Christopher Hitchens on U.S. Foreign Policy Under Ronald Reagan and the Media (1983)



Christopher Hitchens Weston correspondent for the Nation magazine in this morning's New York Times the following quote from Mike Barnes congressman from Maryland a liberal I came down here very skeptical but I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that the invasion was justified u.s. citizens were in danger or had a reasonable basis to believe they were in danger because a small group of hoodlums had taken over this country that quote about it mr. Barnes's trip to Grenada your comment my comment is that that's probably what most Americans think and I think it's a mistaken view you have to separate two things one is the safety of Americans and the second thing is the right to invade another country now even if it could be proved that the American students on the island were in danger and that's very much disputed by everybody and by the students themselves that might for instance justify an interview rate of the kind the australias conducted in Uganda or desert one of a kind that the United States tried to conduct in Iran but in neither of those cases was the objective of the mission the overthrow of the government in power in Uganda or Iran you might be justified in going in and getting the students out and there'd be no difficulty doing that in a country the size of Canada but it's perfectly obvious that President Reagan's concern was to overthrow the government of Grenada and whether the students were in danger or not that's what he wanted to do christopher hitchens oh I think I just so I can I would say one thing I think it's a real shame that someone is perceptive as Michael Barnes should have been hoodwinked in this way were saying mr. Hitchens for the last four years has been with the Nation magazine been here in Washington for the last two years he has traveled to Grenada and Lebanon within the last 18 months and among other things besides working for the nation here in this country he works also writes for The Spectator in London and as the foreign editor of the New Statesman magazine also published out of England writing a book about the Cyprus crisis and Middle East and as far as educational background graduated from Lee school and Cambridge also attended Oxford graduated in philosophy politics and economics in 1970 married expecting his first child originally from portsmouth hampshire in england tell us some Before we jump into all the septons this morning Christopher about these publications what is the nation well the nation is the oldest weekly magazine in the United States it was founded in 1865 by a group of basically abolitionists anti-slavery liberals and it's maintained a position on the left of the spectrum ever since I think one could say that of the mainstream American weeklies we were the most radical and as a result some say as a result perhaps we have one of the smaller circulations I think we probably sell about 60,000 a week but we certainly read by far more than that and we know from our letters column we get a lot of take-up who owns it nobody it would probably be very cheap to buy but you can't buy it it's kind of a trust you know there's no proprietor so we have there we have very little money in exchange for me no money we do have complete independence we don't have to answer to anybody at the moment probably our chief concern is foreign policy and the the way that the United States under President Reagan is taking a harder line in the world and internationally and it's of course we consider very dangerous and I suppose your readers would have guessed roughly our position or my position from our very first exchange about congressman Barnes let me ask you about the New Republic how do you follow the New Republic's or yes what's the difference between the New Republic liberalism and the nation liberal well that's a very good question I mean we've we used to be rather closer together than we are now in the older days when things were simpler and we were both as it were associated with the new deal with that kind of liberalism the New Republic has gone a long way to the right since then since Marty parrots have bought it you can buy the New Republic he's moved it to the right on a whole number of issues especially on foreign policy and principally on the Middle East they take a very very firm line in defensive for whatever Israel should decide to do and as a result in my opinion their whole international policies become more conservative Christian there's a lot of news this morning it's accessions there's more analysis in our papers let's look at the front pages in the New York Times there's a story here by les Gelb who was a former employee of the Carter Administration the State Department writes now foreign affairs for the New York Times Schultz pushing a hard line becomes key voice in crisis this is a long piece on the front page I'm going to turn inside here page 15 want to quote to you something that's said in this piece by the way do you have any response to the headline in that story have you had a chance to look at it I've heard look at the story yeah do you think mr. Schultz is in a stronger position now than I used to be well it struck me as an odd story for those of you haven't read it it says that Schultz is now arguing more and more as Secretary of State for hardline policy for boldness and intervention and so on and that he's become a policy maker this in response to a lot of stories that have said that he's always being overruled and particularly when Judge Clark was national security adviser let me read you a paragraph from this story by les Gelb the common a common theme to the response is recommended by mr. Schultz this is what mr. Gale was saying and approved by mr. Reagan has put together from descriptions by officials has been this this is the overall theme that mr. Schultz is supposedly pushing in the administration be tough even to the point of using force if necessary keep negotiation lines open but do not be optimistic about positive results and meanwhile solidify positions of strength what do you think of that idea as a method of going after foreign policy well it may mean it like it sounds good you know it sounds statesman like but it actually it's just saying the obvious it's what anyone would do what we what we don't notice if that's what he really means or if if the policy is he's arguing for really conform to that what I have a suspicion is that the sector state is annoyed that in in the past on foreign policy he's been rather left out and the stronger personalities of the president of ambassador Jean Kirkpatrick and until recently of George Clark were in a sense making policy without him or at least making policy and then telling him about it I guess as an attempt by him to get back on board and it obviously he's orchestrated it quite well as far as the New York Times is concerned you're from England originally you know you write for the nation you read our newspapers there's at least like this in the New York Times I have any influence oh sure and by gell because he's thought to to know what he's on about about State Department matters what she does I don't know if mr. mr. Schultz also helped to write the piece of I slightly reads like it I mean it certainly gives the Schultz view of the world and puts in another flattering way let me show you a piece in this morning's Washington Post this on page three you know media chose wrong target and hitting subordinates for black out now this is a piece by Luke Kenan who has followed mr. Reagan for years I used to write for Ritter publications in California has been with the Washington Post for at least the last 10-15 years wrote a book called Reagan and now he's talking about the way the press was handled by the Reagan White House during the Grenada crisis let me read you a couple paragraphs and get your response Reagan and company believed that they won a pair of glorious victories on the beaches of Grenada two weeks ago by the way do you think they did and in the sense that were they successful in doing what they wanted to do in Grenada I do think anyone can deny was a successful invasion I don't know how proud it makes you feel to be able to knock out the grenade normally but you certainly did okay the first was the defeat of the ragtag Grenadian army and a band of armed Cuban laborers the second was the rout of the US media Reagan's advisers are convinced that the media are virtually devoid of public support in their protests at both the news block out of the invasion and the misleading statements made about it you go mr. Kenan goes on to write the advisers are probably right meaning the Reagan advisors on the whole the news media response has been less effective than Cuban anti-aircraft fire and it has been directed at secondary targets well I think that's well put and I my sense is as a journalist that that's true that the public often thing that we're spoiled and that we're too inclined to snipe and criticize and and Cavill which is our job and actually you know you should be grateful that we do it but I think there's a certain satisfaction always to see us put down and I think that Karen is right in saying that when American troops are in action people don't like the press you know being too critical so they don't mind that in effect the government control the news about the initial landing in Grenada I mean I think you should mine I'm looking at you out there I think that ought to matter to you but my feeling is that probably there wasn't much protest about it we read you another Paris of final programs and mr. cannons column in the Gibbon take a political life before he was President Reagan's good nature usually overcame his suspicions talking about the suspicions of the media acting in conspiratorial ways but in the isolation of the White House where his worst inclination czar reinforced by the media strategy of his advisors Reagan values secrecy and lie detector tests and regards even little leaks of information as mortal sins the problem does not begin with his subordinates what do you think of mr. Reagan and that attitude well he's not paranoid about the press in the way that say President Nixon was he doesn't hate the press he's quite good at talking to people and you know in many respects he's a nice guy and gets on with with journalists but it's true anyone who's president after awhile begins to think the press has it in for them and Reagan's no exception to that the lie detector thing is a laugh of course but there are the things where I thought he was he was almost neurotic I mean on the on the case of the briefing gate papers the missing Carter papers where he said you know the Pentagon Papers were where the comparison not to what the press was doing but to what he was doing and comparing it to theft and comparing himself to a theft or the Pentagon Papers that struck me as as a guy who really was beginning to feel you know he was surrounded by enemies and that that's an unhealthy attitude for the president to have to the press I see that everyone's a little busy this morning on a Monday it's unusual all lines except two from the West are already lighted we'll go to the phone's right now at area code 202 six to eight to five to five in two oh two seven eight three to seven to seven remember if you've called us within the last thirty days please hold off and let others participate a sad note for those of you who follow the Washington Times or journalism famous Washington reporter over the years and editorial page editor of The Washington Times has died of cancer and Crutcher 64 years old she was a guest here on this program within the last six months and what worked for years for the Washington star has been with The Washington Times since its beginning a couple of years ago let's and Crutcher dead at 64 of cancer editorial page editor of The Washington Times on the front page of the Washington Aria the USA Today Carter Ford keep our cool this is from a meeting that was held under the auspices of former President Jimmy Carter down at Emory University and the consensus on the part of the two former presidents in Lebanon we got to keep our cool don't retaliate and hope for negotiations quick response from you and we got a phone call waiting okay well again you know that sounds like good advice but you're gonna have to decide in Lebanon I mean there is no point in having the army there if it isn't going to fight and if it is going to fight you better know who you're fighting for and that's the Lebanese Falange party which I don't think is a very good choice of ally Schofield Wisconsin good morning you're on with Kristen you're good so here's mine fine we don't have to get a morning paper around here matter of fact I quit the paper altogether what's that what's on your minds morning I just like this gentleman ah how you would like and I would like to see the Russians take over this country and see how they would report under the Russians former government they seem to tear this government all to hell and shredded all the pieces on the renew uh littlest things I can't buy that it's constantly constantly I was World War two veteran if I wouldn't want one of them guys sit and go outside of me of the fire sore of the plane okay to face all the way through alright let's see yeah what mr. Hitchens has to say well I missed the Second World War so I can't really comment on that but I think most of the people I've talked to who were in it and have no complaints about the way it was reported and didn't mind sharing foxholes with not a very brave journalists and photographers many of whom gave their lives to report the news and if you think that the photograph of the Marine Corps raising the flag on Iwo Jima is good enough photograph for the arlington monument to the Marine Corps then I think it's probably good enough for me that's on that on as to the Russians taking over the country well their attitude to the press is the same as your seems to be which is that the less of it the better I don't know if that irony has occurred to you you don't seem to be on other things very pro-russian what do you read the treaty reports that mr. Aaron drop-off has been out of public eye for some time I say sit could be very sick yeah well today being the anniversary of the Russian Revolution is the big the big day and said you know for him to miss that parade must mean he's ill Tempe Arizona good morning go ahead please morning Brian lamb and mr. Christopher Hitchins okay yeah yes morning I'm glad to talk to somebody from England you do make sense to me you are dialog is true and I will plant a fire in a minute here and then hope you'll answer a question of mine as a philosopher a seeker the truth you talk about the Republic as the liberalism and the house as liberalism as the as the ruling factors of these elected officials who are in conflict okay over here in America in the United States of America we have the ultra liberals and the conservatives okay which are and which in conflict so therefore I am a conservative so high image in a sense of troublemaker to them who want their thing and I like to have my freedom and that communist tile or Marxist style or dielectric materialism which is a separation of God which is I believe in God as a spirit in a positive way these people say no they are God themselves okay so therefore as I am a conservative which is in opposition to the Liberals than they are materialists okay so their dialogue and their language do not make sense to me okay so therefore I am a philosopher and a Sikh of the truth and when you have the truth on your side then I cannot agree to a wrong all right you have any questions for mr. Hitchens okay now you know the PLO you read the magazine's I get the newspapers here that the Tempe Kelly news and the Arizona Republic and the Mesa Tribune okay they are in conflict they're saying one thing here and and another and you have pictures and magazine these are a way of knowing how the Conservatives the Liberals and Inbetweeners okay and if you're in between then you're not knowing what side you're on that as you you appear to be as a person who is more of a conservative are you well I really haven't been doing my job in that case no no I'm not a conservative and nor is the Nation magazine a conservative magazine I mean you couldn't give ask me very easy and a very difficult question no I'm not I can't think how you've got the impression we define ourselves as a liberal radical magazine and I I think I said at the beginning we're probably of the available magazines in the United States the most the most radical in the mainstream very difference in American politics between liberals and conservatives well since we began with Michael Bonds I'd say this morning the gap was narrowing if Michael Barnes can fall in behind Reagan's invasion of Grenada then then liberals are getting mushy all the time calls standing by at Oak Ridge Tennessee good morning with an NPV rate we took over my understanding was whatever establishment was wrong we're right here's the front page by the way of the New York Times this morning a hundred bodies are reported found their training camp in Grenada US official says former premier is presumed to be one of the victims found on the island you can respond both for this story and to the yes position of the lady from Oak Ridge it's a very good question from Oak Ridge I mean it's a good criticism of my position but I'll still stick to it you see in the cases I mentioned Iran and Uganda the Entebbe raid and the desert one rate to rescue hostages in both cases in both those cases the governments of the two countries concerned were a chaotic barely government's at all and be to the extent they were governments extremely unpleasant him in general I mean and the Ayatollah Khomeini would belong in any kind of central casting of rogues nonetheless it doesn't give the United States the right to appoint governments for those countries in fact the reason you have the Ayatollah is because the United States for so long did believe that it had a big sayin who should go in Iran now in Grenada it's true there was a horrendous massacre of the of the existing government including Maurice Bishop who was the prime minister who I'd met and interviewed several times and rather at night in many ways so you won't find me defending with a grenade in government over that day but I'm still sticking to my point it isn't up to United States to decide who runs Grenada Long Beach California good morning you're on with Christopher Hitchens in the Nation magazine thank you go ahead Oh Brian yes my compliments to see fantasy fans I think that perhaps the the nation in the world would be well served if all journalists correspondents and media were impartial objective cetera as it seemed to be thank you I appreciate watching c-span very much to get that 40 he's very upfront about being liberal I appreciate these the fact that he is upfront about that I'll be upfront – I'm a conservative my questions to him is what does he perceive to be the government in Grenada will be overthrew if in fact we did overthrow a government that's it yeah you may have been dialing your call when I was talking to the last questioner because I but I'll try and rephrase it for you um I knew Maurice Bishop interviewed him several times quite admired him I had no time at all for the what looked in the short time it was in power to be a very gruesome military despotism that overthrew him but what I had gone on to say to the lady from Oak Ridge I think it was Tennessee was that I stick to my initial point that that that does not give the United States government the right to intervene let me go back while waiting for a next call and ask you again about the difference between being a conservative and being a liberal yes another by all means but let me add something that's that I should have mentioned before everyone's now saying how sorry they often Morris Bishop and you know how terrible the government was that overthrew him but when once Bishop was alive and in power the United States government did everything it could to make life tough him they had an economic boycott of Grenada they were denouncing him for trying to build an airport to increase the country's access to tourism and to export-import markets saying that was a military airport which was not the case when he came to Washington he could hardly get the time of day from anyone so it's a bit late to suddenly say oh what a shame he was overthrown by this brutal group they were caught where is this Rahway new dog yes I've been watching a program for the last couple weeks ever since the eur/usd invaded banana and my question to you and hisself transmen is on the program before and now someone mr. Lincoln and different conscience into the states and they are without they were supported administration for invading cañada my questions you and and and to the moderator this program is why is it that each one of the law congressman speaks about the ministrations have a right to go in because to issue the democracy and bring back really hell her free election to be held why is it that no no no the press have mentioned and including New York time which I read quite often me that Chris the ministration have not demand free election in in South Africa why is the death none of these are Carla's all across the country that is ill business in this country and not concerned about democracy and just in Vanara but not not democracy in South Africa democracy in Haiti democracy and in the Philippines why is that we have a lot sided foreign policy on one hand we want to see that we're so concerned about the bishop administration I can't think about and you notice and keeping and in the in the White House noticed the Commish notice now they also concerned about the bishop that murder and uh and they want to go in behind key the right for democracy the President Reagan need excuse to raid country and when the bishop got murdered that was excused to go in to overthrow the government now you know it is the moderators program notice and the Congress notice and everyone everyone in the free society notice but mine basically concern is with the press they did not have made a comparison on South ethical and democracy and democracy in Grenada our democracy and and and uh in Haiti where's all the democracy re-election gonna be held and they are they are so so concerned about in Nicaragua low I think what sort of thing about in your art and genera and theirs they are not conservative in South Africa now all right sure I think you made your point go ahead Christopher well listen I I agree with you I think that's quite true I think all foreign policies are obviously gonna be hypocritical you know whoever's in power and whatever government of whatever state were talking about they're gonna be ambiguities and inconsistencies but there seems to be an enormous one in the case of this administration that it is only interested in here rights when or if they can be argued to be threatened by communism or communist surrogate that is the only time it will sound the alarm for human rights I think that's a bad foreign policy I think it's a nun American foreign policy in the sense that I think America has an interest in human rights everywhere and the commitment to them or should have and I think it's a dangerous foreign policy to because it simply divides the world into good powers and evil powers and suggests that they'll have to be a final reckoning with evil and a final reckoning with evil in this case everybody knows it and you can see it coming down the road is a nuclear war and nobody needs to tell you what what that would mean or the war that it would be worse than any conceivable tyranny so that's my comment to you I think you'll mention of South Africa is very timely I mean even as we speak the South African government is designing a permanent system of apartheid and trying to get only the white voters to ratify it with some signs of success and not a squeak of protest from the administration about it I think that that that is a disgrace in ought to worry people Christopher Hitchens has been the Washington correspondent for the Nation magazine for the last two years been with the nation for the last four years and writes for a number of British publications we'll talk about a little later let's go back to the phones to Roberto California good morning thank you nice to hear from you could I ask you a question about the press at this moment give us a give us just a thumbnail sketch of what you think the press ought to do as an institution what do you want them to do for you well one thing I consider there's an echo chamber and my name is favor here the press Enterprise we had just one wire service they take the AP so you know you just get an echo you don't I don't feel that I get anything that isn't biased at this bit isn't at times irresponsible I it's time that the publishers and the editors recognize this and somehow get together and they're going to have to read organize their their methods of reporting do you ever go out and want to buy something that is biased so that will either support or be the antithesis of your own view what the only thing you can do is drop by eight or ten different things and then try to put them all together and I think we should have two or three reliable places to go that if the journalist Duvall does anything that's against the national security that they can receive death could you tell me about that please thank you I didn't I didn't understand what you said at the very end they can receive death yes no we've abolished the death penalty in Britain though as a matter of fact it is in reserve for acts of high treason by doing this would be covered by what you're talking about it is true that in Britain there's an extremely severe law called the Official Secrets Act which says that anything the government defines as a secret is a secret it's a catch-22 law I mean you can define something that is well known by everybody as a secret under that law and convict somebody for telling it our American journalist freer in Venice channel journalist in house well because you have a constitution to see my country doesn't have a constitution the united states constitution specifically enjoined congress from making any law to restrict the freedom of the press or freedom of speech or freedom of expression so your First Amendment is a tremendous guarantee that you can be told the truth that doesn't mean the press only tells the truth and I'm very sorry that you don't take the trouble either to go to the library if you don't want to buy a lot of papers because I know they're expensive but at least perhaps to buy one national newspaper a week I mean say The Wall Street Journal which has an extremely good news coverage or the New York Times or The Washington Post I think you really owe it to yourself to to get more than one newspaper Christopher Hitchens let's go to Cambridge Maryland good morning good morning good morning thank you very much mr. Hitchens I have three direct questions short questions for you please do you feel that Israel has a right to exist within secure borders do you feel that the United States should intervene should Iran and/or Russia try to close the Straits of Hormuz and would you seek relief from a 24-hour shoot on sight curfew from any quarter in which relief might be found thank you all right thanks for the call very good questions and I think I know what you're trying to pin me down on on the first yes I do but I think the securely recognized borders should not allow for Israeli colonization or occupation of the territory of its neighbors which is what it's doing now the right to exist argument has been has been used now to the point where what it's going to mean is that the Israel you're talking about will include the ADI annexed and illegally occupied West Bank so the right to exist argument it's going to rebound on those who use it unclear Lee and who don't say what they mean by Israel it's very interesting the Israeli government has never said where it thinks the ball is Israel really ought to be and what it would settle for I think would be an immense help if Israel's going to insist on the right to exist if it tells us where it thinks Israel's boundaries should be every other country does do that excuse me the on the front page of USA Today it says one in four of us will get a cold this month and I think that today was my turn the Straits of Hormuz look they're international and vital and no attempt to close them could be countenanced by the international community when you say what should the United States do you already put the question in a in a narrower way the United States would have the same right as every other country to be concerned about closure and international shipping lane for 24-hour curfew well let's just turn it round on you suppose that you in a part of the United States that one day unhappily perhaps because of rioting had to have a 24-hour curfew and suppose that you lived in a part of Miami which is I think the last place that was a curfew that I can think of where most of the population was foreign say Haitian do you think the government of Haiti has the right to land troops to safeguard patients if you think it has the right to do that which you might think it did do you think it has the right to change the United States government while it's about it all these arguments all these arguments the 24-hour curfew the nature of the government that replaced Bishop the possible arguable very disputable threat the students were under or are all designed to evade this point does the United States have the right to choose the government of Grenada or does it not Christopher Hitchens the Nation magazine we go to Missoula Montana good morning first of all I would like to disagree with the comment mr. Hitchens made that the fact that the runway being built on Grenada was only going to be for to expand tourist trade and export import trade I think it's obvious that that's not true by the activities that were found there and the amount of farms and all the my main question is that the press has been making an offer out of the supposed operation yes when you look at some press programs for instance the CBS program 60 minutes if the press are going to be so insistent no censorship at all why shouldn't see CBS be required to air the complete all of the complete interviews that they take when they go out to do a program like 60 minutes instead of only clipping out the things that show the the idea that they want to get across why shouldn't they be subjected to the same kind of lack of censorship that they are crying so much about now well I'll start with your second point there's obviously a difference between censorship and editing I mean we have an hour this morning daily tonight we could obviously have be forced to answer until we dropped I mean how many people rang up all day you could make us do that but it would be impossible to actually know what we want to watch it after a bit so you must distinguish editing from from censorship censorship is saying you cannot print something or you'll be put in a position where it's impossible for you to print something or air something editing is deciding which of the relevant bits obviously it's a job that you've got it you can't really trust anyone to do it I mean it's it's putting somebody in a god-like position but if somebody does have to the airport you're just wrong about that it wasn't a military airport and it would have been very hard to adapt it into being one the British firm that was building it plessy large electronics firm in the United Kingdom it's been quite definite about it says that the specifications for the airport were purely commercial the fact that there were weapons found there is a separate question I mean that the Kuban workforce there was armed because it believed that there might be the United States invasion of Grenada everyone at the time said how paranoid they were it seems that the decision to have weapons wasn't a stupid one Wellington Minnesota good morning I talked to your guests about the press about the press being kept out of Canada well they're not the only ones they kept on carpenters bricklayers and doctors and lawyers do you think the president served himself well by keeping the press out do you think the president made the right political decision by keeping the press out as he won that battle political grenade did he win by the way did he win I hope so there's a hundred thousand people free today if that makes any sense okay how about a question for mr. Hitchens and see my notes here then we have so many journalists that call himself journalists but aren't really very few that I've heard on your program have journalist degrees well I did one do you think you should have a journalism degree to be a journalist well they call himself professionals you know a bricklayer could be a journalism so there isn't there's no absolutely no reason why not in fact that's why I'm I'm not particularly in favor of journalism degrees actually in the country I come from we don't we don't have those but there's absolutely no reason why a bricklayer if he's interested in finding out I'm telling the truth wouldn't make a good journalist overnight it's been done by the way when you say you've seen how bricklayers on your mind a bit that bricklayers were also kept out of Grenada the fact is if you keep the press out you don't need to keep out any other Americans by keeping out the press you keep the rest of America in the dark automatically now if you really mean that you don't want to be told what your government is doing with your money abroad then just don't turn on the news but there are a lot of people who do think that they ought to know and do want to know what foreign policy is like at the bayonet point and I don't see what's illegitimate about that desire do you Palm Springs California good morning yes I'd like to ask your speaker there oh if he'd known 24 hours or even 48 hours before the invasion of Grenada would you kept in our press if you've been asked to I'm just curious I also have a second way you'd put press sure you would you would have let them know ahead of time where we're coming they they knew it's you who didn't know the grenades have known for a long time that an invasion was coming Oh idea sure they've been on the grins have been on invasion alert almost permanently for the last year I'll tell you when when they really knew another thing wasn't very well reported or totally making people when the when when the invasion was rehearsed which was about a year ago long before the coup long before long before the death of Bishop there was a an amphibious exercise in the Caribbean designed to replicate an invasion of Grenada he said earlier that you were a radical does that mean that you sort of embraced the socialist be a little bit more than much level well when I was in the United Kingdom I was a member of the Labour Party which calls itself a Socialist Party is a member of the socialist international and I haven't resigned that membership accepted in the formal sense that I under longer carry a Labour Party card so sure yeah Christopher Hitchens what is your reaction when you hear Americans say that their press is liberal do you think that's an accurate accounting of what the oppressors well I think it's true to say that the press and America is skeptical I mean in that it considers part of its job to challenge the government's view and I think that's true certainly of the Washington Post and of the New York Times and of the Wall Street Journal that they will not just take the government's word for it politically speaking there are great differences between the three in the Wall Street Journal there it's skeptical of the government is very conservative politically and takes basically the view of the view of business the New York Times and The Washington Post I think do have a predominately liberal cast to some of their reporting yes but it's pretty mild New York City good morning good morning morning yes I'd like to talk to you guests first of all I wanna thank you for your programs I enjoy it and obviously thank you guess the conference stuff is a liberal radical which i think is a new invention in the 30s 40s and 50s that wing of the Liberal Party were called fellow travelers and the fellow traveler is someone who's oh not a communist himself promotes Soviet political positions until they can become mainstream well that's the intent and their favor and very successful if you can think of how the words have changed very few people even call communist communists in our common Marxist radicals socialists now there's a difference between a communist country in a socialist country Sweden is a socialist country Soviet Union China are communist dictatorships they've done that they've also made mainstream the division between the Communists of the free world they call it east-west this is something you know here in the United Nations they think it's just nothing to do with the way of life and when he talked about reporters world war two reporters like Ernie Pyle we had a very patriotic journalistic core at the time and the reason for that is that the Soviet Union at the time was forced to join us because prior to the Soviets entry into World War two we were being sniped at just the way they do now but because the Soviets we were in alliance of the Soviet Union we had a total dedicated core no one would think of sniping at what we were doing that's why the flag went up in Hiroshima and it's been a patriotic symbol do you ever read them nation collar funny do you ever read mr. hitchens magazine the nation got ya the rag it's a rag rag how do you define your own politics I'm a Democrat I'm a Democrat and there have been American anti-communist liberals that's been a tradition we are enlightened anti-communist we just know that communism is a dictatorship and all this young man has to do is talk to some of my friends who've lived in the Soviet Union and have been imprisoned for no reason okay Romania or some of those countries and to know that this is where they should put their spotlight on what's going on in those countries and not compare all right thank you very much for the call talk a little bit about your you're your own personal philosophy do you find yourself sympathetic to a communist government just start with that as a strong question oh no I was going to start with that actually the nation is I think the only magazine in the country that has a regular column called Soviet aqus which is devoted to the study of the political system of Eastern Europe is written by Professor Steven Cohen of Princeton who's a expert on the subject so much so that the lady needn't worry his books are indeed banned in the Soviet Union I mean she's I can let let me reassure you on that score there are no illusions left about the nature of the Soviet system and I don't believe the nation can be accused of giving them any longer life than anybody else the thing about anti-communism is that it can justify anything and that has been the lesson of the anti-communist liberalism preached by this lady when she says that in the 50s our position my position was known as fellow traveling cold fellow traveling she should say by whom it was caught that I mean and she should say if she's nostalgic for a period when Americans could be politically individual ated and bullied by Senator McCarthy if she wants that she should say so and not just simply say in those days that's what we were called one of the nation's finest hours in my opinion was opposing the witch hunting policy of the senator and his all sidekicks now my own position in case I'm accused of concealing it let me say it now this if I haven't said it already I've already said I was a member of the Labour Party in Britain the Labour Party is a member of the Socialist socialist international that's the the family of socialist parties that comprises from suomi torille the Sandinista movement in Nicaragua and the British Labour Party the Swedish Socialist Party and many others I still consider myself a member of that political family and I don't feel that coming out with it on the air as it were a confession it's just an affirmation if I'd known you was so interested in my private political views I'd have put them near the top of the show Christopher Hitchens of the make nations magazine the Nation magazine he's located here in Washington the magazine's headquarter New York it's headquartered in New York 60,000 circulation how biggest at 60,000 and climbing can I say can I get away with that biggest off a very small time I mean on the editorial side only about half a dozen others most of Munir most of all of them all of them but me in New York yeah San Francisco good morning I was watching Manila reporters last week with a week before but he had under secretary dam on there and one of the to ask him about the interview or the meeting that he had had with bishop in Washington before all this happened and they had asked him if the United States had asked mr. Bishop about the the Cubans in in Grenada and Mr Dan said they had never talked about that and also there's one thing I'd like to know which is a comment that I don't hear anymore did mr. Bishop asked the United States for help maybe financial help to build that runway that's about all I have to ask all right what do you read out there The Chronicle in the morning yeah no yet yes right here what do they do this morning with the news pictures of the grenade coup leaders Arafat rebels battle revolution last strongholds and big telephone switch FBI probe breach of Stanford computer generals party defeated in Turkey us says it's winning its war on the Mafia and a proposal for interim government I haven't read it yet because it's a little dark out here okay thank you very much for the call yes bishop did ask the United States for help as far as we know he certainly asked him to stop hindering his other Appeals for aid to organizations like the IMF and the World Bank I don't know whether he asked to be included in President Reagan's Caribbean Basin initiative which did include block grants for Caribbean islands but I suspect that he may have done because they taken great care to freeze the granadan government out and Grenada you see is a country of difficult to describe from my visit there how poor it is it really doesn't have an economy I mean even if however much was socialist you are there's nothing there to nationalize I mean there just isn't anything and they had one very very small airport on the wrong side of the island and on the wrong side of the mountains from the capital and we're trying to build it build it build a better one um I think probably United States aid for building the airport was requested the odd thing is that the United States says it's the government of Venezuela and the oil fields of Venezuela that were threatened by the the airport it's and Georgia's and if the Venezuelan government oddly enough was contributing money to the project perhaps not believing that it was threatened by the other one somebody wanted to get a copy or subscribe to the nation where do they go oh they should write 272 Fifth Avenue New York City New York 1 0 0 1 1 and mentioned my name and they'll treaty right at 72 fifth avenue new york city new york city new york 111 111 exactly well when I say 10011 I can I always have to worry but as if because 1 mm 1 1 okay we'll try to give that one more time I'm going to jot it down in case some new stands around the country have it although it's hard to find it's not a comment on your circulation department it's probably a comment on the state MP war Minister Pennsylvania good morning good sir how are you all right what do you read I read just my local papers from the stand point to subscribe to any of the larger newspapers what is your local paper my local papers the daily intelligence and basically it carries local news as well as selected national interest rate where's your city located what's what's it close – okay thank you very much go ahead with your comment i just like to comment on the press issue many journalists that I see today seem to forget that even though free press is a right there may be some priorities within the rights of our own constitution and that being self preservation of our national interests when you take a look at world past world the history and the like even as recent as default the Britons restricted their press so severely that they did they kept inland ships in the lake when when journalists lose their credibility I think in this country journalists have lost their credibility based upon their past performances the American people are speaking out now and I just feel that without no type of checks and balances on the journalists they're doing exactly what this gentleman's doing here to bring a four hour news agent over into the country okay report all the faults okay but don't take a deep enough look at the positive aspect of what a Free Press really is I'm getting fed up with this kind of questioning actually I mean thirty miles from north of Philadelphia as you are how do you presume to know that the American people are speaking out to the extent that you do know or what extent that you can speak for them you can only know it through reading the reading of Free Press and watching a free TV the truth is that the papers are reporting the fact that they're unpopular with the administration and the column with which David began Lou cannons column today says he he admits it's true that public opinion is probably on Reagan's side on this one but if you want your press to be treated as the British treated their press in the Falklands you're gonna end up not knowing very much about what's going on if that's what you want don't read the papers but do not prevent me or anyone else from reading them how do I know it's by watching programs like c-span where there is reaction and there is comment and there is interaction between the people it's certainly not by reading tabloids and magazines such as yours which has been so severely edited or slanted how do you know that if you don't read it I would never read it because it's got no only from the simple point that I know how an editor work what do you all of us see very lucky you didn't you don't need to be told anything you don't need to read anything you just know now not everyone is as smart as you and give them a chance okay let's go on to Campbell California but Christopher Hitchens of the Nation magazine go ahead please okay first I'd like to say congratulations on this last answer and I'd like to find out another thing I do believe that the press hasn't gone deep enough and Grenada but in one sense I keep waiting to see an interview with the students who were left they're the ones that decided not to come back and the reasons why how many were left there are called you know I that's something I still haven't found out I've been waiting to find out but believe it was a third who concerns would left there what are your suspicions my suspicions are they were left they decided to stay there because they saw no reason to come back are you surprised about congressman Michael Barnes's response after visiting Grenada did you hear that I hope he said this morning in the paper I guess he didn't say it to the paper necessarily but he said that he had changed his mind about the invasion he is a liberal Democrat from the suburbs here of Washington and I'm trying to find the exact quote so I don't misrepresent him but let me just read let me find it so that I can read it to you here he said I came down here very skeptical but I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that the invasion was justified what do you think I think our justifies it's unfortunate though that anybody from any country had to die to be the justification I truly believe that the whole problem was overblown and I think there could have been other ways found to solve the problem of us rushing in there and killing people okay Justin Hitchens well you've obviously tuned in a little late so I don't want to bore the people who have been watching all the way through but I also want to answer your question I have I already said that I I think even if it could be proved that all the students were in danger that would only justify a rescue of the students on the lines of the Israeli action at Entebbe or the attempted United States action in in Iran it doesn't justify overthrowing the government of Grenada even if it's a repulsive one now as to the ones who stayed behind we haven't discussed that yet I don't know I went to that medical school I took a great care to go when I was in Grenada and talk to the students there all of whom like Grenada and the granadan soar indeed very nice people understood that the government was hostile to the United States but didn't feel that hostility expressed in any way towards themselves I wouldn't be at all surprised that a lot of them wanted to remain it's delightful I'm sorry why as a school there in the first place well it's there because I just for the moment can't remember his name but there's a very medical yeah a very devoted man that's right who just thinks that there are a lot of people who don't get into medical school in the United States who deserve a chance to practice medicine and he's founded why he chose Grenada I I simply don't know but it's its own justification if you see the island it's such a beautiful place decides a place for second chance students I can't pay a lot of money I think there's a few pain establishment yes that's graduated can they come back and practice medicine the United States yes I believe they can yes they can I mean the the deploy was given there are recognized yeah that that's it's interesting also because that's more likely to mean that the students are going to be conservatives I think me those who haven't made into medical school here but who wants a practice in private medicine and good avenues to do so are not likely to be on the left shall we say Miami Florida good morning you're on with Christopher Hitchens in the Nation magazine good morning it's not really a question is I'm having a lot of troubles with the attitude of the press in looking at this whole situation in Grenada as only a security problem and not looking at themselves and saying why is the public against us and why is there's a president do this in a sense that in a republic that we live in the freedoms that we have carry responsibilities with them and the responsibility is to look at what we're doing and see whether or not it affects the well-being and welfare of other people and I think the press at a time when we need unity to be united and stand behind our president is not the time for the press to come in with their interpretations and try to sway of the public whether it's their intent or not that's what happens and I think our Congress is just as guilty and we need to in a situation like this let happen what happens and then critique it and there is your freedom of the press this is really becoming the theme of the day isn't it so I'll let me go at it from one more angle I don't know if you've if any of you out there who've been taking the line that this lady's just taken have noticed the ironic position that you're in but none of the discussion that we're having none of the questions you're putting to me all criticisms you're making of the press could be made if the press wasn't the way you don't believe it ought to be that's to say able to criticize able to report everything you I don't think you know how lucky you are I was told by an earlier caller from New York a lady from New York to imagine what life was like living and so you know I don't actually have to imagine that I have seen those countries and I have been in other countries too where there's no press freedom believe me your system is better and everyone else in the in the world of envies the right of the United States citizen to have a First Amendment guaranteeing his or her right to know and making it impossible illegal in fact for the government to restrain freedom of expression sir any other country in the world has this kind of freedom we have no no Phoenix Arizona good morning I wonder why the media they don't support the right of the Palestinian to exist they always report that you have Palestinian your Egyptian do you think that our American press is biased toward Israel we have to Israel twenty nine billion dollars a year while American people they need it much more you know then to give it to Israel yeah we waste it on Israel for their aggression and go on and occupy you know more land and killing more people and they grow in them and that mr. Hutchins said you know they have no borders they did not claim their borders you know when they will be safe when they're bored of next to New York okay let me ask you Christopher Hitchens about what we're hearing this morning from the callers it seems like there's a lot of unhappiness about the press and the media yeah and coming from all different sides why well I think I mean I don't think it's it's mysterious and I think that lukannon identifies it quite well I think there is a very strong feeling among Americans that when your own young men are risking their lives that everyone should close ranks and the criticism is in some sense disloyal I think that's very understandable and very human feeling but I think it's mistaken because it's precisely at those moments when you need a very very clear sense of what you're doing and you can only arrive at such a clear sense by an open debate so tough though it is for the press I think it's got to stick to its guns and I think I have never met an American who wishes he hadn't been told what was going on in Vietnam even though they often dislike what they were seeing you mustn't confuse the message with the messenger and I'm afraid that's what a lot of people are doing here but I've no difficulty seeing why they do it and when in the sense you know sympathizing but but finally disagreeing can I just answer our Egyptian caller just a moment I want to tell our audience that for the last are there guests here on the program has been Christopher Hitchens the Nation magazine and mr. Hitchens has quite a background in education from England where he went to Lee school at Cambridge and Oxford studied philosophy politics and economics graduate in 1970 has been with the nation for four years here in Washington for the last two years the Washington correspondent our first hour is up

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. Hitchens was wrong when he said no other country had the same right to free speech. America is just the only one that has such a tenuous grip on free speech that it felt the need to enshrine it in a constitution.
    In fact that particular right in the US only applied to white, land-owning males and the vast majority of Americans had almost no rights.

    Unfortunately Hitchens fell for the pap that was fed to Americans about their mythical FREEDOM.

  2. Dude, you look like hell. Keep drinking and burning the candle at both ends like this, and you'll be dead by 61.

  3. the ronald was a f—ing last born,so was ted kennedy[why no one cried ,what the f–k]plus the ron loved dick up his old ass.here too[bob hope sex ring]

  4. That MUST BE "Francis E. Dec, Esq. " Dec is the greatest kook who ever lived, the greatest of the saints worshiped by the Church of the SubGenius and the rants he typed on his typewriter are required reading for all SubGenii, the holiest writings ever written, holier even than the writings of "Bob" or even the sacred PreScriptures. All other kooks and conspiracy theorists are pale imitations of Francis E. Dec, the greatest kook of all time. To find out more about Francis E. Dec, you can look at francisedec.com or his Wikipedia page.
    While his rants contain bigoted language as well insane ramblings of a
    paranoid schizophrenic mind, what this ACTUALLY shows is how INSANELY
    STUPID such bigotry is, and he is really a self-parody whose rants are
    the funniest works of humor ever written by someone who was not
    intending to be humorous. Here is a video of his most epic rant,
    Gangster Computer God Worldwide

    Secret Containment Policy:

  5. He was coughing and had some water. I miss him and wonder if there is a man to take his place. I'm not that smart… or informed.

  6. He's so much more reasonable back in the day. I'm not referencing his politics, just demeanour and focusing on debate over ridicule.

  7. The 80's– when you could just fire a square up and have a smoke. I wonder what this great thinker would have thought of that phony trash bag in the WH and his moronic base.

  8. RR had no comprehension of what happened in the Falklands and even less of an understanding of Grenada. What made the situation worse was his staff, who were less informed than him!

  9. Interesting about the UK still retaining the death penalty (on the books anyway) for high treason. The 1998 Crime and Disorder Act abolished saw it abolished and replaced with life imprisonment. Surprising that there were no journalism degrees offered in the UK till as recently as 1991.

  10. C-SPAN shame on you for not allowing Christopher to respond to the EGYPTIAN man at the end about Palestine

  11. God I love these vintage C-SPAN call in shows. It's like having an internet comment section audio book.

  12. Reading Carl Sagan's "The Demon Haunted World" right now and at the point where he points out Reagan's delusions or outright hallucinations about having ever liberated the camps, among other things besides being a talking head with dementia.

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