A BuzzFeed journalist on Tuesday tweeted a sick and callous take on the effort to remember the 100 million murdered by communist regimes. Commenting on an effort by the White House to honor those slaughtered, BuzzFeed reporter Blake Montgomery offered this idiotic response:
Huh? Many of those slaughtered by communism were ethnic minorities of all stripes. Apparently that didn’t occur to Mr. Montgomery.
The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation responded with this devastating reply, mocking the superficiality of BuzzFeed:
Montgomery’s original tweet garnered so much mockery and rightful anger that the journalist deleted it. He then tweeted an explanation/justification for his “dumb mistake.”
Journalists have a long history of not just downplaying the threat of communism, but romanticizing, justifying it and explaining away its horrors. Here are some examples:
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“The Soviet Union, draped in history, born in a bloody revolution, bound together by a dream that is still being dreamt. The dream of a socialist nation marching toward the world’s first communist state....Once the Kremlin was the home of czars. Today it belongs to the people....Atheist though the state may be, freedom to worship as you believe is enshrined in the Soviet Constitution....Modernization on a grand scale. A great success.”
— From the first night of Ted Turner’s seven-hour TBS cable series Portrait of the Soviet Union, March 20, 1988.
“Castro has delivered the most to those who had the least....Education was once available to the rich and the well-connected. It is now free to all....Medical care was once for the privileged few. Today it is available to every Cuban and it is free....Health and education are the revolution’s great success stories.”
— Peter Jennings reporting from Havana on ABC’s World News Tonight, April 3, 1989.
“Communism got to be a terrible word here in the United States, but our attitude toward it may have been unfair. Communism got in with a bad crowd when it was young and never had a fair chance....The communist ideas of creating a society in which everyone does his best for the good of everyone is appealing and fundamentally a more uplifting idea than capitalism. Communism’s only real weakness seems to be that it doesn’t work.”
— 60 Minutes commentator Andy Rooney in the New York Times, June 26, 1989.
“Ten years later, many are saying the unbridled capitalism that followed communism has unleashed misery on citizens who had all their social needs taken care of, especially in the former Soviet Union. [to Gorbachev] Mr. President, you are regarded by many people in this world as a hero for causing the end of tyranny and the collapse of communism. But you are also criticized heavily by those who say you opened a Pandora’s Box. And they say, ‘Look at the strife now, look at the economic chaos, look at the Mafia structure, look at the corruption.’ They say that you opened and started a plan that you did not know how to finish.”
— CNN’s Christiane Amanpour interviewing ex-Soviet dictator Mikhail Gorbachev, November 8, 1999.
For more examples, see the Media Research Center’s study “25 Years After the Berlin Wall, How the News Media Covered Communism.”