Soviet Union Clash with Talk Radio Legend
A significant enough a voice on the right, Barry Farber penned an op-ed in The New York Times rallying to the defense of President Reagan by
1987, then embattled by the Iran Contra scandal.
“Harry S. Truman probably could not have identified the six republics that make up Yugoslavia, but his decision to jump to the aid of Marshal Tito accelerated the fragmentation of the Soviet bloc,” Farber wrote in the Times. “The notion of a President helping a Communist in 1948 makes the sale of arms to Iran today seem like an embassy party cookie push.”
“I happen to value Ronald Regan’s Kennedy-like ability to inspire, his Ike-like ability to be the genial daddy of the mall, his Trumanesque toughness to tyrants in all words and some deeds, his Nixon-like willingness to try bold foreign policy initiatives and his Rooseveltian knack of remaining popular through it all,” Farber wrote. “Call me wrong, even doltish, but I feel a new pride in this country, a new respect for this country, a new hesitancy in Moscow to commit aggression, a welcome paralysis among Moscow’s client states to pursue subversion, and economic optimism to match a rising Dow.”
Later that same year, the prestigious weekly Soviet newspaper Literaturnaya Gazeta published Farber’s denunciation of Soviet communism,
and Soviet crimes unedited, but with a response from the newspaper’s political editor Alexander Sabov.
The Soviet paper put a preface on the Farber op-ed, warning readers:
“Our correspondent in the USA has dictated to our editorial office alongside the article of Barry Farber the following note: ‘On your request, I am sending to you the article of the zealous advocate of the Truman Doctrine.
The author is a well-known publicist of ultraconservative outlooks. On New York radio an announcement on the unprecedented proposal for an adversary of the Soviet Union to write in Literaturnaya Gazetta was transmitted. If now the publication does not take place or is printed abridged a scandal would be fanned in the local press (in New York).’ We print a word-for-word translation of B. Farber’s article not because we fear
scandal, of course. It was in the essence of our editorial intention to give our readers a chance to get acquainted in the original with the stereotypes of anti-Sovietism and a concrete proof of the old way of thinking, which is clearly outdated in our time.”
Farber wrote that despite U.S. efforts to contain the spread of communism “it is less safe there (in Western Europe) than in 1947 because of the all-powerful Soviet military.” He wrote that Soviet control of Eastern Europe and installing Communist dictators in Angola, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Cuba and Nicaragua ended the goodwill the two nations had during World War II. “We loved the Soviet Union when it was our partner in the fight against Hitler. It would be good to love you again,” Farber wrote. He added that reforms proposed by Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev’s reform efforts, “gave us, too, a ray of hope and a little warmth in our hearts.”
Farber admitted to being impressed the Soviet paper did not censor him. “I listed every Soviet crime I could fit in. The Berlin blockade,
the repression of the Hungarian revolt, the invasion of Czechoslovakia, the downing of KAL flight 007, the refusal to let Jews and
others leave the Soviet Union, the invasion of Afghanistan, the takeover of the Baltic states. I called the role of all the Soviet
crimes,” he said. “I didn’t think they would actually print it. Actually, their preface to my article was rather mild. … I am flattered, encouraged
and impressed. But I will be more impressed when a Soviet writer can write the Literary Gazette and get it printed then get a
call from a Politburo member saying ‘Your politics are all wet but let me buy you a beer.’”
Farber was on the forefront of ABC Radio’s effort in the early 1990s to create a national stable of talkers called Talknet. After that fell apart, Farber joined Michael Castello and Alan Colmes to help form a new network called Daynet. For a while, he co-hosted a debate show with Colmes, pre-Hannity, called “Left to Right.”
Talkers Magazine called Daynet “one of the forerunners of today’s independent talk syndication scene.” He continues to do a weekend program on Talk Radio Network.
Farber, a household name to New York radio listeners for decades, didn’t actually reach a national audience until 1990. But then he was initially heard outside of New York on his one-hour weekend show carried by the Talk Radio Network, and he filled in for other weekday hosts.