It’s hard to have a conversation about Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin without using the world “murderer.” During his 30 years in power he had hundreds of thousands of people executed while millions of others died in gulags or from famine.
But during its World Cup coverage on Monday, Fox found a way to talk about Stalin and leave out all that murder and repression stuff. Because Stalin had a vacation house (known as a dacha) in Sochi, and the network aired a NatGeo segment that went through the home like it was being viewed by a couple on “House Hunters.”
It begins with National Geographic reporter Sergey Gordeev saying, “Think what you will about Joseph Stalin,” and it only gets worse from there. We see his office, which has a creepy, life-size doll of Stalin sitting at his desk. We see his bulletproof couch, where he sat watching Charlie Chaplin movies. We see his pool table, and Gordeev even uses his pool cue.
In fact, many details of the home were designed specifically to accommodate Stalin’s constant fear of assassination. Gee, I wonder why he was so afraid of that? Gordeev talked to the curator of Stalin’s dacha, and that’s as close as they come to addressing the horrors that Stalin visited upon his people. The curator said that he was a complex man, and that his actions while building a “great country” were “difficult for [her] to comprehend.” And that’s it.
The whole thing is astonishingly tone deaf. Even more so because Fox has stayed away from airing anything about Russia’s issues with homophobia, domestic violence and racism. But that murderous war criminal Stalin sure had a nice vacation house!
But don’t take my word for it. Many people on Twitter saw the segment, and were just as baffled.
I mean, it’s bad, but maybe I’m being a bit harsh about FOX’s coverage of the World Cup…
— Zack Goldman (@ThatDamnYank) June 25, 2018
The piece starts with "Think what you will about Joseph Stalin"
Uhhhhh yea…I do. Why are you now giving me an MTV Cribs tour of his house?
— 🇮🇸🇩🇰Ian Hest🇸🇳🇺🇸 (@IanHest) June 25, 2018
"This is Stalin's house. Look at how cool it is. Was he good, was he bad? Who knows? Now, back to the World Cup."
— Zito (@_Zeets) June 25, 2018
Fox Sports looked at all available content for the World Cup and said, "alright, let's do something on Stalin's vacation home and how he wasn't really that bad."
— Zito (@_Zeets) June 25, 2018
"Josef Stalin is one of history's most polarizing figures. While some say he was a genocidal monster responsible for the deaths of millions of his own people, others say his crib had a bitchin' hot tub. So which one was the real Stalin?" https://t.co/8VKHprALxU via @FoxSports
— Guillotinho 🇵🇹 (@comradeyouspurs) June 25, 2018
*a pre-World Cup meeting, Fox HQ, January*
A: Alright, we've got six mini-docs wrapped. We've got to cover Stalin, don't we?
B: Agreed. Do we talk about the genocide he caused? The famine? The personality cult?
C (a Baz Luhrmann type): His Dacha was 🔥🔥🔥.
(C sips his 4Loco.)
— Jeff Rueter (@jeffrueter) June 25, 2018
Think what you will about Fox and NatGeo, but they want you to know that Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin knew how to pick out a nice couch. But the rest of the death and misery he caused the Soviet people? Not so much.
– – – – – –
More World Cup on Yahoo Sports:
• Why England’s blowout win makes USMNT’s World Cup failure even worse
• English fan receives five-year ban for Nazi salute in Russia
• Report: FIFA knew of Russian doping, did nothing
• Why Swiss goal celebrations were both political, provocatic