Media Watchdog Group Blasts Coverage of Elian Gonzalez Case

By Jim Burns | July 7, 2008 | 8:26 PM EDT

Washington ( - The Media Research Center issued a scathing report Tuesday denouncing coverage by the nation''s major television networks of the Easter weekend seizure of six-year old Elian Gonzalez from the home of his Miami relatives.

MRC Chairman L Brent Bozell, who also founded, told a Capitol Hill press conference, "It should not have been difficult for the media to have covered the Elian Gonzalez case fairly."

"The media should have scrutinized the Clinton administration more than justified it," Bozell said. "A few simple questions would have sufficed. Did federal agents bust down the door without knocking? Did the Gonzalez family offer any resistance? Were there any weapons in the house found in the raid? Was there any consideration what the raid might do physically or mentally to Elian?"

Bozell added, "the media should have explained the reality of family life in Castro''s communist Cuba and should have balanced their questioning of the motivations of Elian's Miami relatives by questioning the motivations of the reunification camp in Cuba."

"Why did the media fail?" Bozell asked. "Because this was the liberal media on a mission. That mission was to support the Clinton-Gore administration in sending that little boy back to a dictatorship," Bozell said.

Florida Republican Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinin, whose district includes the little Havana home of the Gonzalez relatives, praised the Media Research Center for issuing its report.

"The overall reporting has been marred by slanderous attacks on Elian''s Miami relatives, character assassination of the entire Cuban-American community and a blatant disregard for the sacrifice made by Elian''s mother," Ros-Lehtinen said.

"National media outlets have legitimized the atrocities committed by Castro''s communist dictatorship against its citizens by characterizing the oppressive regime as merely a different type of government and rendering the title of President to the unelected totalitarian dictator," Ros-Lehtinen said.

Ros-Lehtinien also criticized the national media for failing to question why Members of Congress are prohibited from visiting Elian at Maryland's Wye River Plantation, where he is currently staying, at the same time Castro officials are given free reign of the property.

New Jersey Republican Representative Chris Smith, who chairs the House Human Rights Subcommittee, also criticized network news coverage of the Elian case.

"I think the United States media has done a great disservice to the truth in this whole process. If there ever was a one-sidedness on an issue, we''re seeing it in regards to this. I really hate, frankly, the way the Cuban Americans are being stepped on by the media. They have been abused rhetorically in print as well as orally. I''m amazed at how they get away with that type of libel and slander about a community," Smith said.

Smith hopes Congressional Committees will hold a hearing sometime in the future over the media''s coverage of the Elian Gonzalez case. Elian, according to Smith, will be forced to be a Marxist if he is returned to Cuba.

"Elian will be a child with a mark on his back and he will not be allowed to deviate one iota from the Marxist ideology," Smith said.

See the Complete MRC Report