The Corner

Reagan and Central America

The radical lefties at Fairness and Accuracy in Revolution, I mean Reporting, have a strange idea of what should have been front and center in Reagan coverage this week:

“Reagan’s fervent support for right-wing governments in Central America was one of the defining foreign policies of his administration, and the fact that death squads associated with those governments murdered tens of thousands of civilians surely must be included in any reckoning of Reagan’s successes and failures. But a search of major U.S. newspapers in the Nexis news database turns up the phrase “death squad” only five times in connection with Reagan in the days following his death–twice in commentaries and twice in letters to the editor. Only one news article found in the search (L.A. Times, 6/6/04) considered the death squads an important enough part of Reagan’s legacy to be worth mentioning. The three broadcast networks, CNN and Fox didn’t mention death squads at all, according to Nexis.”

I do not doubt that is true. I also do not doubt that “right-wing death squad” was always a loaded, propagandistic term used by the left. So the complaint is essentially that the old Ortega-smooching style of Central America reporting is as outdated as the idea of dotting the region with “people’s republics.”

Back in 1989, after a major offensive by the Marxist FMLN, I discovered this about El Salvador coverage: “Despite assassinations attributed to both sides, a Nexis search of major newspapers and magazines over the last decade found that no reporter has ever used the term ‘left-wing death squad.’”

FAIR forgot to mention that El Salvador keeps voting for the so-called “right wing death squad” party and prospering, holding FAIR’s old Castro-aided pals in the FMLN at bay. FAIR spent the late 1980s and early 1990s era sneering at the idea that Central American governments were “fledgling democracies.” Turns out they were.

Tim GrahamTim Graham is Director of Media Analysis at the Media Research Center, where he began in 1989, and has served there with the exception of 2001 and 2002, when served ...


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