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Monday, October 3, 2022
MRC Complains That Gorbachev Got Credit For Ending Cold War
Topic: Media Research Center

When Mikhail Gorbachev died in late August, the Reagan worshipppers at the Media Research Center went on a whine-fest that he was being given credit for his role in ending the Cold War. Rich Noyes set the narrative in an Aug. 30 post by rehashing 30-year-old grievances:

The late talk radio star Rush Limbaugh coined the phrase “Gorbasm” for the ecstasy that many reporters felt when covering Soviet dictator Mikhail Gorbachev, who died at age 91 on Tuesday. It’s true that Gorbachev was obviously less brutal than previous communist rulers. But his Soviet Union was hardly an enlightened, peace-loving democracy. While Gorbachev relaxed the repression of previous years, he did not shut down the Gulag, allow a free press, or permit the free expression of religion. 

When the Baltic republics pushed for sovereignty in early 1991, Moscow’s Brezhnev-esque response was to use tanks to suppress pro-democracy forces in Lithuania and Latvia, killing eighteen.

Yet journalists elevated Gorbachev far above the freedom fighters, dissidents and democratic, anti-communist leaders like Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher; indeed, the media assigned the Soviet party boss nearly all of the credit for ending the Cold War. Time magazine thought it insufficient to name him merely the “Man of the Year,” so in 1990 Gorbachev became their “Man of the Decade.”

Few, if any, democratic politicians have ever received the plaudits that were flung by journalists towards the last dictator of the Soviet Union.

Nicholas Fondacaro took the narrative further later that day:

With the breaking news that former Soviet dictator Mikhail Gorbachev was finally being a good communist on Tuesday, the broadcast networks collectively mourned for the man who violently cracked down on peaceful demonstrations in Lithuania and Latvia. Both CBS Evening Newsand NBC Nightly News took part in dangerous revisionist history as they “credited” Gorbachev with “lifting the Iron Curtain.”

NBC was by far the most obscene in their mourning for yet another communist dictator. Anchor Lester Holt led into the segment claiming Gorbachev had single-handedly “oversaw the end of the Cold War.”

And, of course, no praise for a communist dictator would be complete without chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell, who has a very long and public history of getting smitten with communist dictators. “Mikhail Gorbachev, the communist leader whose brief six-year reign transformed the map of Europe and the world,” she said.

Contrasting leaders from the time, Mitchell lauded Gorbachev for his “a larger vision for his country” and willingness to meet with President Ronald Reagan, who she framed as unreasonable for calling the Soviet Union “an evil empire.”

“Mikhail Gorbachev, the man who changed the world but could not save his own country from falling apart,” she went on to lament.

Fondacaro didn't explain how he decided that Mitchell was "lamenting" this. Can he read her mind? Or is he just imposing his right-wing bias on her?

Scott Whitlock similarly whined in an Aug. 31 post:

In order to build up the “acclaimed” Mikhail Gorbachev’s “monumental” role in ending the Cold War, the networks on Wednesday dismissed Ronald Reagan. On CBS Mornings, foreign correspondent Elizabeth Palmer huffed, “In the end, the East Germans tore down the wall for themselves, but Gorbachev didn't stop them.” 

Good Morning America co-host George Stephanopoulos cheered, “Now to the death of one of the most monumental figures of our time, Mikhail Gorbachev. Tributes poured in for the last leader of the Soviet Union who presided over the end of the Cold War and steered his country towards democracy.”

Stephanopoulos described Gorbachev as “acclaimed by the world, but disliked and soon ousted at home, forced to resign in 1991.” 

Over on CBS Mornings, Palmer heaped on the praise: “Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev set out to reform the Soviet Union, and he ended up changing the world.” She then dismissed the role Reagan, pretending as if the end of the Cold War simply happened on its own:

Fondacaro complained further, bizarrely and hatefully claiming that Gorbachev "was finally acting like a good communist" by dying:

In the immediate wake of the world learning that former Soviet dictator Mikhail Gorbachev was finally acting like a good communist, CNN’s immediate reaction was to air glowing eulogies for a man who led one of the most evil empires in human history. In back-to-back hours on Tuesday, CNN showed “intense sadness” and took part in revisionist history claiming Gorbachev was the one responsible for the fall of the Berlin Wall and ending the Cold War.


Fill-in anchor Pamela Brown then looked to senior international correspondent Frederik Pleitgen to find out “just how monumental is Gorbachev's legacy?”

[A]bsolutely gigantic,” Pleitgen proclaimed. “And it's certainly something that really transcends not just obviously, Russia, the former Soviet Union, but then all of Europe and basically the entire world.” He too took part in revisionist history, dismissing President Ronald Reagan and asserting “Mikhail Gorbachev obviously, is credited with being pivotal in bringing down the Iron Curtain and bringing together unity in Europe.”

Tim Graham spent his Aug. 31 podcast whining about this:

When they announced the death of the last dictator of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, the liberal media elite broke out the valentines, giving Gorbachev all the credit for tearing down the Iron Curtain of communism. Ronald Reagan dared Gorbachev to tear down the wall, and Gorbachev is painted as a “towering international hero” for just letting it happen. Media liberals can't give Reagan any credit.

CBS anchor Norah O'Donnell said Gorbachev "took down the Iron Curtain." CNN reporter Phil Black called it an "iconic achievement" for Gorbachev. If all the Soviet leader faced were Carters and Mondales, would this story have ended differently? Because the liberals and their media allies thought of the Soviet Union as a permanent entity, more permanent than the United States. Reagan aspired to ending an evil empire, and it happened.

NBC's Andrea Mitchell reminded viewers that Gorbachev won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990...and Reagan never did. "Americans were charmed" by Gorbachev, Mitchell claimed, and apparently Reagan never charmed Americans. Because the liberal media thinks of Americans as having all the same opinions that they do. Obama and Jimmy Carter and Al Gore all won the Nobel, but "warmongers" on the right wing aren't going to win.

Clay Waters served up his own New York Times-related whine in a Sept. 1 post:

The New York Times continued to overpraise the Soviet Union’s last ruler, Mikhail Gorbachev, upon his death in Moscow at 91, with an 8,000-word front-page tribute from obituary writer Marilyn Berger. The print edition front-page banner headline read “Visionary Soviet Leader Who Lifted the Iron Curtain” over a photo of Russia’s last dictator.


As usual in these Cold War retellings, the vision and foresight and accomplishments of actual opponents of Communism, U.S. president Ronald Reagan and U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, were given short shrift[.]

Days later, Jeffrey Lord kept the complaints going in a Sept. 10 column, grumbling that the Times obituary on Gorbachev "very little focus on the fact that Gorbachev was the Soviet leader in the first place because he had spent an adult lifetime nodding along to the massive, global violence of Soviet Communism. "

Posted by Terry K. at 9:17 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, October 3, 2022 11:34 PM EDT

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