Cover

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Half Title, Series Info, Frontispiece, Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Foreword

Patrick S. Washburn

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pp. ix-xii

In thirty-one years of college teaching, I was surprised continually by the students’ general lack of historical knowledge. For example, on a journalism history test, they were asked to name one of the two times when John F. Kennedy was president that he became extremely angry with the press. ...

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Preface

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pp. xiii-xiv

This book focuses on the Cuban Revolution during 1957 and 1958 when the reporting by American foreign correspondents misinformed the public and misled Congress and policy makers, with lasting consequences. It was certainly not the first instance of misreporting from foreign conflicts. ...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xv-xvi

I am sincerely grateful to my colleagues in the American Journalism Historians Association. Frankly, this book would not have been written without both their encouragement of the idea and their discouragement of my earlier focus. That first attempt was rejected twice by a review committee, prodding me to reconsider and to discover this story. ...

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1. The Thirteen

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pp. 1-11

In April of 1959, four months after Fidel Castro entered Havana—triumphantly riding atop a tank—he visited Washington as Cuba’s new premier. The protocol for his visit was somewhat unusual, however, because he was not invited by the president of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, who actually left town during the visit for a golfing vacation in Augusta, Georgia. ...

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2. Scoop!

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pp. 12-36

On February 9, 1957, Herbert Matthews arrived at Havana’s airport. He and his wife, Nancie, posed as North American vacationers lured by holiday promotions to enjoy the sunshine and casinos in this Caribbean paradise. Nothing, he assumed, “could have looked more innocent than a middle-aged couple of American tourists.” ...

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3. The Stage Is Set

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pp. 37-54

The resurrection of Fidel Castro on the front page of the New York Times commanded national and international attention. “The sensational impact of my Sierra Maestra interview,” Herbert Matthews self-consciously observed, “set the stage.” In the nation’s leading “newspaper of record,” he had demonstrated the ingenuity of American journalism in confronting the dictatorship’s big lie. ...

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4. Cuba’s Jungle Fighters

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pp. 55-68

Having returned from Cuba, Robert Taber needed CBS approval to go forward with the Cuban story. Specifically, Taber had to persuade Don Hewitt that the rebellion was worth what Taber wanted—a half-hour documentary across the CBS national network. Taber’s sole advantage was in knowing that Hewitt was ambitious and adventuresome. ...

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5. Marching with Castro

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pp. 69-89

Robert Taber’s departure from Castro’s camp was welcome news for the impatient freelance adventure writer from New York who had been kept waiting in Santiago de Cuba. Andras Szentgyorgyi—who wrote under his Anglicized name, Andrew St. George—had imagined this opportunity since that Sunday in February when he read Herbert Matthews’s spectacular adventure. ...

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6. The Two Havanas

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pp. 90-101

Jules Dubois was kept busy during the spring of 1957 minding troubles in Cuba and elsewhere, including his own. Personal problems could be expected as he crusaded for press freedom in countries ruled by military dictators, caudillos. In Argentina, he had already been branded as the “No. 1 Gangster of U.S. Journalism” by Juan Perón, ...

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7. This Is Absolutely False

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pp. 102-118

Andrew St. George handed Cavalier a page turner. He made the deadline, with his wife, Jean, converting his work into typed pages, feeling that his fascination “with the whole experience . . . probably came through as he was writing the story.”1 The thousands of words flowed more through the scenes and conversations revealing the heroic qualities of two main characters, Fidel Castro and St. George. ...

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8. It Is Necessary to Have Faith

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pp. 119-140

As the insurrection continued into a second year, U.S. news media began investing in more coverage of Fidel Castro. His so-called ragtag rebels had survived and even seemed to have gained strength in men, arms, and middle-class support. After the attacks by the student revolutionaries and the Miami exiles had been crushed, ...

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9. How Can We Prove We Are Not Something?

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pp. 141-158

By Homer Bigart’s calculations, the failure of the general strike signified the defeat of Castro’s only viable strategy, economic warfare. In the Sierra Maestra, Castro had told him, “To see our victory, you must have faith.” Now Bigart wrote that “apparently there was more faith than realism.” Based on his unnamed “informed sources,” the journalist concluded that “the days of Fidel Castro are numbered.” ...

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10. Liberator or Dictator?

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pp. 159-183

The tempo of bulletins out of Cuba in the summer of 1958 moved the country higher on the daily news agenda. At the same time, it troubled editors and broadcasters that they relied heavily on official and other sources they did not entirely trust. The “reputable” sources in the State Department in Washington and the U.S. Embassy and Presidential Palace in Havana were at great odds with what was being reported on Radio Rebelled. ...

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Epilogue: In Revolutionary Situations

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pp. 184-190

In April 1959, when Castro summoned his thirteen favorite American journalists to the reunion in the Cuban Embassy on 16th Street NW, he was no longer the “rebel chieftain” leading a ragtag band of guerrillas. Nor had he followed the course he had depicted to them—that of seeking a reclusive life in the mountains, farming and helping poor guajiros. ...

Appendix: “Castro Hails Newsmen”

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pp. 191-192

Notes

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pp. 193-220

Bibliography

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pp. 221-232

Index

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pp. 233-242