In discussing the late Margaret Thatcher's legacy, CNN's Ashleigh Banfield gave a platform to liberal Hollywood actress Meryl Streep and former Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, who had ties to the IRA during Thatcher's time as British prime minister.
Adams predictably savaged Thatcher for causing "great hurt" to Ireland and England. Meanwhile, because Streep portrayed Thatcher in the film "The Iron Lady," CNN sought her out as an expert on Thatcher's legacy, and Streep rapped her economic policies: "Her hard-nosed fiscal measures took a toll on the poor, and her hands-off approach to financial regulation led to great wealth for others." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
It took CNN's international business correspondent Richard Quest to give context to Streep's criticism: "My understanding is she was not a supporter of Thatcher during the Thatcherism years."
"I remember hearing Meryl Streep when the Thatcher film came out. She made it quite clear that she would have been one of those people that would have been protesting, or was one of those people protesting against many of the policies of Margaret Thatcher," Quest stated.
And as Reuters reported, Thatcher's other critic Gerry Adams "acted as the public face of the IRA for much of its three-decade guerilla war against British rule in Northern Ireland."
Below is a transcript of the segment, which aired on April 8 on CNN Newsroom at 11:09 a.m. EDT:
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD: Richard, I want to just read something that came out shortly after the news broke of her death from the stroke today, and that was from the former Sinn Fein leader, Gerry Adams. It's not the kind of accolade that you've been seeing elsewhere around the world. Instead Gerry Adams said this, and I'm going to quote him.
"Margaret Thatcher did great hurt to the Irish and British people during her time as British prime minister. Working class communities were devastated in Britain because of her policies. "Here in Ireland her espousal of old draconian militaristic policies prolonged the war and caused great suffering."
I think that speaks volumes to what you just said, the divisiveness outside and inside her cabinet. I want you to just speak further to that and how much more of that we may hear.
RICHARD QUEST: Oh, I think you're going to hear an enormous amount of it in the days ahead, not just from Northern Ireland. You're going to hear it from northern Britain where coal mines were shut wholesale. You are going to hear it from this former steel industry, the former manufacturing industry.
This is a woman – look, there were companies, if they had the word British in them, they were nationalized and she privatized them. British Airways, British Gas, British Telecom, British Steel, British Petroleum. They all went into the private sector. In doing so, this revolution in the industry that took place threw millions out of work.
Now, you can arguably say, and many do, that it transformed Britain into the machine that it became, and became so productive. The other side is all those people in those communities. And it's a very similar argument that you hear in the United States as regards Ronald Reagan. I think the difference is, in death, the critics will still be as vocal about Margaret Thatcher than perhaps they were, say, for example, after President Reagan died.
BANFIELD: I just want to read for a second, if you would indulge me, Richard. Meryl Streep, who so famously portrayed the Iron Lady in the movie, "The Iron Lady" last year, has put out a statement. I think obviously she's probably been deluged with requests for her reaction to this. She poured so many months of her life into researching Margaret Thatcher, not only her history, but her mannerisms, her family, all the rest.
Here she says, "Margaret Thatcher" – and Meryl Streep, quoting here – "Margaret Thatcher was a pioneer, willingly or unwillingly, for the role of women in politics. It is hard to imagine a part of our current history that has not been affected by measures she put forward in the UK at the end of the 20th century. Her hard-nosed fiscal measures took a toll on the poor, and her hands-off approach to financial regulation led to great wealth for others. There's an argument that her steadfast, almost emotional, loyalty to the pound sterling has helped the U.K. weather the storms of the European monetary uncertainty."
This is fascinating. This is an actress. Here she is portraying Margaret Thatcher. But she was so involved. I recall hearing an interview about how much she wanted to bring to the role on the screen of the life of the Iron Lady. And I could continue reading, but it would take me several minutes, Richard Quest.
QUEST: The point is, I remember hearing Meryl Streep when the Thatcher film came out. She made it quite clear that she would have been one of those people that would have been protesting, or was one of those people protesting against many of the policies of Margaret Thatcher. My understanding is she was not a supporter of Thatcher during the Thatcherism years.