Those who rail at Fox News for allegedly being a haven of unbridled, uninterrupted conservatism usually and conveniently fail to remember that Shepard Smith is there.
Smith's take yesterday on the potential pitfalls of a thaw in U.S.-Cuba relations, particularly on the commercial front, was nothing short of astonishing. His primary fear, expressed in an interview with Gerri Willis of the Fox Business Network, is that the new arrangements might "ruin the place." It would be "the last thing they need" to see "Taco Bell and Lowes" locations there. Smith also posed as a market analyst, wondering if the Dow was up 300 points because of President Obama's related announcement. Video (HT Mediaite and PJ Media's Ed Driscoll) and a transcript follow the jump:
Transcript (bolds are mine):
Shepard Smith: I think the last time I went [to Cuba], I brought back Cuban rum, Havana Club, Havana Gold, for like four dollars.
Gerri Willis: Did you now?
Smith: I think that's what, I think that's what it cost then. Maybe it was five dollars. But it wasn't much more than that.
(At this point, there appears to be a skip in the video.)
Think of, the, think about how all of that will shift if this actually happens.
Willis: Well even today, Pepsico put out a statement saying how eager they are to get over there. So think about the onrush from American businesses if they open those doors wide, and I'm sure there's going to be a ton of pressure now —
Smith: I'm sure there will.
Willis: — to make that happen.
Smith: You know the fear among anybody who’s ever been there or who cares at all about the Cuban people, as so many of us do, the last thing they need is a Taco Bell and a Lowe’s. I mean, we don't need a —
Willis: (Laughs) Toilet paper, toothbrushes, right? Toothpaste.
Smith: That's it. But y'know, it's all one big idea and it all sort of comes together and, you wonder, are we about to get up in there and ruin that place?
Willis: Well, I think they've been held back for a long time.
Smith: They have.
Willis: Right. They want more, y'know, they need more stuff and basic stuff, certainly. It will be interesting to see how quickly that gets developed, too.
My big question, that becomes tourist destination Number One. It's a stone's throw from Florida.
Smith: Is the Dow loving this? The Dow is up 300 points today —
(end of video segment)
You'd expect Smith's offensive concerns that capitalism might "ruin the place" to barely make the cut for airing at MSNBC, not Fox — at least based on the stereotypes about the network promulgated by the left. But Fox tends to be fair and balanced — even if the balance is, as in Smith's case, quite unbalanced.
If Shepard Smith is looking for "ruin," all he needs to do is look at Cuba's slums — y'know, the crumbling sections of Havana and other cities which look more like war zones than places where people live their everyday lives. Tourists are almost never allowed to see them. Over 4-1/2 decades of tyrannical government by Fidel Castro followed during the past six years by his brother Raul are what have "ruined the place."
Spare us your claim that you are among "anybody ... who cares at all about the Cuban people," Shep. If you really did, you wouldn't be so spectacularly ignorant and fearful that genuine progress might "ruin the place." It's already largely in ruins — and, despite President Obama's attempt at a unilateral thaw, it will likely remain that way until a representative from of government with a regime of true economic freedom arrives.
Mediaite made an unsolicited attempt to defend Smith:
We do feel it’s important to point out that in the segment before these remarks were made, Smith talked Cuba with Judge Andrew Napolitano and the pair had a lot of thoughtful things to say about how relaxed trade restrictions with the island nation would work. At the end of the segment, Smith suggested that, without question, more freedom is better, but that the speed at which you free people stuck in the 1950s could have ramifications.
I don't find Mediaite's attempted defense in any way redemptive. I don't recall the Poles, East Germans, or the ordinary citizens of other East European countries were worried about the speed at which freedom arrived in the early 1990s.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.