Castro, The New York Times, and Fake News

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Accuracy in Media

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The New York Times is claiming the ability to expose “fake news.” It should know something about the topic. So-called “fake news” from The New York Times helped bring Fidel Castro to power. Castro had urged the Soviet Union to launch the nuclear missiles it had installed in Cuba on the United States, with the potential to obliterate tens of millions of Americans.

In its obituary, “Fidel Castro, Cuban Revolutionary Who Defied U.S., Dies at 90,” the Times mentions that Castro had pushed the world “to the brink of nuclear war,” through the Cuban missile crisis, but did not highlight the fact that he had advocated a Soviet nuclear strike on the U.S.

Here’s a reference to this from The New York Times in 1990: “Fidel Castro urged the Soviet Union to attack the United States in 1962 because he feared an American invasion of Cuba during the Cuban missile crisis, Nikita S. Khrushchev said in portions of his memoirs published today.”

The memoirs of Soviet dictator Nikita Khrushchev quoted the Cuban leader as saying in 1962 that the Kremlin “should launch a pre-emptive strike against the U.S.” to prevent destruction of the Soviet missiles in Cuba.

The Times obituary about Castro also neglected to mention that Castro sponsored terrorism in America through such groups as the Weather Underground and FALN. The paper did, however, find time to note that Castro put scarce resources into an effort to develop a Cuban supercow.

The Times referred to “suspicions that Mr. Castro and the Cubans were somehow involved” in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Perhaps the “somehow” had something to do with the fact that the assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was a Marxist member of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee who had defected to the Soviet Union.

Oswald’s communist connection was more obvious than the Islamic motivation of the Somali Muslim at Ohio State University who was inspired by ISIS to drive a car into a group of students and take out a knife to injure them.

In the obituary, the Times did note the pro-Castro coverage by its correspondent in Cuba at the time of Castro’s seizure of power, saying that Herbert Matthews had “presented a Castro that Americans could root for,” and “repeated Mr. Castro’s assertions that Cuba’s future was anything but a Communist state.”

“He has strong ideas of liberty, democracy, social justice, the need to restore the Constitution, to hold elections,” Matthews wrote. When asked about the United States, Castro replied, “You can be sure we have no animosity toward the United States and the American people.”

A review of Matthews’ work by Ron Radosh ran under the title, “A Dictator’s Scribe,” while Cuban-American Humberto Fontova authored a piece about Castro, Matthews and the role of the Times as the “Unrepentant Communist Enabler.”

Professor Paul Kengor notes that “conservatives would later joke, quite uneasily, that Castro had gotten his job through the New York Times.”

“Unfortunately,” he goes on to say, “this kind of service by the New York Times has not ended. A new generation of Times reporters is picking up the torch, educated at universities that teach that the only bad thing about communism was Joe McCarthy.”

In this context, one key fact about Castro, relevant to today’s problems in the U.S. news media and academia, is that he studied to become a communist in college. The late leftist filmmaker, Saul Landau, a member of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, confirmed that Castro told him that he had become a Marxist from the time that he read the Communist Manifesto in his student days.

Castro was also quoted as saying, in a book published in 2006, “In the university, where I arrived simply with a rebel spirit and elementary ideas of justice, I became a Marxist-Leninist and acquired the sentiments that over the years I have had the privilege never to have felt the slightest temptation to abandon.”

Yet, Herbert Matthews called Castro an anti-communist.

It would be nice if The New York Times would simply apologize for using fake news to help bring Castro to power.


Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at cliff.kincaid@aim.org. View the complete archives from Cliff Kincaid.

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