Bad news: “Too bad he used his skills on Dennis Rodman rather than on Sean Penn or Michael Moore or his former boss Bill Clinton,” Elder adds:
Unlike Penn, Rodman did not blame hostilities on corporate greed. After the Iraq War began, Penn wrote: “If military intervention in Iraq has been a grave misjudgment, it has been one resulting in thousands upon thousands of deaths, and done so without any credible evidence of imminent threat to the United States. Our flag has been waving, it seems, in servicing a regime change significantly benefiting U.S. corporations. … That same flag that took me so long to love, respect and protect threatens to become a haunting banner of murder, greed and treason against our principles, honored history, Constitution, and our own mothers and fathers. To become a vulgar billboard, advertising our disloyalty to ourselves and our allies.”
“Murder, greed and treason”? What about the low-side estimate of 300,000 Iraqis killed by Saddam, the gassing of the Kurds, the money offered families of suicide bombers, the invasion of his neighbors, etc.?
And then there’s Penn’s “friendship” with the late Venezuelan President-for-life Hugo Chavez. “I lost a friend I was blessed to have,” Penn said when he heard of Chavez’s recent death. But even the much-celebrated decline in Venezuelan poverty looks less impressive when compared to the rest of capitalist Latin American — where poverty and income inequality fell even faster. Let us remember the uncomfortable fact that Chavez’s political enemies were known to suddenly vanish. Chavez also closed newspapers and television and radio stations for making critical comments about him.
Yet has Penn ever been subjected to the kind of grilling about Iraq and Venezuela from mainstream news outlets the way Stephanopoulos grilled Rodman about North Korea?
This brings us to Michael Moore. Concerned about “the misery (Americans) are put through on a daily basis by our profit-based system,” the $50-million-net-worth filmmaker traveled to Havana for a documentary to illustrate the “superiority” of Cuba’s health care system. Moore gushed, “Cuba is one of the most generous countries in providing doctors to the Third World.”
Was Moore, in his many appearances on CNN, grilled about the killings and imprisonments done at the behest of Fidel Castro and henchman Che Guevara? After all, the number of victims executed or held prisoner under this duo, per capita, puts these murderous thugs on par with Hitler and Stalin. But Moore’s stature is such that at one of the Democratic national conventions, Moore sat next to former President Jimmy Carter.
Why would CNN grill anyone on Cuban terrorism, given how chummy CNN’s founders and former executives have been regarding Castro and his island prison:
A longtime admirer of Fidel Castro, Turner has called the former Cuban president “one hell of a guy.” In 2001 Turner told a class at Harvard Law School, “You’d like him [Castro]. He has been the leader of Cuba for 40 years. He’s the most senior leader in the world, and most of the people that are still in Cuba like him.”
Castro, in turn, holds Turner in high regard, so much so that the dictator was the inspiration behind the creation of CNN International. As CNN News Chief Executive Eason Jordan told his audience during a 1999 lecture at Harvard’s Nieman Foundation for Journalism:
“… Let me also thank Fidel Castro. In the earliest days of CNN, when CNN was meant to be seen only in the United States, the enterprising Fidel Castro was pirating and watching CNN in Cuba. Fidel was intrigued by CNN. He wanted to meet the person responsible. So Ted Turner, who at that point had never traveled to a Communist country or knowingly met a Communist, [went to Havana]. It was big deal for Ted and during the discussions Castro suggested that CNN be made available to the entire world. In fact it was that seed, that idea that grew into CNN International.”
Turner generally has been loath to condemn totalitarian tyrants such as Castro, a stark contrast to his frequent and passionate denunciations of President George W. Bush. When asked in 2000 whether he thought Saddam Hussein could accurately be described as evil, Turner said: “I’m not sure that I know enough to be able to answer that question.”
Oh, and speaking of Castro, he’s now 86 years old. He’s somehow unlikely to meet his personal physician’s promise of living to be 140. (Setting aside the oxymoron of the words “Cuban healthcare,” what would you say to the tyrant if you were in his doctor’s shoes?) So consider Tuesday’s Chavez-gasms by numerous members of the American left and the news media (but I repeat myself) to simply be a small-scale dry run for the gushing encomiums to follow when Fidel is permanently transferred to the great fiery work camp in hell.