David R. Henderson  

Reflections on my Latest RT Appearance

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As I noted in yesterday's post, there's always an issue of the bias of the news network on which one appears, and one is right to be skeptical. The fact that RT is funded by the Russian government ought to make one, all else equal, even more skeptical.

But at least two things happened in that interview that moderated my skepticism. I lay them out below.

I don't go into such interviews planning to test whether the network is biased. I go in, rather, with the main points I want to make and always with the goal of communicating truthful and important things clearly.

So I didn't purposely plan two things that I want to highlight here that I said about Cuba and the Castros. They told me in advance that they wanted to talk about that, but the main thing I prepared for, given what I had written that they seemed to have read, was about the U.S. embargo on Cuba.

1. "My big hope, frankly, is that he'll [Raul Castro will] die and that he'll die soon." (15:40 point)
Although I didn't go on the show planning to say this, it came to me. Obviously RT kept it. Why do I find this interesting? Because for decades the Castro regime was an ally of the Soviets. So for RT to keep this line in which I call for the death of a Soviet ally is a good sign. Granted that the Soviet Union no longer exists. But Russia does. And Vladimir Putin runs the executive branch of the Russian government. Recall that Putin said that "the collapse of the Soviet Union was a major geopolitical disaster of the century." So it's encouraging that the RT producer thought she could keep this pretty negative comment on a previous Soviet ally.

2. "The one chance they [the sanctions] had was in the early nineties when Cuba started losing those major subsidies from Russia, from the Soviet Union." (16:40)
Notice how my eyes bug out when I say "Russia." It's because I had a good thought, started to say it, and then realized that OMG, I'm implicitly saying something negative about Russia. But they kept it. Not only did they keep it, but also Ameera David, the host, didn't challenge me or contradict me. She let it go. Had I been on Sean Hannity's show on Fox News Channel and said something negative about someone Sean liked, there's no way he wouldn't have challenged me. So RT looks good by contrast. Either they liked what I said, or they didn't like what I said but felt compelled to keep it, or they had no opinion but thought that they should be faithful to their guest. Whichever of those it was, it's a good sign.

Also, notice that Ameera David asked me about chances for freer markets in Cuba, as if the implicit premise is that free markets and economic freedom are good.

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COMMENTS (6 to date)
Andrew_FL writes:

Well no argument that Sean Hannity wouldn't let you tell the truth about what someone he liked was doing in the early 90s.

I don't think you said anything the Putin regime would feel the need to censor. They no longer consider Cuba a strategic asset and what Putin wants is not to bring back the USSR per se but a new Russian Empire.

David R. Henderson writes:

Good points. Thanks.

I enjoyed watching your segment last night.

Saying that you hope a man will die is, by golly, sharper than I would have said or felt even. Idiocy, looking to the state for solutions to problems, happens all around us; it grows consequent to the natural desire to perceive order in surroundings. The Cubans just got hit by a worse dose.

Supposing that RT is biased toward the Russian state, which I do not often detect, at least this expected bias is out in the open. Whereas the American mainstream media keep their biases hidden in their closets, subconsciously in large part. In my view, RT seems to aim to show what the biased American mainstream will not show.

Incidentally, The Crown, a new Netflix TV series, shows much about the constitution of a state, fascinating tension in the stifling role that a British monarch must play.

jon writes:

I don't the get the cat analogy.

Wouldn't America be the kid pulling the cat's tail?
We are the cause of the economic pain.

And wouldn't Castro be your brother?
He is the face right in front of them that the Cubans were likely to blame for their pain.

David R. Henderson writes:

Wouldn't America be the kid pulling the cat's tail?
Close, but not quite. The U.S. government is the kid pulling the cat’s tail.
We are the cause of the economic pain.
What you mean “we,” kemo sabe?
And wouldn't Castro be your brother?
Except for the confusion between the U.S. government and Americans, you do get the analogy.

Mark M writes:

Well done. The close up of Trump next to your face was interesting framing by RT.

I think I have been saying Mercantilism wrong my entire life. I never stressed the CANT like you and she did.

Probably better for President Trump to treat Cuba like we have treated Taiwan: have limited diplomatic relations but trade freely. Interesting contrast on how we have treated the two Islands over the past 60 years.

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