If you’re listening to a report on an Official Enemy like Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, you expect to hear a litany of misdeeds, real or imagined, about the leader in question. Just check out ABC World News (10/7/12), where anchor David Muir started out with this:
And a fierce enemy of the United States, Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez, faces the toughest election of his life tonight.
It’s hard to know what Chavez has done to earn that label, but moments later Muir put this question to correspondent Jorge Ramos:
MUIR: We all know that President Chavez has almost made it political sport to become friends with our own rivals here in America, but he also controls a significant amount of oil that comes to the United States.
RAMOS: There is a lot at stake for the United States here in Venezuela. On a personal level, we have to remember that President Hugo Chavez has insulted both President Barack Obama and George W. Bush. But going beyond the personal level, we have to remember that Venezuela exports billions of barrels of oil to the United States, and Hugo Chavez can disrupt oil prices just with a phone call. And, also, that Chavez is the most important ally of Iran in the region. And even though President Barack Obama once told me that he does not consider Hugo Chavez to be a threat to national security, many Republicans don’t agree on this with President Barack Obama, David.
So the “personal” insults of American presidents, the ability to disrupt the oil market with a phone call (who would he be calling, exactly?), cozying up to Iran and some Republicans say he’s a national security threat. There’s probably something that Ramos left out, but for one passage in a news broadcast, that’s a pretty efficient use of space.