"[W]hat do you get for the serial human rights abuser who has everything?" the folks at Twitchy snarked today reacting to this tweet by CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour: "Happy Birthday, President Mugabe: http://on.cnn.com/VQ4kTK #Zimbabwe"
But wait, it gets better. The link in the tweet takes viewers to a short video [embedded below the page break] narrated by the CNN anchor, which opens with a strange comparison to Pope Benedict XVI:
Earlier this week, NewsBusters Editor at Large Brent Baker noted how the broadcast networks seemed oblivious to communist protesters outside the Copenhagen global warming summit.
But the Red-friendly red meat slogans are not just being tossed about by violent demonstrators outside the conference. Today NewsBusters sister site CNSNews.com noted how dissent-oppressing, private-land seizing dictators Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe yesterday denounced capitalism and praised socialism to a warm and receptive crowd at the Copenhagen climate change summit.
Of course neither ABC's "Good Morning America" nor CBS's "Early Show" or NBC's "Today" addressed that this morning in their brief updates on Copenhagen.
Reports CNS News International Editor Patrick Goodenough:
Inflation in Zimbabwe is so bad that in January the government released a $50 billion note — enough to buy two loaves of bread. The unemployment rate has risen to more than 85%. In 2008, Mugabe agreed to hold an election, but it became clear that he would accept the result only if he won. His supporters launched attacks on the opposition, killing 163 and torturing or beating 5000. He ultimately signed a power-sharing agreement with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, but since then Mugabe has broken its terms and installed his own people at the head of every ministry. Meanwhile, health conditions have reached crisis levels. More than 3800 Zimbabweans have died from cholera since August.
U.S. link: Although U.S. leaders have called for Mugabe’s resignation, imports from Zimbabwe (primarily nickel and ferrochromium, both used in stainless steel) rose in 2008.
There's actually much more of a U.S. link than that. Unmentioned is the role played by former president Jimmy Carter and other liberals. The Boston Globe reported in December, 1979 that "Carter Administration officials feel they have scored a major foreign policy success in Rhodesia." (Zimbabwe was formerly known as Rhodesia). The purported success was a settlement that set the stage for Mugabe's rise to power. This was months after the Washington Post described him as a "scholarly, avowed Marxist."
Robert Mugabe continues to take Zimbabwe into utter ruin. A former breadbasket when it was colonial Rhodesia, it is now a starving, rotting basket case.
The latest development in the ongoing nightmare: A sham "runoff" election where Mugabe is the only candidate, thanks to "violence against .... opposition members," whose candidate dropped out of the race less than a week ago.
For nearly a decade, we've been told, "Don't worry, (South African President Thabo) Mbeki will handle him."
On Tuesday’s CBS "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric reported on Zimbabwe’s opposition leader dropping out of an election against the nation’s socialist dictator, Robert Mugabe, and lamented how: "The fear and danger that now pervades the streets of Zimbabwe under President Robert Mugabe is a tragic departure from the hope and promise that began with his landslide victory nearly 30 years ago." File footage of an unidentified reporter covering Mugabe’s 1980 election followed: "A self-described Marxist has won the right to form the first government of the new state of Zimbabwe."
Couric continued to describe Mugabe’s promising rise to power:
When Robert Mugabe was first elected in 1980, he was a hero. He was seen as one of Africa's most promising black leaders...The son of a carpenter, the revolutionary and former school teacher said he had, quote, "inherited the jewel of Africa." A country rich in resources, Zimbabwe claimed independence from Britain in 1965 when it was known as Rhodesia. During the '80s, Zimbabwe's government received international support...at a time its neighbor, South Africa, practiced apartheid. The country's economic condition and public health improved. But in the '90s, Mugabe became more authoritarian. This one-time revolutionary squashed all opposition and faced charges of cronyism and corruption.