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Left-wing Media Smears Ronald Reagan Over Hostage Release

Left-wing Media Smears Ronald Reagan Over Hostage Release

Radical left-wing media has no shame – and no journalistic ethics.  In its attempt to destroy the Republican Party, the propagandist media keeps going back in history to malign the Republican Party and historic Republican figures.

I say “destroy” the Republican Party because that is the current strategy of the left.  Numerous hosts and panelists on MSNBC have repeatedly called for the GOP to be “crushed,” “utterly defeated”.  

As part of that effort, the left is attempting to besmirch the history of the Republican Party.  They are even attacking the Reputation of President Lincoln with revisionist history.  They resurrect the Watergate Scandal when discussing President Nixon – without a balanced assessment of his extraordinary accomplishments (opening diplomatic relations with China and the passage of affirmative action programs to combat historic racism).

Now we have historical revisionism regarding President Reagan.  One of the earliest major accomplishments of the Reagan administration was the release of 52 American hostages who had been held for more than 400 days by the terrorist regime of the Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran.   Reagan’s predecessor, Jimmy Carter, was unable to secure the release despite months of negotiations.  Those are the facts.

We now have a new left-wing narrative re-interpreting – nay, falsifying — the facts.  

A little know Texas political operative named Ben Barnes claims that officials of the Reagan campaign – specifically former Texas Governor John Connally – sent messages to Khomeini to hold the hostages until after the election.   As the theory goes, this would take away a positive campaign development for the beleaguered Carter team – and give Reagan bragging rights if he were to win the election.  Which he did, of course.

Left-wing media ate up the latest story as if it were a factual revelation – occasionally admitting that there was not one scintilla of hard evidence in support of Barnes’s claim.  Headlines carried the claim as fact — such as “Reagan team tried to sabotage hostage talks before the 1980 election”.

Blogger Kevin Drum – in an attempt to breathe credibility into the story – wrote that part of Barnes’ story was corroborated by records that showed Connally did travel to the Middle East at the time – and Barnes was in the entourage.  This does not corroborate the story at all, but is an example of how the left misleads.

So, who is the Barnes character?  He was a political roust-about in Texas politics for most of his life.  At the time of his revelation, he was a desperately ill person in hospice with diminished capacity.

There was no evidence to support Barnes’ claim – no corroborating testimony.  In fact, if you applied traditional journalistic standards, the single-source story should never have been reported. No other witness.  No other documents.  Just a few of Barnes’ old buddies who recently recalled having heard that story from Barnes years ago. No one with direct knowledge.  It was nothing more than one-source gossip by a guy in the delirium of hospice.

Barnes said that the messages were sent to the Irani leadership through other parties in the Middle East during a visit to the region by Connally.  Barnes had accompanied him on the that trip.  The discussions undertaken during that trip were then reported to William Casey, chairman of the Reagan campaign.

According to liberal thinking.  Khomeini responded to the requests from the Reagan campaign in order to help the former California Governor defeat Carter.  We are to believe that Khomeini meddled in the election in favor of the tough-talking hawkish Reagan – an anti-Khomeini hardliner – over the weaker and less effective Carter.  According to Barnes, the message to Khomeini was to help Reagan get elected because he would give the Iranian leader “a better deal.”  That alone puts Barnes’ claim in the category of preposterous.

Reagan was ahead in the polls at the time.  If Khomeini was to use the hostages to influence the election, it is more likely he would have released them to Carter.  Barnes’ irrational theory alone – and the fact that Khomeini never got a “better deal” from Reagan — should have put Barnes’ claim in serious doubt. It just does not pass the smell test.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. Chuck

    Sorry due, but the truth hurts and Reagan ,was a sucky prez unless you were rich or a corporation, just like your hero Traitor Trump

    • Q

      And, you are delusional & just plain dumb! Sorry if the truth hurts!

  2. frank stetson

    I liked Ron the first term, even voted for him. Ron, the second term, not so much.

    He did the best job of any President with the tax code, just went a little too deep on the cuts screwing Bush who did the RIGHT THING costing him his second term and ushering in — the great one —- Bill Clinton — with his great economy and dalliances paving the way for Stormy to be OK and continuing the process of screwing up the tax code which every President since then has piled on top of.

    He did “tear down that wall” too even if I thought his approach too risky, he pulled it off.

    • spaceman spiff

      If anyone could simplify the tax code, I’d like to have that person put up for sainthood. Our tax code is top-heavy, biased, unfair, and cumbersome. There should be no need for tax lawyers in the number there now are. It’s time to defund the IRS instead of the Police. If there is one agency more hated and loathed than the IRS, I can’t imagine what it might be.
      I disliked Bill Clinton immensely, but have to give him credit for being the only President who managed to balance the budget TWICE during his terms in office. He did it by working closely with the Republican majorities in the House and Senate, but nevertheless he did it. I now repect him far more after his Presidency than I ever did while he was in office.
      We need to make it simple to file, simple to pay, and get rid of all the loopholes. Never happen, though. Too many lawyers out there with skin in the game. Lots of them would lose their livelihood without a complex tax code to exploit.
      I suggest a flat tax of 10% Federal, 5% State, 2% Municipal. Also, INVESTMENT of SSI money rather than the current method of paying in for 50 years and using the money paid to pay benefits rather than allowing the payers-in to invest it in strong mutual funds.
      Too bad we’ll never see such good ideas enforced.

      • frank stetson

        Here’s the best we have had so far:,on%20long%2Dterm%20capital%20gains.

        And it went downhill from there, all parties, every President.

        As to your interesting comments:

        – managing the budget has not much to due with taxation complexity, but OK. Probably Bill wouldn’t have been sitting sdo pretty IF Bush had not taken it on the chin by raising taxes. Like you, I hated Bush in office and have increased my respect ever since saying “I was wrong.” He is The Greatest Generation and he proved it in office once again
        – I agree, too many lawyers and other fingers in the pie make it difficult to simplify and cut them out
        – my fav was when Obama’s treasury guy screwed up while using turbo tax. I figured if HE can screw, what the hell am I checking so much for. Now that simplified things for me by setting me free, free, free, not to double check.
        – flat tax advantages the rich, disadvantages the poor — it’s simple math. Even with rigging and caveats, it still disadvantages the poor.
        – SSI privatized for individual investments is as STUPID as doing that for pensions with 401K. Today, you may not break the bank, but you will never lose. In your method, some people will lose, some will lose it all, and then the rest of us will have to cover them in welfare so we pay twice. PLUS — you forget where SSI is —- it’s invested in YOU, in the national debt, we are the largest single owner of the biggest portion of debt. IOW — instead of your method where we could pay twice for losers, in the current method, you get it twice. Once when it covers our/your debt, and twice when it support you in your old age. How you gonna do that with a privatized system? IF you privatize that, you take it out of debt and now have to find other backers like the Chinese or worse to cover our asses now, today. How do you plan to cover that?

  3. Tom

    Larry, a few things, Kuddos, that should be mentioned.

    On Nixon, at the end of his first term he ushered in the National Kidney Disease program to make kidney disease treatment covered under Medicare and Medicaid, which is part of SOCIAL SECURITY!!! So when you rail against SS, and when you want to see SS discontinued or sharply restructured, you are possibly getting rid of such a vital program. And you are also possibly getting rid of the nation program to combat diabetes. I liked “Tricky Dicky” as Dandy Don Merideth called him on Monday Night Football. See praise to Nixon and his kidney disease efforts at “”

    I liked Reagan too. His famous debate question, “Are you better off today?” is legendary. But there was a downside to Reagan that most ignored. Many do not remember the breaking of the Air Controllers Union which made the skies a bit more unsafe, especially during the strike. Many do not realize that he scammed the public with his misery index when he took the cost of gasoline and housing OUT of the indicator and made it look like things were not so miserable in the early 1980’s And the reality is Reagan gives the Dems a defense against Demented Joe because the government was essentially run by Nancy during Ronny’s last two years. And we seem to do just fine. So in the case of Biden, we will likely have Dr. Jill running the show. What’s the big deal, Nancy did just fine! LOL

    Now on the Iran hostage deal. I remember back then how much Iran Khomeini and the ruling Mullahs hated the USA because of our bent towards the Shah which we gave asylum to USA then flew him to Panama. “”. In the end, the Shah died in Egypt where he had been given asylum by Sadat, and we know what happened to Sadat. I liked Sadat, sorry to see him killed.

    At the time, there was much reporting about this hostage situation. Many reports were about Iran stalling negotiations in hopes of getting a better deal from Reagan, but the big thing Iran wanted to do was “retribution” to Carter. They hated Carter. And I do believe they were willing to deal with Reagan just to spite Carter – as foolish as this may sound, they were willing. Khomeini’s hate for Carter and his human rights rhetoric and Christian values trumped (no pun intended but if the shoe fits) their sensibility with regard to Reagan.

    Larry, I do not agree that the left is trying to “re-interpret” the hostage situation and Reagan. What this is, is actually a new narrative that the American people have never heard before. Barnes is basing his discussion on Gary Sick who was in the Carter Administration as the National Security Expert on Iran. Gary Sick’s book, “October Surprise” was published in 1991. There is a recent interview of Gary Sick, March 19, 2023, where John Yang, PBS Reporter, interviewed Gary Sick because he wanted to get the real story out before Carter dies in the nursing home.

    And the fact that the hostages were released just minutes after Reagan was sworn in, (a fact you do not specifically state) tells this Independent / Unaffiliated voter that something went on behind the scenes. I do not need to see and hear a gun being shot to know it was shot. I can “stink test the barrel” and know it was shot recently. You are right, there is your stink test, and then there is my stink test. On this one, I will give the left an ear based on my stink test.

    I think you should see the interview at “” before criticizing the left as being wacky and insane for surfacing these facts by a credible Gary Sick, whom you never mention. Barnes is not the expert, Gary Sick is the expert. And Gary is credible. As an Independent / unaffiliated voter, I like to look at all sources and get all of the facts. This interview is only 7 days old and very important. It deserves consideration. It is possible that your opinion is being influenced by a chronic case of PLSD (Present Leftwing Stress Disorder) and are on autopilot whenever presented facts by the left. I urge you to investigate this interview more.

    While there may not be a smoking gun, based on the preponderance of the evidence from back then, and Mr. Sick’s book and testimony, it is plausible that the Left has a point that is worthy of consideration. How sad it would be for the GOP if they ever found the smoking gun and had to admit that there ultimate idol actually broke the law (unauthorized dealings with foreign governments) and meddled in an election using a foreign government just like Hillary did. Oh the pain of it all!!!!

    And that is the verdict from the Throne of Independents.

    • Tom

      By the way, the unsaid implications behind the interview which you can watch when Mr. Sick talks about more favorable terms with Reagan is that this hostage crisis seems to have really been about unfair loan practices of the USA when it demanded payment of $8B of loans after the fall of the Shah. The unsaid implications in this interview seem to be that those second deal considerations (Carter being the first deal that Iran did not like, maybe it wanted to keep America great and get its money back) might have been Reagan willing to either forgive or restructure the loans to be more in favor of Iran and we the people never knew he did this! I do not think the smoking gun is the note to the PLA. I think the smoking gun lies in the financial records of the loan pre and post hostage situation!

  4. Darren

    I remember every ass hole of a Teacher in collage telling us ( Typical Republican, Regan is a Shoot From the hip guy ) and he is going to get us into a war.
    You know like they did with Trump.
    Except the opposite happened.
    When will Democrats’ spend time learning from history rather than taking statues down.
    It is always going to be the Scorpion and the Turtle.
    To bad the Republicans are the Turtle.

    • Tom

      The answer to your question is that the Dems will spend time learning history when you spend time in therapy for your hatred of the Dems and your willingness to see statues of people who supported slavery taken down. Seems fair doesn’t it?

      • Darren

        I do not hate Democrat’s for the simplicity that they are Democrat’s. Every person I meet starts out on a believe that we will
        get along great.
        It is along the time spent with them when a person sees differences with the individual.
        Although we do not agree on every thing, they can still be my friend and Vis Versa.
        At this point we have never talked politics, but sure as heck, probably about 70% turn out to be Democrat’s.
        I do not criticize them for what they believe, but in almost every instance their income or a family members income is derived
        from the taxes we pay. And their job is questionable as well.
        I am not talking Teacher, Fireman, Police officer.

        Most Democratic politicians have never created anything, do not repair anything, have never had to hire based on who in best for the job & company. Look at Republican Politicians and look at Democrat Politicians.

        If you yourself Tom runs a company, you have more experience running things than the people you have been voting for.
        They are just spending YOUR money on other people.

        If you are good with that , then you are were you should be.
        That simple!

        • Tom

          Wow the hate, negativism, and judgement just flow from your fingers to the keyboard. My position in life is quite comfortable dude. Yes I have run a company, my own company, as well as being an exec in another company. You obviously do not know history and all of the good that past Dems have done, ie. SSA, Medicare, Children’s Health Insurance Plan, Minimum Wage raises, Women’s Rights advocacy, Elderly Advocacy, captured Bin Laden, defeated ISIS, handled the worst nuclear war crisis in our history, won WWII and made the world safer, etc. etc. Try taking your own suggestion and reading history some time! Yes, actually you do criticize them for what they believe all of the time, I have read your posts and know you are lying. You have called Dems quite a few names for what they believe! You just called your teachers butt holes for what they believed about Reagan. LOL Yes, you are in need of the therapy I recommended! By the way, I am an Independent / Unaffiliated voter. I do not like Trump either. And for the most part, GOP presidents have been the ones that shoot from the hip the most, i.e. Trump most, Bush second most, Reagan third most but Reagan was in my belief much more balanced and thoughtful and had great charisma. You will find many Dems liked Reagan. That is where the term Reagan Democrats comes from!

        • Frank stetson

          Actually, most child welfare goes to red states. Most tax dollars go from blue states to red states. Maybe these people shouldn’t have kids if they can’t support either the kids or themselves without the rest of us giving them our tax dollars.

          We know who the scofflaws are Dareen.

          • Tom

            I love your misspelling! You are correct. 8 of the top 10 federal aid states are GOP! They cut their state taxes to get elected and then expect other states to fund them! Dareen does not realize this. So I found a visual aid to help him. See at “”.

        • Tom

          Actually 8 of the top 10 federal aid states are GOP held states! They cut their state taxes to get elected and then expect other states to fund them! I know this may be hard for you to understand. So I found a visual aid to help you. See at “”.

          So what state do you live in?

          • frank stetson

            State of Confusion which will be my epitaph too.

            “… Confusion will be my epitaph
            As I crawl a cracked and broken path
            If we make it we can all sit back and laugh
            But I fear tomorrow I’ll be crying” another king, and not of the independent throne type (is that a toilet?)

    • Frank stetson

      Are you comparing Trump with Reagan? I think I just vomited a little inside my mouth.

      • Tom

        Not comparing. Just listing in order of shooting from the hip. You are correct. Reagan had charisma and planning that Trump can only dream of, and Bush would take forever to learn. I liked Reagan. And actually I liked Nancy too. All three seemed to have nice wives but Melania is a bit of a mystery to me. I don’t think she really wanted to be a first lady, but at least we got a first lady with nude pics out there on the internet. That was kind of fun!

    • Frank stetson

      He was right about Reagan the cowboy b-star. Except he got away with it and as Larry pointed out; he wasn’t shooting from the hip; he planned it.

  5. Jpop

    At least he didn’t leave American behind ..and leave millions of dollars of military equiptment behind in a sloppy withdraw.

  6. Frank stetson

    You mean the equipment from the Republican that started the war, got bored, went elsewhere to look for invisible wmd’s or that other Republican that left a hell of a lot more in Vietnam?

    What a moronic thing to say.

    • Tom

      Yeah good point! We left enough equipment in Vietnam to field a whole army! That was one of the reasons the South (RVAN) lost was because in 1974-75 the Congress would not approve Ford’s request for equipment spare parts for South Vietnam. It kind of left them with equipment that would not work and “wish shells” as in gosh I wish I had shells to shoot! People do not realize that army equipment needs to be constantly maintained and goes to crap really quickly if it is not maintained. And you cannot keep a country free without shells.

      • frank stetson

        Tom, we lost because we were there for the wrong reasons, we were fighting true patriots and we didn’t have the will or the plan to win, from the top, not the men in the breach. Same with Afghanistan. Not to mention any sort of plan to nation-build beyond putting up strip malls and McDonalds…..

        That’s another reason funding Ukraine should be such a no-brainer; we are on the side of the patriots and they will rebuild their own nation in a manner that is probably more than acceptable to us. They just need a hand-up: Afghanistan and South Vietnam needed hand-outs.

        And again, Reagan may have seemed to shoot from the hip, but on Russia, as Larry pointed out, shooting from the hip was part of his strategic plan, was not a knee-jerk or some western movie idol adulation, he thought about it, planned it, and did it. Still was extremely dangerous, but it was a decided risk that, in hindsight, he pulled off magnificently. May have happened anyways, but it did happen Reagan’s way.

    • Jpop

      Not moronic as half the bullshit you spew day in and day out.

  7. Mike f

    Larry, Your dementia is showing! It was well known at the time of the hostage release that Iran had deliberately held off releasing the hostages until after the election to aid Reagan. Getting your undies in a bind over this just shows your lack of historical knowledge…