After Friday Sentencing, Flashback: Newspapers Painted Spies for Cuba as Endearing Elderly Couple

On Friday, Kendall and Gwendolyn Myers, who spied for Cuba, were sentenced to prison terms (life for him, six years for her) by the federal court in DC, an action which Washington Post reporter Spencer Hsu described as “a grim ending to the Myerses' idealistic embrace of the Cuban revolution.” Flashback to a June of 2009 NewsBusters post from when the couple was charged 13 months ago, illustrating how the New York Times and Washington Post painted the traitors as a lovable duo:

“She fell for his worldly sophistication” while he “admired her work helping ordinary people,” gushed a front page Friday [June 19] New York Times story on Gwendolyn and Kendall Myers, both charged with spying for communist Cuba for nearly 30 years. Deciding “to give the second half of their lives new meaning,” the couple found themselves “disillusioned with the pace of change in Washington” so they once moved to South Dakota, Times reporter Ginger Thompson charmingly related, where “they marched for legalized abortion, promoted solar energy, and repaired relations with six children from previous marriages.” How loveable. 

The Times story arrived 12 days after a front page Washington Post piece, “A Slow Burn Becomes a Raging Fire: Disdain for U.S. Policies May Have Led to Alleged Spying for Cuba,” in which reporters Mary Beth Sheridan and Del Quentin Wilber managed, though the couple's betrayal of their country (and the people of Cuba) started during the Carter administration, to include a shot at former President George W. Bush as the cap to a lead paragraph of, in the Weekly Standard's assessment, “Updikean brushstrokes.” To wit:

He was a courtly State Department intelligence analyst from a prominent family who loved to sail and peruse the London Review of Books. Occasionally, he would voice frustration with U.S. policies, but to his liberal neighbors in Northwest D.C. it was nothing out of the ordinary. “We were all appalled by the Bush years,” one said.

The Post story proceeded to relay how friends described Kendall Myers as a “witty intellectual” and a neighbor maintained: “When I heard they were arrested, I felt like they had arrested Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.”

Longer excerpts are in the June 21, 2009 NB post.

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center