Accuracy in Media

MSNBC host Chris Matthews publicly criticized the recent uptick and surge of support for socialism within the Democratic Party, which video segment made the rounds on social media. Matthews specifically criticized socialism and cited why “it doesn’t frickin’ work!”

In a post-debate panel, Matthews said, “…the issue of this campaign, it is that word ‘socialism.’ Some people like it, younger people like it, those of us like me, who grew up in the Cold War and saw some aspects of it, if there visiting places like Vietnam, like I have, [and seeing countries] like Cuba, being there, I’ve seen what socialism’s like, I don’t like it, OK?” He concluded, “It’s not only not free, it doesn’t frickin work!”

But Matthews did not stop there. He condemned the violent history of socialism for MSNBC’s audience and said, “I have my views on the word ‘socialist,’ and I’ll be glad to share them with you in private and they go back to the early 1950s. I have an attitude about them, I remember the Cold War, I have an attitude toward Castro.” He continued, “I believe if Castro and the reds had won the Cold War there would have been executions in Central Park and I might have been one of the ones getting executed and certain other people would be there cheering, OK?” Matthews said he doesn’t “know who Bernie supports over these years. I don’t know what he means by ‘socialism.’”

Matthews gave an accurate depiction of socialism’s negative effects, as history has shown. He not only cited history, but gave relevant examples of how socialism could take the lives of innocent people. He correctly pointed out that socialist regimes executed dissidents, with his comment about “executions in Central Park.” He also was correct when he noted how in human history, socialist governments rarely work effectively when socialism was implemented.

But the single mistake that Matthews made was not bringing up Sen. Bernie Sanders’ past statement about Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. Matthews later questioned what Sanders thought about Castro and none of his fellow panelists remembered Sanders’ praise of Castro. As Accuracy in Media discovered, Sanders praised Castro on at least one occasion. Sanders said, “Everybody was totally convinced that Castro was the worst guy in the world…They forgot that he educated…kids, gave them health care, totally transformed the society.” He did not disavow those comments, but he later agreed that Castro’s regime has a history of human rights abuses.

Interestingly enough, the video segment was not on MSNBC’s website, but the clips were widely shared by multiple people on social media.

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews was correct in pointing out the ills and problems with socialist governments in human history in his post-debate rant, which his MSNBC colleagues did not dispute or disagree with. This was far from an example of “fake news,” but a sterling example of the media getting the facts right.

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