The MacLamity

The News That Stays News, Reported Live

Sunday, April 23, 2006


Herbert L. Matthews should replace Walter Duranty as The New York Times reporter that conservatives cite first when asked to support their theory that The NY Times is the source for all evil and wouldn't say No if babies were served to it for dinner. Duranty's big mistake was to give famine and slaughter a positive review, which is essentially a (massive) failure of taste. Matthews apparently played in the league above Duranty's, the one occupied by U.S. cultural attaches in Latin American embassies who don't read books or remove their sunglasses:

Matthews's first big story for The Times was the 1935 Italian invasion of Abyssinia, where he openly sympathized with Mussolini's Fascists. In Spain the next year, he switched sides and drew close to the Loyalist cause.
After The Times and other newspapers reported that the young Cuban rebel leader Fidel Castro was dead, Matthews — always a resourceful, enterprising correspondent — decided to go see for himself. Posing as tourists, he and his wife made their way through the dictator Fulgencio Batista's military lines before Matthews alone completed the difficult journey into the Sierra Maestra on foot.

The front-page scoop that followed and two additional articles predicted "a new deal for Cuba" if Castro's insurgency won and reported that the romantic revolutionary was no Communist; in fact, the local Communists opposed him.

The NY Times reprints the article, which is delicious. It is as well-written and vacuous as the cover-stories of Vanity Fair:

Havana does not and cannot know that thousands of men and women are heart and soul with Fidel Castro and the new deal for which they think he stands. It does not know that hundreds of highly respected citizens are helping Senor Castro, that bombs and sabotage are constant, that a fierce Government counterterrism has aroused the populace even more against President Batista.
Fidal Castro and his 26th of July movement are the flaming opposition to the regime.

The one part of the article that hasn't been ridiculed by subsequent events is the paragraph beginning "Castro is a great talker..."