New York Times reporter Mark Oppenheimer on Tuesday documented some of the strange conservative allies of African dictator Laurent Gbagbo of Ivory Coast, who is a Christian: “A Strongman Found Support in Prominent Conservative Christians in the U.S.”
But some of the labeling was overheated: “A secretive evangelical Christian organization that some say has a right-wing agenda.” When the Times says “some say,” it almost always means “liberals say,” and indeed, Oppenheimer’s source, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) tends to target conservatives with their complaints.
The Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo, who was finally captured on Monday, defied nearly everybody: the United States, the European Union and the African Union. But right to the end, Mr. Gbagbo had defenders in the West, and they notably included several prominent conservative Christians.
It is impossible to know for sure if the group sided with Mr. Gbagbo because he is a Christian; his rival, Alassane Ouattara, recognized internationally as the winner of last year’s presidential election, is a Muslim. But to judge by the recent comments of Senator James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma, the Rev. Pat Robertson, the Christian broadcaster, and Glenn Beck, the Fox News television personality, religion did play a role in their support.
After noting that Sen. Inhofe met Gbagbo through the National Prayer Breakfast, Oppenheimer wrote:
The National Prayer Breakfast has been held every year since 1953. It is operated by a group known as the Fellowship, a secretive evangelical Christian organization that some say has a right-wing agenda. In 2010, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a government watchdog group, asked that President Obama and Congressional leaders skip the event. They did not.
This is the third time the paper has described the organizers of the event as “secretive.”
On the subject of congressmen showing dubious support of dictators, the Times in 1985 during the Cold War didn’t find much controversial about the outspoken support by prominent liberal Democratic senators John Kerry and Tom Harkin for leftist Nicaraguan dictator Daniel Ortega.
More recently, the Times completely ignored the August 2009 revelations that Ted Kennedy offered aid and comfort to the leader of the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War. Working from a 1983 memo from the Soviet archives from the top man in the KGB to Soviet leader Yuri Andropov, Forbes’ Peter Robinson explained:
...[Kennedy] proposed an unabashed quid pro quo. Kennedy would lend Andropov a hand in dealing with President Reagan. In return, the Soviet leader would lend the Democratic Party a hand in challenging Reagan in the 1984 presidential election. "The only real potential threats to Reagan are problems of war and peace and Soviet-American relations," the memorandum stated. "These issues, according to the senator, will without a doubt become the most important of the election campaign."....Kennedy proved eager to deal with Andropov - the leader of the Soviet Union, a former director of the KGB and a principal mover in both the crushing of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and the suppression of the 1968 Prague Spring - at least in part to advance his own political prospects.