CNN Says Thatcher 'Decimated' British Communities, Industries

Reporting on the late Margaret Thatcher's legacy on Monday, CNN correspondent Max Foster hyped that she "decimated entire industries" in Britain and "decimated communities across the UK." He also cited Gerry Adams, the public face of the IRA for decades, as a valid critic of Thatcher -- as did CNN anchor Ashleigh Banfield.

In addition to citing praise for Thatcher, Foster offered a blistering critique on Monday's Starting Point: "This was the prime minister that decimated entire industries in the United Kingdom during her period in power as she broke the miners unions in a push towards privatization to create a more flexible British economy, which it has become. But she decimated communities across the UK. And a lot of people absolutely despise her legacy."

Foster appeared later on the 9 a.m. ET hour of Newsroom and quoted former Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams: "She was a divisive figure, and her arch-enemy in politics you could argue is Gerry Adams from Sinn Fein, Northern Ireland. They were at battle politically and some would say militarily as well, because of his links with the IRA."

Nevertheless, Foster quoted Adams as a legitimate critic, and lent credence to his words: "'Working class communities were devastated in Britain because of her policies.' You could argue that's true, if you look at what she did with the mining community,'" Foster explained Adams' criticism.

He continued with the statement: "'And her role in international affairs was equally belligerent, whether in support of the Chilean dictator Pinochet' – she certainly spent some time with him, lots of images of her with him. 'And her opposition to sanctions against apartheid South Africa'."

Elsewhere at the network, CNN contributor Donna Brazile didn't take long to tarnish Thatcher's legacy, just two hours after her death was announced.

Below is a transcript of the segments, which aired on April 8 on CNN:

CNN
STARTING POINT
4/8/13
[8:21 a.m. EDT]

MAX FOSTER, CNN correspondent: Yeah. I've been speaking to Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State, describing her as a great leader. Certainly, a towering figure in British politics, but also, in international politics. And everyone seemed to know her. You were talking there about with your previous guests about how she was quite a divisive figure. I mean, she certainly was.

This was the prime minister that decimated entire industries in the United Kingdom during her period in power as she broke the miners unions in a push towards privatization to create a more flexible British economy, which it has become. But she decimated communities across the UK. And a lot of people absolutely despise her legacy.

But Henry Kissinger's point was that she was a great leader. She threw her support behind Mikhail Gorbachev, which allowed the end of the Cold War because then he gained that sort of crucial support that he needed. And also with her relationship with Europe and also the Falklands, she mounted a successful campaign in the Falklands to keep that British.

And she was a great towering leader. She was, if nothing else, a leader. He also points out that she was a very warm character, very funny character, talking about her being very feminine as well. So, a lot of people that knew her certainly had a huge amount of respect for her. A lot of her political followers obviously did, as well, but many people didn't like her at all. And they would be glad she's gone, because certainly, nothing personal about the woman, but in terms of her policies, they were very controversial.

(...)

CNN
NEWSROOM
4/8/13
[9:12 a.m. EDT]

FOSTER: Also, Carol, we're starting to get the responses from around the world on this and senior figures. So David Cameron, the current prime minister of the same party as Margaret Thatcher, talking about his sadness. And also the president of the European commission, President Barroso, talking about Margaret Thatcher being a great stateswoman. And also Henry Kissinger telling me earlier that he saw her as a great leader.

But you heard Christiane there talking about how she has a mixed legacy, mixed feelings in the UK. She was a divisive figure, and her arch-enemy in politics you could argue is Gerry Adams from Sinn Fein northern Ireland. They were at battle politically and some would say militarily as well, because of his links with the IRA.

He has just issued a statement saying this, "Margaret Thatcher did great hurt to the Irish and British people during her time as British prime minister. Working class communities were devastated in Britain because of her policies." You could argue that's true, if you look at what she did with the mining community. "And her role in international affairs was equally belligerent, whether in support of the Chilean dictator Pinochet" – she certainly spent some time with him, lots of images of her with him. "And her opposition to sanctions against apartheid South Africa." So a divisive figure – Carol.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014