Fact: There is no refuge from the onslaught of corporate media propaganda.
It’s not just the bold-faced fabrications that make up the headlines…it’s also the lies of omission one can discern in the sports section. As Exhibit A, I offer a short article by veteran sports scribe Bill Gallo in the August 6, 2004 New York Daily News…an item characterized by Gallo as a "rare" positive story about boxing.
Former welterweight champ Kid Gavilan died about 18 months ago. Famed for his "bolo punch," Gavilan was both a crowd favorite and a talented pugilist. Born Gerardo Gonzalez on January 6, 1926 in Havana, Cuba, The Keed went 107-30-6 (28 kayos) and is one of the few boxers ever not to be knocked down or out in their professional careers.
"After his fighting days were over," Gallo informs us, "the Cuban star returned to his homeland expecting to live comfortably the rest of his life."
Like many with delusions of retirement grandeur, Gavilan discovered his future would not play out as planned. The Cuban government, says Gallo, " confiscated his 39-acre ranch, his home in Camaguey, other real estate, and his ’49 Lincoln and ’50 Cadillac." Gallo calls these Gavilan’s "years of misery" but explains that the fighter "escaped Castro’s rule and returned to the U.S."
No evidence is offered to verify this tale It’s not difficult to believe that much of it may be accurate…but it is interesting to note how simple it is to spin such a yarn. The system of indoctrination we live under essentially guarantees that the vast majority of Daily News readers will be receptive to negative stories about Fidel Castro and Cuba. For most, no evidence is required.
However, as stated earlier, what remains unexamined is what best illustrates how a sports story can help keep the rabble in line. Gallo goes on to detail the rest of Gavilan’s life. "His health started to go," we’re told and "Gavvy practically lived in poverty." When he died "there was not enough money to bury him." The once-successful fighter ended up in an unmarked "pauper’s grave" in Miami.
Here’s where Gallo’s story gets "positive."
In order to have the boxer’s body exhumed and buried in a "proper" grave, funds were recently raised (including a large check from Mike Tyson). Kid Gavilan, ignored during the last years of his life, would have his headstone.
Cue the inspiration music swelling to a mighty crescendo over a self-congratulatory ceremony in the Miami sun.
Bill Gallo, of course, made no comment about the fact that Gavilan lived no better in the U.S. than he did in Cuba. Castro was a man to "escape" from, we learned. America, on the other hand, is inhabited by men like Tyson who give to charities. But what about the time in between? We get no help from Gallo or the Daily News in explaining why Kid Gavilan died penniless.
Sports fans will read this item, get a warm and fuzzy feeling, and tell their friends that Tyson really does have a good side…never questioning Castro’s evilness or America’s status as the land of opportunity.
Corporate propaganda: the winner and still champion.
MICKEY Z. is the author of two brand new books: "The Seven Deadly Spins: Exposing the Lies Behind War Propaganda" (Common Courage Press) and "A Gigantic Mistake: Articles and Essays for Your Intellectual Self-Defense" (Library Empyreal/Wildside Press). For more information, please visit: http://mickeyz.net.