba, and for the immense disappointment of those humming his songs, sources close to the singer clarified, in few hours, that such a visit was never on the agenda of the Puerto Rican singer, through which I guess he distributed tranquility among some Cuban-Americans in Miami who would never forgive him to come to give joy to his fans in Cuba.
At about the same days, after the media had accused of indiscipline and disrespect to those attending the stadium, and tacitly to the athletes, by the public quarrel occurred in a baseball game in which Lazaro Vargas, head coach of Industriales team, had an altercation with an umpire, and before thousands, perhaps millions of fans, the heated argument occurred, dominated by the most vile insults the Spanish language has. Quarreling is part of the show in certain sports, but what happened later it is indeed uncommon in Cuba: a letter written by the former third baseman of Industriales, in which he first apologized for the outburst, was published and widely spread, and immediately he proceeded to explain what happened, according to his point of view, when tempers flared and the umpire manipulated the rules in his favor, in an obvious exercise of abuse of power, and began acting as an absolutist monarch defending his feud, and expelled Vargas from the game as a feudal lord sentencing a rebellious vassal to exile.
And while Vargas´ attitude seems laudable, by honest and committed to the public’s opinion, and that of Granma newspaper when publishing the letter, then replicated by dozens of media in radio, television and internet, it seems inconceivable the plaintive tone of apology for announcing a visit that will not happen . This happens everywhere in the world, even among the most serious and reputable media have advertised concerts and films that never occur or are verified. So there are enough tears, because that would be presuming that the best journalism in the world, the most rigorous and infallible one , is made in Cuba and that suit does not fix us at all.
Obviously there was excessive haste, lack of professionalism when consulting the credibility of sources, and most of all, it seems, natural journalistic instinct by achieving a “hit” and leave behind other media prevailed. And that’s an analysis that should be checked into the entity that reported the false news, find the causes and put consequences, because the truth is that a journalistic career by achieving the “hit” that comes is starting to bloom in Cuba, apparently for the need for self-validation on a devastatingly competitive and over-saturated environment . Although we must clarify that this is also seen in the radio and television, certified by the need to march to the beat of events. It requires that each media to thoroughly analyze the origin and legality of their news and verify that the “hits” to be solid, before our information environment to become cloudy publishing rumors, delusions and blunders, and analysis should distance themselves from the establishment of guidelines preventing the existence of a lively, alert, agile and compelling journalism.
There are many examples of the race for sensationalism, from the journalist who is an ally of the filmmaker, musician or painter, and puts “exclusives” in the media in which it is aimed to make absolute which is totally relative, up to policies of a TV channel as Multivision , shaken by a sort of frenzy of film premieres which is obviously far ahead, or distant, from the exhibiting dominant policy in the rest of the TV because the channel seems to have carte blanche to premiere what they get, as and when the programmer wants. Thus, no ads or explanation that allows the viewer to be minimally placed on what he is seeing, Multivision shows the most recent American films, those that have not even been nominated for an Oscar, and end up sweeping their competitors. Of course we appreciate all the releases, but why are they concentrated on a single channel, in one day, in one space?
No chief editor should present as news an apocryphal email, which also relies on information from a ghost, unknown magazine. But I think in this case (Marc Anthony) prevailed the desire to inform, and that of doing it first than others, avoiding thus some traditional gaps and delays in our news agendas. I remember when all sorts of urban legends circulated in Havana about prohibited or semi-prohibited singers like the Beatles (who had bathed in a pool of champagne and had sat up the Queen), Raphael (whom the homophobic rumor had married with an European prince), or Julio Iglesias and Roberto Carlo, on whom there were a thousand theories, some very delusional, regarding the suppression of their songs on national radio. I’m talking about Marc Anthony syndrome because the announcement of his false visit is also due to a clinical or symptomatic condition caused by misinformation generating rumors, misunderstandings, malicious stories and urban legends.
It should be noted that at the bottom of the false news, the need of Cubans, journalists and spectators, is very clear: to get informed and access to current fashion, music and international culture, although we still live in one of the few countries that, for example, does not consider appropriate to televise the Oscars ceremony. In the case of Marc Anthony we talked in advance, but the habitual sin has been to remain silent. Because it is also known that dozens of artists, singers and actors have done visits to Cuba shrouded in official secrecy, and then the rumor circulates: someone said she saw Barbra Streisand buying in Old Havana, or a waitress of Hemingway Marina claims to have served shrimp cocktail to Harrison Ford. Does not anyone still know that Ricky Martin has come and gone many times to the island, regardless of what the media have said or ignored? We should not talk bad on Cuban journalism by having published something that was going to happen, when in fact so many things have happened in the same area that media professionals have ignored as if it were insignificant trifle, lounging on this bed of transcendence that sometimes immobilizes us.
Marc Anthony quickly said he would not come to Cuba, and Vargas decided his protest to be subjected to the judgment of Granma, trying thus to prevent a version of the events that somehow blame him for the televised improper behavior to prosper . The most positive part of both events was the skill of the media to recognize the error or to publish a second version of events already evaluated and reported. For my taste it would be necessary to show the public something more than the official interpretation first, and then a replica.
It would be needed to introduce transparency in the matter and publishing new opinions on the controversy, and counter-replicas, and display that, even in baseball, you can discuss with fraternal and sport spirit, height and respect, without rudeness or marginal and sexist attitudes. And question the terrible mistakes of umpiring and its plenipotentiary provisions, and question the derogatory and convict ways of some head coaches. We would all win, but if the meeting happens this will be, definitely, behind closed doors. We’ll n ever hear the results and, of course, journalists will not be allowed to enter. And if they manage to do it, they could never publish the c hronic because their chief editors would probably consider they have already talked enough on the subject. When we are just starting, in this issue, to reduce certain misinformation and trying to, as I said before make vivid, alert, agile and convincing journalism.