Below are the headlines of four obituaries that have run in The New York Times. The first is that of the recent obituary of the Anti-Communist Augusto Pinochet. The next three are those of the obituaries of the Communist mass murderers Mao, Stalin, and Lenin. Please be sure to note how many are described as having ruled by terror.
December 11, 2006, Augusto Pinochet, Dictator Who Ruled by Terror in Chile, Dies at 91
September 10, 1976, Friday, . . . Mao Tse-tung Dies in Peking at 82; Leader of Red China’s Revolution
January 24, 1924, Thursday, ENORMOUS CROWDS VIEW LENIN’S BODY AS IT LIES IN STATE; Wait Hours in Snow and Zero Temperature Outside Moscow Nobles’ Club. COFFIN CARRIED FIVE MILES Members of Council of Commissars Stagger Under Load, Refusing Gun Caisson. LENIN CALLED A CHRISTIAN Archbishop Summons Synod to Declare Founder of Bolshevism Member of Church. ENORMOUS CROWDS VIEW LENIN’S BODY
In these headlines we find utter condemnation of a dictator who was relatively mild as dictators go, but who was Anti-Communist; his leading characteristic was allegedly rule by “Terror.â€
In contrast, in the case of Communist mass murderers we find non-judgmental tolerance in the headlines, along with a studious refusal to mention the incalculably greater terrors they caused. More than that, we find positive esteem and enthusiasm in the headlines for the Communist mass murderers. Thus Mao was the “Leader of Red China’s Revolutionâ€; Stalin allegedly transformed “Russia Into Mighty Socialist Stateâ€; and Lenin’s funeral was described as a phenomenon of near worshipful enthusiasm: “â€¦COFFIN CARRIED FIVE MILES Members of Council of Commissars Stagger Under Load, Refusing Gun Caissonâ€¦â€
It is patterns such as this that lead some people to think that the reporting of The New York Times is colored by its politics and that the color of its politics is red.
This article is copyright © 2006, by George Reisman. Permission is hereby granted to reproduce and distribute it electronically and in print, other than as part of a book and provided that mention of the author’s web site www.capitalism.net is included. (Email notification is requested.) All other rights reserved. George Reisman is the author of Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics (Ottawa, Illinois: Jameson Books, 1996) and is Pepperdine University Professor Emeritus of Economics.