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MediaWatch: May 1996

Vol. Ten No. 5

Hugh Downs' Hate Radio

Hugh Downs may seem harmless hosting 20/20, but in the Spring Forbes MediaCritic Steve Kroll revealed another side -- a liberal ideologue in weekly commentaries for ABC Radio's Perspectives. From 1990: "The Reagan-Bush team did more than just support dictatorial rule around the world. It helped foster a climate of dictatorship at home." In 1994, on the Gulf War: "Nobody in his right mind would incinerate or blow up innocent children, but that's exactly what the United Nation's said that American bombs did in Iraq."

Downs had quite a conspiratorial view of the discredited October Surprise theory, which he said "has tentacles that reach deep into the empire of Manuel Noriega, into the scandal at BCCI, and into the...destruction of Iraq....For 11 years suspicions have grown that renegade intelligence officers illegally seized the American government....There is a growing number of reasons to believe that the October Surprise is true."

Finally, Kroll noted that Downs attempted to "liken Ronald Reagan to a communist dictator because he entertained the idea of repealing the 22nd Amendment, which limits a President to two terms. While Gorbachev attempts `to liberalize the Soviet Union by adopting Thomas Jefferson's democracy,' opined Downs, Reagan `in almost mirror-like fashion,' moves `toward absolute rule.'"