Who is Sonia Garro?

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on April 3, 2013

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Directions

-Read the media bias example below (from Mary Anastasia O'Grady's Wall Street Journal column).
-Read "Types of Media Bias" in the right column. Then answer the questions.

From Mary Anastasia O’Grady’s column posted at wsj.com (original post date 3/31/13):

Sonia Garro with her ​​husband in an undated photo.

Sonia Garro with her ​​husband in an undated photo.

…Sonia Garro is a dissident who has been sitting in a Cuban jail since Pope Benedict XVI visited the Castros in Cuba in March 2012. Ms. Garro’s sister, Yamilet, recently told the independent online newspaper Diario de Cuba that Sonia “feels she has been forgotten.”

That’s exactly how her jailers want it.

Ms. Garro is a 37-year-old mother and a member of a women’s group that supports the Ladies in White. Both groups work for the release of political prisoners. Ms. Garro just spent her second Easter in lock-up even though she has never been charged with a crime. She is now being held at the notorious Manto Negro prison.

Her husband, Ramón Alejandro Muñoz, who tried to defend his wife, was arrested at the same time and also has never been charged. He is being held at Havana’s maximum-security Combinado del Este prison. Both jails are run down, rat-infested dungeons where neither international Red Cross observers nor the United Nations special rapporteur on torture are permitted. Government investigators say they are still mulling over their cases. The couple’s 16-year-old daughter is in the care of her aunt.

Welcome to the surreal world of Cuban “reform,” where the more the regime talks of change, the worse things get for anyone with a conscience. …Political prisoners have been left behind. Their inhumane treatment, rarely covered by the media, underscores how little progress has been made.

For speaking about human rights, Sonia Garro has been held in prison without charge since March 18, 2012.

Cuban dissidents know her story well, and it is meant as a warning to them. That you have probably never heard of Sonia Garro, put away for daring to speak about human rights ahead of Pope Benedict’s visit, is a testament to the power of regime propagandists and the weakness of American journalism.

Questions

Ms. O’Grady blames the media for ignoring the story of Sonia Garro and her husband Ramon Munoz.  Think about the many news items that receive countless news stories and reports. (Many local murder trials which are reported on endlessly, or stories of various “celebrities” – most recently Justin Bieber, Beyonce, the Kardashians, etc.)

1.  Do you think this excerpt illustrates an example of bias by story selection and omission?  Explain your answer.

2.  Members of the Society of Professional Journalists believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to seek truth and report it: provide a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues. (Read the Journalist’s Code of Ethics at: spj.org)

Why is necessary for the U.S. media to report on the story of Sonia Garro and her husband, as well as the many other political prisoners in Cuba? (read about all at babalublog.com)


Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the answers.
























Answer(s)

1.  Opinion question. Answers vary.

2.  Answers vary.