Stalin Apologists Lingered on at the New York Times Long After Duranty

New York TimesEarlier, Nick Gillespie
took the “Stalin apologists” at the New York Times to
for what constituted a drive-by ideological shooting:
wondering why “liberal” Chinese dissident Xia Yeliang, who wants
more personal freedom and less government control for his country,
would take a job at the “ultraconservative” Cato Institute, which
favors more personal freedom and less government control for
everybody. He quoted
‘s  Andrew Kirell dismantling Times
scribbler Tamar Lewin’s bizarre characterization of Cato, and
borrowed the “Stalin apologist” line came from the title of a

book about Walter Duranty
, long the New York Times
representative in the Soviet Union, and a well-known shill for the
brutal communist regime. But you don’t have to go back that far to
find a soft spot at the Times for brutal regimes.

On April 12, 1990, while communism was collapsing throughout
much of the world and the reality of its crimes becoming undeniable
to even the worst red-flag-waving dumbshit cheerleaders, the gray
lady ran a weird piece about a financially struggling Los Angeles
retirement home full of aging communists. Under the bizarrely
off-key title, “Political
Idealists Trying to Hold Back the Night
,” came the tale of old
lefties watching the curtains drawn on their preferred political

Waldemar Hille joined the Communist Party 48 years ago believing
that the movement would create a more compassionate and humane

Today, as Communism falters in Europe, the 82-year-old Mr. Hille
is fighting to preserve ”an important people’s institution,” a
retirement home for political activists….

Mr. Hille, a pianist who worked with the singers Paul Robeson
and Pete Seeger (and was blacklisted along with them in the
McCarthy era), now considers himself a ”humanist” more than a
Communist. But he remains critical of the American system.

”Organized capitalism is an evil thing in itself,” he said in
an interview in a shady courtyard of the Spanish-style residence
home. ”It’s profits versus people.” He feels the changes in
Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union are good ”if they reflect the
will of the people.” He is sure his hero, Lenin, would have

German-American BundCan you imagine a similarly
misty-eyed treatment of a bunch of gray-haired German-American
? Can you imagine such a piece appearing at a
hypothetical moment when millions of people were escaping the
oppression of collapsing Nazi regimes?

Granted, none of the people quoted in the article explicitly
endorsed Stalin, but a taste for Lenin instead is like a
preference for Goering or Mussolini over Hitler. You really don’t
get points for that.

Yes, that article appeared in 1990, but that was at a
particularly inopportune moment to sympathetically profile aging
champions of fading totalitarianism, and decades after the
newspaper should have learned from Duranty’s crimes.

Which is why any ideological criticism from the New
York Times
needs to be taken with a huge grain of
salt—preferably a grain that hasn’t been extracted from a mine by
political prisoners.

from Hit & Run

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