It’s Propaganda, All Right—Against Bernie Sanders

It’s Propaganda, All Right—Against Bernie Sanders

It’s Propaganda, All Right—Against Bernie Sanders

The debate we need simply won’t take place if those challenging the failed policies of the past are met not with argument but with slurs.


EDITOR’S NOTE: Each week we cross-post an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at the Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.

There it was, placed prominently on the front page of The New York Times, the already told story of Bernie Sanders as Burlington, Vermont, mayor taking a delegation to the Soviet Union in 1988 to establish a sister-city relationship with the town of Yaroslavl. “Previously unseen documents,” the subtitle intones, suggest “Moscow saw a chance for propaganda.”

Here’s the reality: In the late 1980s, the Soviet Union, under reformist leader Mikhail Gorbachev, was opening up. Gorbachev had launched perestroika and glasnost, his sweeping reforms to try to modernize the Soviet system. The arch cold warrior President Ronald Reagan visited Moscow at almost the same time as Sanders. I was on Red Square in May 1988 as the two leaders walked together, and Reagan stopped to explain to journalists that the Soviet Union had changed so much under Gorbachev that he no longer considered it an “evil empire.”

Dozens of American cities were forging relationships with Soviet cities with Reagan’s encouragement. Known as citizen diplomacy, these efforts sought to break down barriers, to engage citizens directly in learning about one another in the hope of promoting better relations between the two nations and averting a nuclear arms race based on mutually assured destruction.

Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.

Thank you for reading The Nation

We hope you enjoyed the story you just read, just one of the many incisive, deeply-reported articles we publish daily. Now more than ever, we need fearless journalism that shifts the needle on important issues, uncovers malfeasance and corruption, and uplifts voices and perspectives that often go unheard in mainstream media.

Throughout this critical election year and a time of media austerity and renewed campus activism and rising labor organizing, independent journalism that gets to the heart of the matter is more critical than ever before. Donate right now and help us hold the powerful accountable, shine a light on issues that would otherwise be swept under the rug, and build a more just and equitable future.

For nearly 160 years, The Nation has stood for truth, justice, and moral clarity. As a reader-supported publication, we are not beholden to the whims of advertisers or a corporate owner. But it does take financial resources to report on stories that may take weeks or months to properly investigate, thoroughly edit and fact-check articles, and get our stories into the hands of readers.

Donate today and stand with us for a better future. Thank you for being a supporter of independent journalism.

Ad Policy