Sarah Stephens — Puppeteer with a cause

Media Puppeteer:

n. – One who advocates while pretending to inform. Information typically disseminated by those pretending not to have an opinion, i.e. journalists and/or marionettes.

Sarah Stephens is an advocate for lifting the limited U.S. economic embargo against Cuba. Check out her web site here. Here is a quote from that that website:

She has advocated for changes in our policy toward Cuba in forums, editorial columns, and other publications since starting the Freedom to Travel program in 2001.

Unlike most advocates quoted in the media, Ms. Stephens operates with a distinct advantage. She is often quoted on the topic of Cuba without having it disclosed that it is her job [and personal belief I assume] to advocate for the embargo to be lifted.

Her latest example of puppeteering came in an above the fold front page article in the New York Times. The role of marionette feel to Ginger Thompson with the New York Times:

Sarah Stephens, an expert on Cuba policy, praised the move, saying, “It is a signal not just to Cuba but also to the region that we’re leaving behind our policy of isolation and moving in the direction of engagement.”

Allow me to translate: Ms Stephens, who we [the NY Times] believe to be a Cuba expert, dispassionately analyzed this particular decision and deemed it worthy of her approval. You see, that is so much more effective than stating that Ms Stephens has been working and planning for this move to become a reality for years. But if that were it, Ms Stephens would just be another run of the newsroom puppeteer, no she is the best. Very next paragraph:

Three members of Florida’s congressional delegation — Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Mario Diaz-Balart, all of whom are Republicans — issued a joint statement denouncing the administration for proposing reopening talks with Cuba.

No disclosure, then disclosure, back to back and the marionette will not even blink [rumor has it Ms Thompson actually drank a glass of water during this part of the article].

I took a closer look at the Board of Directors for Ms Stephens organization. I found the name Dr. Julia Sweig. Ms Sweig is a talented puppeteer in her own right, her work was on display recently with the policy announcement by the U.S. company Orbitz.

How else could have Ms Stephens been quoted? Here is another NY Times article on Cuba from April 14th – article by By Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Damien Cave:

“We really don’t know yet what he’s got in mind for the long term,” said Sarah Stephens of the Center for Democracy in the Americas, which advocates a further loosening of the restrictions. She said the administration may be trying to take “baby steps toward building confidence” by letting the Cuban exile community in Miami, which has traditionally opposed any softening of American policy, get used to the idea.

Now ‘advocates further loosening’ is the gentlest of disclosures, but it is a disclosure [hey, it is the lefty NY Times after all]. But not all journalists or editors operate with that level of fairness. For every Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Damien Cave, there are Ginger Thompson and Mike Nizza.

In a recent article Mr Nizza accurately identified Babalu as a “leading anti-Castro blog” [albeit with a messed up hyper-link, an accident no doubt] but then only described Ms Sweig as an ‘expert’ and went on to describe the Council on Foreign Relations [CFR], as a nonpartisan organization. The only thing the CFR is nonpartisan about is which leftist dictator to kiss up to more, Castro or Chavez. If you think I’m exaggerating, try finding a quote critical of either on their web sites. They are there, but it might challenge your ‘I Spy’ skills [folks w/o kids, just move on, but not to move on dot org].

Anyways, let’s hope Mikey at least got a date out of that one. Strings attached, of course.

Just another day on the Cuba dilettantes watch.

About Jorge Costales

- Cuban Exile [veni] - Raised in Miami [vidi] - American Citizen [vici]
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