White House Communications Director Anita Dunn accuses Fox News of serving as either "the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party."
Yet back in the bad old Republican days, I was unaware of any Republican officials getting their briefings on vital foreign policy matters from Fox News personnel. On the other hand, we have sworn Congressional testimony that Democratic State Dept. officials (Roy Rubottom, William Wieland) used a crony New York Times reporter (Herbert Matthews) as their briefer/orientation "expert" for U.S. diplomats heading to Cuba in the late 50's.
"Fidel Castro has strong ideas of liberty, democracy, social justice," wrote Matthews on the front pages of the New York Times in Feb. 1957, "and the need to restore Cuba's Constitution....this amounts to a new deal for Cuba, radical, democratic and therefore anti-Communist."
"Fidel Castro is not only NOT a Communist," the New York Times star Latin American analyst wrote again two years later, " he's decidedly ANTI--communist."
In wistful moods, I often wonder what Cuba (a nation with a higher per-capita income than Austria and Japan in 1958) might look like today if talk radio, Fox News and the web had been around to mount a counterattack against Castro's media propagandists and engage in some Van Jones-ing against their State Department auxiliaries.
Please note, Cuba fell to Castro under a Republican, (Eisenhower) administration, but the State Department officials in charge were classic Democratic pinks. Regarding foreign policy, Ike was preoccupied with Europe (Berlin especially) at the time. Cuba seemed a trifling matter he could delegate to State Department career people. Thus the Caribbean catastrophe.
In the late 50's, two Republican ambassadors to Cuba, Arthur Gardner and Earl T. Smith, lost their jobs for butting heads against their Liberal/ Democratic State Department chiefs. On August 27, 1960 during Senate subcommittee hearings, they testified to the nature of the head-butting:
Senator DODD. You have been quoted, Mr. Gardner, as referring to, "Castro worship" in the State Department in 1957. ... you are quoted as saying you fought all the time with the State Department over whether Castro merited the support or friendship of the United States. Would you explain....
Mr. Gardner: "I saw a manifesto that Castro had printed in Mexico, which stated his principles. He was going to take over the American industries, he was going to nationalize everything....
Senator DODD. "Mr. Gardner, do you have any idea why the United States allowed Castro to get arms from the United States, and would not allow Batista to have arms to preserve his government...you have been quoted as saying that Washington, "pulled the rug out" from under Batista?"
Mr Gardner: "I feel it very strongly, that the State Department was influenced, first, by those stories by (the New York Times') Herbert Matthews, and soon (support for Castro) became kind of a fetish with them."
Senator Dodd: Your successor as Ambassador to Cuba was briefed by (the New York Times') Herbert Matthews?
Mr. GARDNER. "Yes, that is right."
Senator Eastland: "Mr Smith, you had been warning the State Department that Castro was a Marxist?'
Mr. Smith: "Yes, sir....I also warned (Cuban) President Batista that there were (Castro) spies in the Cuban Embassy in Washington."
Senator Eastland: "Would you say that the American Government then, including all of its agencies, was largely responsible for bringing Castro to power?"
Mr Smith: "The State Department played a large part in bringing Castro to power. The press, other Government agencies (CIA), members of Congress are also responsible...There was no question that there was Communist control of (Castro's) movement....yet we refused to sell arms to a friendly government (Batista) and we persuaded other friendly governments not to sell arms to Cuba."
In wistful moments I imagine Rush, Beck, Fox News and others on the U.S. media scene in the late 1950's:
"Mega Dittos, Rush. We listen down here in Havana, pick it up from Miami. Love your show."
"Thank you, Ambassador Smith. That's quite an honor, sir. Now regarding this amazing report we saw on The American Thinker this morning, you claim Castro's people, the so-called rebels, tried to assassinate you, the U.S. ambassador to Cuba? And this is the bunch our State Department backs?!"
"We have very credible evidence, Rush. We got a very detailed report from police sources down here that Castro's people were plotting to assassinate me in order to create an international incident. I've been talking to dozens of very knowledgeable Cubans and they've convinced me beyond doubt this Castro fella is gonna be big trouble if he takes over. He's a gangster and a terrorist and from way back, from his college days. He has several murders to his record from his college days as a gangster. And Soviet ties going back to the late 40's. You wouldn't believe....."
"Good heavens, Ambassador Smith!-- Folks, are you hearing this?..Heard that, Mr Snerdley?!... Then what's all this in the New York Times and on CBS about the Cuban "Robin Hood," the Cuban "liberator" etc, I mean remembering Walter Duranty we were already a little suspicious, but THIS....!.
"It's a snow job, Rush, all smoke and mirrors. This Herbert Matthews guy from the New York Times has a long record of reporting favorably on Communists, he did it during the Spanish Civil War, playing up the Communists as "Democrats." Agrarian reformers, the whole bit. And this Robert Taber fellow from CBS is even worse. I've talked to dozens of Cubans who knew Fidel Castro from childhood. They're all worried. They can't for the life of them understand why so many in our government seem smitten by him."
"Pretty alarming, Ambassador Smith. And we just saw on Sean Hannity last night that the U.S. is putting an arms embargo on the Cuban Government, in order to weaken their fight against these Castro rebels! Mr Ambassador, I'm no diplomat, but how much sense does THAT make? I mean, who's behind this crazy stuff? Hope you'll excuse me Ambassador Smith, but I just can't for the life of me understand why we seem to be opening the way for these communists and strewing flowers in their path. Makes no sense....."
"Welcome to Glenn Beck, friends. Tonight we have Mr. Arthur Gardner, former ambassador to Cuba before he was replaced by the current ambassador Earl Smith. Interestingly, Mr. Gardner's warnings about Fidel Castro and his rebel cohorts are identical to those of Ambassador Smith's that we heard on Rush's Show this morning. He has an amazing report, that we just read in The American Thinker, alleging that the State Department's chief of Caribbean affairs--the people in our government, who we pay with our hard-earned tax dollars to study the Cuban situation today...well, it turns out this career desk chief at Foggy Bottom was--stand back for this one, folks--he was a Cuban Communist party member in the 1930's. Now he's the U.S. official overseeing our Cuba policy!"
"That's exactly right, Glenn. Crazy as it sounds. I hear from sources that he's the one who pressed for the arms embargo against Batista. His name is William Wieland and he's very close to Herbert Matthews of the New York Times. In the '30s this Wieland fellow had dual citizenship and went under the name of Guillermo Arturo Montenegro when active in the Cuban Communist party. For certain, Fidel's brother Raul and his sidekick Che Guevara are long-time Communists. Everyone --except our state Department and CIA-- seems to know that!"
Glenn Beck: "Ambassador Gardner, hope you'll excuse me, sir, this sounds like déjà vu all over again. Just a decade ago weren't we hearing that Mao and his bunch over in China were simply well-meaning agrarian reformers, wanting to improve the lot of these impoverished peasants...and all that stuff? Good Grief--and here we have it again! Almost word for word! But this is going on 90 miles away!...Please stay with us, folks. We'll be right back after this word from Walmart. You wont want to miss what's coming up next...."
(All historical items mentioned in the above "interviews" are fully documented in my books. The italicized segments are fantasy, though based on historical facts.)
Humberto Fontova is the author of four books including Exposing the Real Che Guevara. Visit hfontova.com.