As NRO remembers the fall of the Berlin Wall and who’s forgetting it, Rich Noyes and Scott Whitlock of the Media Research Center dove into the musty archives of television news reporting over the last 20 years, remembering how obtuse our liberal media were to the mortal threat and crushing oppression of global communism.
The special report is titled Better Off Red? and the examples are a little stunning. Before the Berlin Wall fell in 1987, Dan Rather couldn’t find a desire for liberty anywhere in the USSR: “Despite what many Americans think, most Soviets do not yearn for capitalism or Western-style democracy.”
When the wall fell, liberal journalists dismissed the Cold War threat as historically insignificant. “Gorbachev is helping the West by showing that the Soviet threat isn’t what it used to be, and what’s more, that it never was,” Time’s Strobe Talbott (later to become a top State Department bureaucrat under Bill Clinton) in a January 1, 1990 piece.
Some even sneered that history was slipping backwards as the desire for democracy peacefully crumbled the Soviet empire: “Yes, somehow, Soviet citizens are freer these days — freer to kill one another, freer to hate Jews,” CBS morning anchor Harry Smith deplored in 1990: “Doing away with totalitarianism and adding a dash of democracy seems an unlikely cure for all that ails the Soviet system.”
This report is a compendium of liberal foolishness, bad judgment, and emotional outbursts — and it’s a nice lesson for conservatives who weren’t old enough to marvel at the power of Ronald Reagan’s idealism as it washed across a continent.