ABC Out to Lunch on U.S. Attempt to Kindle Political Change in Cuba; CBS and NBC Cover
As of Tuesday morning, ABC's morning and evening newscasts have yet to cover the Associated Press report that revealed the Obama administration's covert program in Cuba that attempted "recruit young Cubans to anti-government activism" on the communist-dominated island. The AP outlined that "over at least two years, the U.S. Agency for International Development...sent nearly a dozen neophytes from Venezuela, Costa Rica and Peru to gin up opposition in Cuba."
By contrast, both CBS This Morning and NBC's Today set aside air time to the scoop. NBC's Natalie Morales gave a 32-second news brief on the clandestine program: [MP3 audio available here; video below]
NATALIE MORALES: The Obama administration secretly employed young Latin Americans in Cuba to try and provoke political change. This is according to an Associated Press investigation. The AP says the project began as early as 2009, and it secretly used Venezuelan, Costa Rican, and Peruvian youth in Cuba in an attempt to provoke a rebellion. They reportedly worked undercover, and posed as tourists – and, in one case, created a HIV prevention workshop to recruit activists. In all, nearly a dozen Latin Americans served in the program.
On CBS, Charlie Rose cited USA Today's reporting on the Obama administration program in Cuba:
CHARLIE ROSE: USA Today says the Obama administration secretly sent young Latin Americans to Cuba. It was part of an operation to provoke political change there. It started nearly five years ago. About a dozen Latinos posted as tourists, and scouted for people they could turn into political activists. The program was run by the same agency that created a Cuban Twitter to strip – to stir dissent.
CBS and NBC's evening newscasts, CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News, have yet to pick up on the AP investigation.
CNN's Michaela Pereira followed the lead of the CBS and NBC morning newscasts with a 30-second news brief on the story on Tuesday's New Day:
MICHAELA PEREIRA: The Obama administration is defending a controversial program where young Latinos were reportedly sent under cover to Cuba to try and stir up political change. An Associated Press investigation says they would sometimes pose as tourists. Others put together an HIV prevention workshop as a cover to recruit Cuban activists. The administration says the workshop promoted democracy, but was not a front for political purposes. Health officials, meanwhile, say this kind of operation could put other health programs at risk.
— Matthew Balan is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Matthew Balan on Twitter.