This May Day: Media Fail to Acknowledge Any Downside of Socialism
Philosopher George Santayana once said “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” In regards to socialism, the media has turned a blind eye to the more than 100 million victims of the ideology. In fact, May 1 actually marks a socialist holiday – International Workers’ Day, or May Day.
“Socialist” is a word often used in conjunction with President Obama, but seldom explained by the major media. During the White House Correspondents Dinner, the president even joked that “I'm not the strapping young Muslim Socialist that I used to be.” It might be a joke to the president, but to millions who have lived under socialism, it has been a nightmare.
That hasn’t been the way the media have treated it.
In the past two years, there have been 74 news stories where “socialist” or “socialism” was mentioned on all three broadcast networks morning and evening shows. Of those 74 stories, not once was socialism even defined. It was used neutrally, to describe Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, the newly elected president of France, or as the ideology that Margaret Thatcher fought … but the reports failed to define what exactly this ideology is, or why people like Thatcher might be fighting it.
The networks even distorted the term. On the March 5, 2013, edition of ABC’s “World News,” anchor Diane Sawyer hyped socialism with a positive spin regarding Chavez’s policies. “Chavez grew up poor and after winning his first of four presidential elections, he publicly called for the redistribution of the country’s oil wealth to Venezuela’s poor.”
On March 8, 2013, NBC’s “Today” news anchor Natalie Morales glamorized Hugo Chavez’s funeral as a “hero’s send-off” and described him as “a harsh critic of the U.S.” On April 22, 2012, CBS anchor Jeff Glor spoke of France’s first socialist president in 17 years, and even hyped that the “former socialist favorite” voting for the new socialist candidate in the election.
While lamenting the death of a socialist dictator like Chavez, the networks failed to consider the effects that socialism has had. More than 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust during World War II – a tragedy so horrendous it’s called it a “Holocaust.” Socialism has claimed 94 million more victims. Media outlets would not dare to revel in the legacy of Hitler, yet Chavez was a dictator to be remembered. Don’t forget that Chavez was a ruthless dictator, who often aided Cuba and guerilla gangs in neighboring countries to Venezeula.
In an article from April 2002 on the hard-left site Alternet, Geov Parrish lamented that Americans didn’t celebrate this holiday. “May Day began as a strike for basic rights we’re now losing,” he wrote.
May Day began on May 1, 1886, when workers in Chicago and other Midwest cities went on strike to demand the ability to organize into unions and demand an 8-hour day. Parrish doesn’t hide the ties to anarchists – and terrorism -- in the riots that ensued the original May Day in 1886. “And at a demonstration on … May 4 … a bomb went off at Haymarket Square -- the infamous "Haymarket Massacre" that led to death sentences for eight anarchists convicted,” he explained.
“By the end of the decade, May Day was a holiday celebrated by workers and workers' movements in every industrialized country in the world. It still is -- now, in fact, it's observed globally. Except, ironically, in the land of the holiday's birth,” Parrish mourned.
Not only has socialism killed millions of people, but, more simply, the policies continue to fail. The continued riots in Greece were just one of the more recent examples of the damage the socialist ideology creates in society.
According to Cato Institute scholar Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar, without socialism’s influence over India “14.5 million more children would have survived, 261 million more Indians would have become literate, and 109 million more people would have risen above the poverty line.” Not only would more people have survived, but Anklesaria Aiyar’s attributed socialism to the delay in economic reform in India, as well.
Heritage Foundation Distinguished Fellow in Conservative Thought Dr. Lee Edwards said people who praise Marxism carefully choose and censor certain Karl Marx quotes. One such example is: “My object in life is to dethrone God and destroy capitalism.” Because of this, the public is extremely ignorant on what socialism, communism, and Marxism actually are, he continued.
“The American public should not be criticized too severely for its ignorance about communism when Webster’s Dictionary defines communism ‘as a social system marked by the common ownership of the means of production and common sharing of labor and products,” Dr. Edwards said.
Finally, Dr. Edwards had a little different take on May Day. “May Day is indeed a world-wide holiday of the Socialists, or Communists, but it is also the international distress signal. When we ignore or dismiss the history and the legacy of Socialism, we run the risk of repeating a terribly bloody page of history which included more than 100 million victims of communism, more deaths than all the wars of the 20th century,” he warned.