02 August 2010
The fun of having your political opponents make your point for you

I was watching Roger Simon’s YouTube piece on Walter Duranty - the New York Times correspondent who covered up the Ukrainian famine in the 1930s.  I thought: “Well, I wonder if the reporting in the (London) Times was any better?”  And so I looked through some old editions online.  And then I found a really interesting letter - one that uses Duranty’s very own words to make the point that - at very least - food was very scarce in Russia.

This is something I have found myself when writing about railways.  One of the best writers around is Christian Wolmar who I am pretty sure is some sort of socialist.  However, time and time again he would come up with the facts to support the libertarian argument.

By the way, in terms of reporting, although there are dark hints, the Times didn’t really come to terms with the fact that there had been a famine until a couple of years later.  We have to bear in mind that it had no correspondents in the Soviet Union, all its reporting was done out of Riga in Latvia and its main source was official Soviet reports.

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