Several Western news outlets have used an erroneously captioned photo showing a pro-government rally in Cuba, deeming it an opposition protest, while CNN opted for an image of a Miami demonstration instead, raising eyebrows, RT.com reported.
Captured by Associated Press photographer Eliana Aponte during a demonstration in support of the government in the Cuban capital on Sunday, the photo has made the rounds in the Western corporate press as unrest grips the Caribbean nation. However, multiple outlets have incorrectly described the image as an “anti-government protest,” including the Guardian, Fox News, the Financial Times, the New York Times, the Washington Times and Voice of America. The latter outlet, the US-government funded VOA, committed the error on two separate occasions.
GrayZone journalist Ben Norton and Alan MacLeod of MintPress News were among the first to note the error, sharing screenshots of several examples. MacLeod suggested the outlets may have simply “copied and pasted” the AP’s original photo caption, replicating the error across multiple agencies.
The disinformation on Cuba is so blatant: Pro-war, neoliberal British newspaper The Guardian used a photo of Cubans rallying with the July 26 flag (the name of the revolutionary movement founded by Fidel Castro) and falsely claimed they're "anti-government protesters"— Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) July 12, 2021
Fake news! pic.twitter.com/3FCXcUPOxK
A ton of corporate media, including the Financial Times, Fox News, The New York Times and The Guardian have used a pic of a PRO-govt rally in Cuba 🇨🇺 to illustrate their articles on anti-government protests, falsely claiming the huge crowds to be on the side of the US. pic.twitter.com/eKo9QJzzeP— Alan MacLeod (@AlanRMacLeod) July 13, 2021
Both journalists pointed out the red-and-black flags hoisted by demonstrators in the photo, which read “26 Julio,” a reference to Fidel Castro’s 26th of July movement. The organisation played a major role in the Cuban Revolution and later formed into a political party, with the two-colored flag becoming a common symbol of support for Cuba’s communist government.
Of the six news outlets cited above, only the Guardian had issued a correction at the time of writing, stating that it amended its story because the “original agency caption on the image... incorrectly described them as anti-government protesters. They were actually supporters of the government.”
The @Guardian (of Blairism) has quietly corrected its fake news, admitting that the photo it published of people rallying in Cuba were actually PRO-government, not anti-government as it had falsely claimed before.https://t.co/1sWyHSmmJc pic.twitter.com/16KLhoehCc— Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) July 13, 2021
The AP image is not the only photo to be misrepresented in Western media coverage. On its Instagram page, CNN also strongly implied that another photo showed Cuban protesters, with its caption reading, in part, “Thousands of Cubans protested a lack of food and medicine.” The image in question was taken by an AFP photographer, and a search through the agency’s photo gallery shows the rally was actually held in Miami, Florida. CNN appears to have omitted the first portion of the AFP caption, which made clear the protest was based in the US.
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