Barbara Walters, so-called ‘journalist’ who flirted with Fidel Castro, dead at 93

Best friends forever, even though he couldn’t even spell her surname correctly

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.

Baba Waba’s second interview with Fifo in 2002

3 thoughts on “Barbara Walters, so-called ‘journalist’ who flirted with Fidel Castro, dead at 93”

  1. She was only a symptom of a much bigger disorder, though she made it clearer than some. To her that 1977 interview, like any interview, was simply a career move, a scalp to add to her collection, a trophy. She wasn’t in it for “journalism,” same as so many others one could name. She was in it for BW.

    As for misspelling her name (apparently both first and last names), it’s a typical Castroite chapucería.

  2. For me, the key moment from that first interview (I never saw the second one nor care to) was when she asked a supposedly ordinary and “representative” Cuban for his opinion of the “revolution,” and of course got the glowing response she had to know she’d get, since Castro was standing next to her. That is all anyone needs to see from that interview or know about her as a “journalist.” It sunk her in my mind forever.

  3. Needless to say, such a high-profile interview would never have been granted to anyone unless its subject were assured it would favor him, meaning there was a price tag, and Walters was happy to pay it because she’d also get hers. Obviously, the target audience was not “those people,” who’d tune in to watch it anyway, at least till they got too sick of it to go on. It was a classic example of the American establishment’s lack of respect and disdain for Cuban exiles. And, to paraphrase Mae West, journalism had nothing to do with it (except as pretext to advance a career and get big TV ratings).

    It’s curious, though, that after spending most of his life in costume, FC never looked right out of it.

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