Principalities & Powers

The Enemy of the Nation

Not long before the collapse of the Soviet Union, when Mikhail Gorbachev was still in power and I was an editorial writer at the Washington Times, a bunch of Soviet “journalists” came to lunch at the newspaper.  At that time, I was still sufficiently in good graces with the paper’s management to be invited and to listen to the editors explain to the communists what a terrific paper the Times was.  (The ostensible purpose of these “editorial lunches” was to interview whatever VIP’s would accept an invitation to the city’s “Moonie paper,” but the real purpose was to show off the Times to the guests and impress them with how mainstream we were.)  The Times had the largely justified reputation of being an “anticommunist” newspaper, and one of the main things the visiting reds wanted to know was what it meant to be “anticommunist,” a term and concept that seemed to offend them deeply.

Wes Pruden, then the managing editor of the paper and the host of the luncheon, hastened to explain to them, accurately but perhaps banally, that, while the Times was certainly anticommunist, that did not mean that we were “against the Russian people.”  The commies hit the lighting fixtures.  The distinction between being anticommunist and being “against the Russian people” was incomprehensible...

Join now to access the full article and gain access to other exclusive features.

Get Started

Already a member? Sign in here