Authoritarian regimes dream through propaganda and so, to see what they're fantasizing about, we regularly check in on what state-controlled media outlets have been churning out.
Cuba welcomes ... Danny Glover?
You can imagine our surprise when we loaded the website for the Cuban News Agency only to find a story on Lethal Weapon star Danny Glover leading the site. Why? During a visit to Cuba, Glover had spoken out in support of the "Cuban Five" who've been imprisoned in the U.S. for several years--a major cause of Cuban state media. A U.S. court convicted the five men in 2001 for attempting to infiltrate U.S. military facilities in Florida, but Cuba claims they are political prisoners who were gathering information on "terrorist" plots by Cuban exiles in Florida.
ACN quotes Glover talking about his visits with one of the Five and calling for the prisoners to be freed. In the clip below, Glover's Cuban interviewer gushes with praise for the actor. Glover manages a furtive "buenos dias, como está?" before switching into English.
Syria's disturbing televised confession
Televised confessions represent one of the primary techniques Syria's state-run media uses to advance the regime's narrative of the uprising and discredit the opposition. On Thursday, state TV aired an interview in which Lt. Col. Hussein Harmoush, the most senior army officer to defect from the military during the uprising, suddenly appeared back in Syria to retract statements he'd made in the past about being ordered to fire at protesters and to blame the unrest on "armed gangs" who get their weapons from the Muslim Brotherhood. Harmoush claimed that he left a Turkish refugee camp when he had a falling out with the opposition. Syrian activists are refusing to believe that Harmoush's comments are sincere, speculating instead that he was kidnapped by Syrian intelligence agents or sent back by the Turkish security forces, a charge Turkey has denied.
Here's footage of the interview via the pro-regime SyriaonlineTV YouTube channel. The exchange is interspersed with images of Harmoush in uniform denouncing the regime and calling for rebellion:
Teacher gifts: China's greatest challenge?
Who's happy about America's economic woes? Iran, of course
Iranian state-run news outlets usually rail against the U.S. media. But, well, they'll make an exception if we're bashing ourselves. On Friday, Iran decided to run a San Francisco Chronicle article entitled "Rising Poverty Reflects Diminishing American Dream." Here's the treatment of the story by Iran's Press TV:
Correction: A reader points out that it's not really fair to say the U.S. "claims" the Cuban Five were agents spying on America, as we initially wrote. The five were in fact convicted by a U.S. court in 2001 for attempting to infiltrate U.S. military installations in Florida. The text above has been modified to reflect this correction.