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Oops! Asman Does It Again

Reported by Nancy - April 18, 2005 -

Because I've been monitoring FNL for too long, I've become inured to the inanity of David Asman's "Observer" segment. But the one he did on Wed 4/13 struck me as an even lamer than usual attempt to bash the New York Times. So I dug a little. What I found may (or may not) surprise you.

Here's the link to the 4/13 installment of the "Asman Observer," entitled Movies As 'Propaganda' as posted on the foxnews.com website. Asman opens by mentioning that he knew a Cuban who once headed the Cuban Film Institute (ICAIC), then uses that as a hook to criticize ICAIC, the Havana Film Festival in New York for shoring only ICAIC-approved films, & the NYTimes for co-sponsoring the festival.

Asman sneers at "that champion of civil liberties, The New York Times" for co-sponsoring the festival, then says that


The Times issued a statement saying that they were co-sponsoring the event because their readers “appreciate a diversity of thought and opinions in culture.”

The phrase "issued a statement" is clickable in the original. So I clicked. That link takes you not to the NYTimes but to a page in the New York Sun which -- oddly enough (not) -- is an article, dated 4/11/05, entitled "Cuban Film Festival Called Propaganda"

That article is much long than Asman's 4-paragraph "Observer" but -- with the exception of the personal & vague intro Asman uses as a hook, it contains everything else in his little diatribe.

For example, in para 2, Asman quotes expatriate Cuban filmmaker Reinaldo Cruz on ICAIC:


As Cuban filmmaker Reinaldo Cruz, who fled Cuba in 1998, says about the Cuban Film Institute, it has one overriding purpose: "…to project the power and the image of the regime of Castro. It was founded for that."

Here's what the NYSun article said:


...a Cuban actor and director living in Miami, Reinaldo Cruz, who fled the communist regime in 1998. During his film career in Cuba, Mr. Cruz said, he became intimately familiar with ICAIC, which he said was the sole producer and distributor of movies in Cuba - and which, like all government organs on the island, censored the materials it distributed.

As such, Mr. Cruz said, the Havana Film Festival and its New York cousin have one purpose. "It is to project the power and the image of the regime of Castro. It was founded for that," Mr. Cruz said.

Note that in the original, Cruz is speaking about the Havana & the New York Film Festivals, not about ICAIC. So Asman can't even lift a quote correctly.

Later, in para 4, Asman quotes another Cuban:


Cuban American filmmaker Ivan Acosta (search) is incensed that the New York Times is endorsing a censored vision of Cuba: "They have a duty of investigating and finding out what is going on, instead of being useful idiots."

Here's what the NYSun article said:


To Mr. Acosta, however, "They [the festival's sponsors] have no excuse not to know."

"They have a duty of investigating and finding out what is going on, instead of being useful idiots," the filmmaker said of the press and broadcast sponsors of the event, which, besides the Times, include the Spanish-language paper El Diario, local TV station NBC 4, and the local affiliate of the Spanish-language TV network Telemundo.

Note that Acosta is talking about ALL of the film festival's co-sponsors, not just the NYTimes. But Asman doesn't mention any of the other co-sponsors in his little rant. Why not? Aren't other sponsors equally culpable?

And as for the NYTimes statement that Asman sneered about in para 3:


The Times issued a statement saying that they were co-sponsoring the event because their readers “appreciate a diversity of thought and opinions in culture.”

Here's what the NYSun article said:


In a statement issued by e-mail from the Times director of public relations, Toby Usnik, the paper responded: "The Times's marketing department sponsors a variety of film and arts festivals each year as a service to its readers who appreciate a diversity of thought and opinions in culture. This festival is one such sponsorship."

So Asman lifts selected bits from another news source & re-publishes them as his own, without proper attribution. I believe that's called plagiarism.

Then the foxnews.com website links Asman's op-ed piece to the source Asman plagiaried from. I believe that's called stupidity.