What Are Enemies For?: Iran Sham Helps PBS Smear Chavez

It’s no secret that U.S. media outlets don’t have much love for left-wing Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.  A PBS NewsHour segment (10/5/12) just ahead of the recent election  showed just how far you could go.

Correspondent Ray Suarez opened by calling the election “a watershed moment for the world’s second-largest oil-producing nation and a critical supplier of crude oil to the U.S”–I guess we know what makes Venezuela important to the United States.

Chavez has “openly antagonizing the United States as he’s cozied up to the world’s most isolated regimes.” And Suarez has an example:

He’s continued to thwart American efforts on a range of international issues, such as Washington’s attempt to convince Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to halt his country’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.

There is no evidence that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons. We’ve been over this before with the NewsHour; early this year the show actually chopped a quote from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, removing the part where he said there was no evidence that Iran was pursuing a nuclear weapon.

This is arguably the most important fact about the Iran crisis–that the country is facing harsh sanctions and the threat of military strikes over unsubstantiated suspicions about a nuclear weapons program. But it’s apparently important for U.S. media outlets to turn this allegation into a fact…especially in a story about another Official Enemy. 


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.