CNN?s documentary series, The Cold War, is being shown every weekend, with a new episode on Sundays that is re-aired several times. The series was produced by a Britisher, Jeremy Isaacs, whose instructions from CNN boss, Ted Turner, reportedly included a ban on “triumphalism.” That appears to mean no gloating about the triumph of the Free World over the Evil Empire. That is understandable in light of Ted Turner?s record. In 1986 he said, “Communism?s fine with me.” In 1987 he equated the Communist takeovers in Russia and Cuba with the American Revolution. In 1988, he produced a TV documentary that glamorized the Soviet Union.
In 1990, with communism collapsing in Russia, Turner declared himself to be an anti-Communist. Communism?s severest critics have now been vindicated, and it would be hard to produce a history of the Cold War that didn?t recognize that communism was a 20th century disaster. This came through loud and clear in CNN?s treatment of the erection of the Berlin Wall aired on November 22. It showed that the wall was built because East Germans were voting for freedom and against tyranny with their feet, fleeing to West Berlin in numbers that both embarrassed the Soviet puppet East German state and threatened its viability.
Ted Turner has long been a friend of Fidel Castro?s. He was impressed by Castro when he made his first trip to Cuba. He was wined and dined, and Castro took him duck hunting. Turner was very impressed when Castro allowed him to shoot ducks with no limit and then had them put on ice and delivered to his plane.
Perhaps that?s why CNN?s Cold War presented a view of Castro and Cuba on November 29 that could have been scripted by Castro himself. The subject was the Cuban missile crisis. It told how Castro came to power and described the events that led to the Soviet installation of nuclear missiles in Cuba in 1962, threatening American cities and military bases. It said the charismatic Castro replaced the (quote) “brutal dictator” Batista in January 1959. Castro, who has ruled Cuba with an iron hand ever since without ever holding an election is never referred to as a dictator, much less as brutal.
Castro was shown describing his takeover as one of “perfect order.” His reign of terror began with immediate executions of his foes by firing squads. CNN left the impression that the total number shot was 500, but actually Castro has executed some 30,000 and 5,000 have died from maltreatment in prison. Over a million Cubans have fled the island to escape the oppression and poverty brought by Castro. About 60,000 have died trying. CNN ignored these facts.
The program perpetuated the lie that we drove Castro into the arms of the Soviet Union. Castro, a long-time Marxist, at first concealed his plan to convert Cuba into a communist state, but his expropriations soon made this clear. CNN didn?t say so, but Castro is a madman. He was furious when Khrushchev withdrew the missiles from Cuba instead of pushing the nuclear button, even though that would mean Cuba?s destruction.