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Ian Smith

Adam Bernstein

It's been illuminating to read many takes on Ian Smith, the Rhodesian leader who in the 1960s and 1970s defied the transition to black rule in Africa.

I would urge readers to look at three major British papers for their vastly different styles: The Telegraph, the Guardian and the Times of London. The lefty Guardian really does a number on Smith and, like the Times, highlights his physical deformities at the top of the story as if they were important to understanding his character. I think this approach dubious, like an ad hominem attack.

The Times also offers a revealing video interview with Smith that was posted on You Tube and provides a generous view of his administration.

On a fun aside, I did an obituary for Lester Ziffren, a onetime wire service reporter in Madrid who used a simple code to sneak around censors and break news of the Spanish Civil War. His daughter also became a journalist and at one point worked at Town & Country magazine, known for its photo illustrations of mansions and all the possessions within. As such, she said, the magazine won the nickname "Burglar Monthly."

I would also urge readers to see another account of ZIffren's life in the New York Sun as well as a 1937 Time magazine account of Ziffren's news from Spain about "bumping off parties."

By Adam Bernstein  |  November 21, 2007; 11:38 AM ET
Categories:  Adam Bernstein  
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