View Crew Touts Cuba’s ‘100 Percent Literacy,’ Worries About U.S. Freedom

A verbal brawl erupted on Monday’s The View. After liberal co-hosts Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar defended Barack Obama’s bland statement on Fidel Castro's death, token conservative Jedediah Bila slammed it as “nauseating.” Goldberg even hinted that the United States in 2016 could go the way of Cuba in limited freedom of the press. 

Recounting her visit to the Communist country, Behar praised, “I went to Cuba last April, and it's interesting. I mean, they have 100 percent literacy rate there, so everybody gets a free education. Everybody has top of the line medical care, so everyone's healthy.” 

Bila condemned Obama’s statement, in which the President hailed Castro’s “enormous impact” on Cuba. She rebutted: 

JEDEDIAH BILA: I'm nauseated. You're talking about a mass murderer. You're talking about a guy who imprisoned people, who put gay people in jail.... When I see "countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individuals' lives," yeah, by killing them. 

The conversation also included the View women slamming Donald Trump’s reaction to the dictator’s death. Whoopi Goldberg then worried that loss of freedom may become a problem in America. She compared:  

WHOOPI GOLDBERG: I will say to people 60 years of dictatorship, no freedom of the press, no freedom of people, no freedom of speech. Keep an eye on that because that's what America will look like if we lose the ability to have these conversations. 

Goldberg then quoted a statement by former View host/creator Barbara Walters. It read: "I first interviewed Fidel Castro 39 years ago. He was a charming, fiercely guarded about his private life. He called our interviews fiery debates. During our times together he made clear to me he was an absolute dictator and that he was a staunch opponent of democracy. I told him that we were most profoundly disagreeing on was the meaning of freedom.” 

Of course, back in 2002, Walters completely swallowed Cuban propaganda: “For Castro, freedom starts with education. And if literacy alone were the yardstick, Cuba would rank as one of the freest nations on Earth.” 

In 2014, she said of the dictator who killed 7,000 to 10,000 people: “Maybe the most charismatic person I have met."

A partial transcript is below: 

 

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The View
11/28/16
11:02

JOY BEHAR: Do we have his statement by any chance? 

SARA HAINES: I do, yes. “At this time of Fidel Castro's passing, we extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people. We know that this moment fills Cubans in Cuba and the United States with powerful emotions, recounting the ways in which Fidel Castro altered the Cubans lives, family and of the Cuban nation. History will judge the enormous impact on this singular figure on the people and the world around him. Today, we offer condolences to Fidel Castro’s family. Our hopes and prayers are with the Cuban people.”  

BEHAR: So, what's wrong with that? 

JEDEDIAH BILA: I'm nauseated. 

BEHAR: Why? 

BILA: I’m nauseated. You're talking about a mass murderer. You’re talking about a guy who imprisoned people, who put gay people in jail. This is not a guy — When I see “countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individuals' lives,” yeah, by killing them. 

BEHAR: Well, he didn't say altered for the good. He just said it was altered.  

BILA: We stand for freedom. This is the United States of America. 

WHOOPI GOLDBERG: Yeah, well, okay. 

BILA: We stand for the freedom of press. We stand for the freedom of people to speak out against politics they don't like. 

GOLDBERG: Yeah. Uh-huh. 

BILA: No, but we do! We sit at this table every day and we are able to speak our minds and people in Cuba don't have that right and I want my president to speak for those people! 

BEHAR: That’s true. 

BILA: This was a guy who imprisoned people. 

GOLDBERG: Okay, so let me ask you this. Do you think he should have said after just getting the doors open, allowing for people to go, see family and do stuff. Do you think he should have said and you're a bone head, or was this the proper way to deal with this? 

BILA: I think you have to call out a monster. 

GOLDBERG: I listen to you and I'm saying diplomatically if you're trying to keep -- I'm sorry, baby. If you're trying to keep the lines of communication open and you're trying to keep a flow going, I think that's the way you do it. Now, we can go the other way, and I will say to people, 60 years of dictatorship, no freedom of the press, no freedom of people, no freedom of speech, keep an eye on that. Because that's what America will look like if we lose the ability to have these conversations. Now, a lot of people say, you know, there's no possibility of that. Okay. But I personally think, yeah, there's a lot of really bad stuff and as president I want you to say you know what, because a lot of people didn't grow up with the Castro regime as being bad. I'm just saying, you just have to know that. 

BEHAR:  I went to Cuba last April, and it's interesting. I mean, they have 100 percent literacy rate there, so everybody gets a free education. Everybody has top of the line medical care, so everyone's healthy. 

11:10

GOLDBERG: Barbara Walters has a statement because you know she went down —  

BEHAR: Oh Barbara. Barbara and Fidel. 

GOLDBERG: And she says, “I first interviewed Fidel Castro 39 years ago. He was a charming, fiercely guarded about his private life. He called our interviews fiery debates. During our times together he made clear to me he was an absolute dictator and that he was a staunch opponent of democracy. I told him that we were most profoundly disagreeing on was the meaning of freedom." 

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the associate editor for the Media Research Center's NewsBusters.org site.