The Post’s False History on Nicaragua

The Washington Post editorial yesterday on Nicaragua begins:

Through much of the 1980s, the United States waged a proxy war to prevent Daniel Ortega and his Sandinista party from consolidating a dictatorship in Nicaragua. In 1990, Mr. Ortega finally agreed to hold a presidential election, which he lost….

That history is false. Nicaragua held a presidential election in 1984, which Ortega won. The 1990 vote happened on schedule in accord with the Sandinista constitution. This is a fact that the Post has gotten wrong before in its news pages. Ironically, the Post was credited in Extra! (10-11/87) for reporting on a

“secret-sensitive” NSC briefing paper which outlined a “wide-ranging plan to convince Americans [that the] Nicaraguan elections were a ‘sham.'”

There are certainly legitimate questions about Ortega’s rule; but if the Post can’t get the recent Nicaraguan past right, why should one bother reading what they think of the present?

The paper does admit, though, that “there is no need for another Contra army.” Well, there’s a relief.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.