From our Bureau of Flirty So-Called Journalists with some assistance from our Bureau of Journalistic Crimes Against Humanity
One of the most disturbing, nauseating, unprofessional, unseemly and unethical interviews ever aired on American television was conducted by Barbara Walters in May 1977, when she visited Fidel in his kingdom of Castrogonia.
Fawning over the murderous tyrant, flirting aggressively with him, plying him with softball questions, Barbara Walters made Fidel look like a jovial, charming, benevolent, and good-hearted guy to millions of Americans. Fidel did his utmost to look sexy.
Two of her toughest questions were: 1. Will you ever shave your beard? (Reply: “Yes, if the U.S. lifts the embargo”); 2. Are you married? (Reply: “Not in the bourgeois sense.”)
Ever the narcissistic greedy sociopath, Fidel asked Walters to pay him for the interview afterwards, off camera.
Barbara’s criminal performance as a propagandist for the Castro dictatorship was, of course, hailed by most of her peers in the American news media and is still remembered and praised as some sort of landmark achievement in journalism. Cuban exiles complained of the extreme bias displayed in the interview, only to be dismissed and reviled as troglodytes for daring to criticize Walters and for failing to admire Fidel.
How could anyone not like this charming hunk? So, what if he was a dictator? Unlike North Americans, all Latin Americans need dictators of some kind, and Fidel is a cute and cuddly one.
Fidel reciprocated all the warmth and flirting directed at him by his interviewer (see photo above dedicated to Walters) and the two remained chummy until Fidel croaked in November 2016. In 2002, Walters interviewed him again. To this day, I can’t bring myself to watch that second interview.
Forty-five years later, the rage I felt watching that interview in 1977 has only intensified, reaching ever higher volcanic levels, surpassing the combined volatility of Mounts Aetna, Fuji, Saint Helen’s, Mauna Loa, Vesuvius, Pinatubo, Krakatoa, Popocatépetl, Eyjafjallajökull, and Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai. Seeing her on television always made me seethe and change the channel. I even had trouble watching Gilda Radner impersonate her on Saturday Night Live. But thanks to Gilda, the flirting Walters acquired a new name in my memory forevermore as “Baba Waba.”
Awwww. Maybe now Fifo and Baba Waba can take their flirting to another level in the afterlife. And when Dan Rather joins them, what a winsome threesome they will make. Absolutely revolting, come to think of it.
As one might expect, tributes to Walters began to flood the airways and the internet in the U.S. as soon as her death was announced. Yeah. Of course.