January 26, 2017

PAST PERFORMANCE IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS.

Shot:

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.”

—David Horowitz’s “Discover the Networks” page on CNN founder Ted Turner, as quoted at Ed Driscoll.com, in a 2010 post titled “The Mote in CNN’s Mini-Cam,” a round-up of some of the network’s zanier bootlicks of totalitarian dictators over the years, not least of which was this moment a decade ago:

Chaser: “Following the lead of CNN’s Brian Stelter, Thursday’s Situation Room touted the spike of sales in the book 1984 and strongly hinted that Americans view the Trump administration as the real-life version of Big Brother portrayed in George Orwell’s classic.”

NewsBusters yesterday.

Shades of clueless Walter Cronkite during run-up to the eponymous year depicted in Orwell’s book, as I wrote in my 2014 review of Cronkite’s biography by leftwing author Douglas Brinkley:

Similarly, in 1970, Brinkley writes that Cronkite believed that “the U.S. government needed to regulate polluting corporations and force them to prioritize environment over profit.” But Cronkite chose to commemorate the arrival of the year 1984 and its Orwellian implications by starring in a special for CBS and drafting a column for the New York Times in which he wrote, “The total absence of privacy the idea that the government is (or may be) always watching, means, most of us would agree, the ultimate loss of freedom.”

Without the implied method of force, how did Cronkite imagine government would regulate corporations “to prioritize environment over profit”?

It’s during this passage of Cronkite that Brinkley concocts a smear of his own, by writing:

Reading George Orwell’s classic novel 1984, published in 1949, had been a revelation for Cronkite. He was stunned by Orwell’s raw insights into both Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia. To Cronkite, the dystopian 1984 was prescient in showing that America’s civil liberties were being gutted by a right-wing agenda.

Gee, wait ‘til Brinkley discovers what Orwell’s Ingsoc stood for, let alone where national socialist Germany and the international socialist Soviet Union were on the ideological spectrum.

And as Joseph Epstein wrote in his review of Brinkley’s book in the September 2012 issue of Commentary (subscription may be necessary to read), Cronkite himself wrote an introduction to a paperback edition of 1984, in which he seemed to think that modernism itself was Orwell’s chief concern:

I read a preface Cronkite wrote to a paperback edition of George Orwell’s 1984, and discovered he thought that the target of the novel was not the brutal devastation of life, private and public, under totalitarianism, but chiefly the danger posed by the technology of modernity. “1984 is an anguished lament and a warning that vibrates powerfully when we may not be strong enough nor wise enough nor moral enough to cope with the kind of power we have learned to amass,” Cronkite wrote. Throughout this preface, the Soviet Union and China, whose governments treated their respective populations as conquered nations, go unmentioned.

As Epstein notes, Cronkite’s preface to Orwell’s epoch-defining novel was written in 1983, “and by then Cronkite had entered that phase of liberalism that finds no country more dangerous than one’s own.”

Which has long been CNN’s view of the world looking out from the Thermopane windows atop their headquarters in Atlanta. But as I said before, if Trump really were half the strongman CNN is trying to depict him as, they’d be falling over themselves to worship him.

UPDATE: “Despite being on opposite sides, protesters on the right and left can end their fears the same way. If you’re afraid that the federal government will ruin your life, reduce the power of the federal government,” Jon Gabriel advises in his latest Arizona Republic column. Where shall we begin shrinking the leviathan, CNN?

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