Corporate media’s depiction of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is often cartoonish, but the lead from David Frum’s piece from CNN.com (10/9/12) takes the cake: Venezuela’s authoritarian president Hugo Chavez is a villain out of a Batman movie: buffoonish and sinister in equal measure. You want to be careful about throwing around words like “buffoonish,” though, when you’re making arguments like “Hugo Chavez has laid Venezuela’s economy to waste.” Here’s a chart of Venezuela’s per capita GDP since 1999, when Chavez was first elected; since 2003, when Chavez took control of the national oil company from its self-enriching management, the purchasing […]
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 […]
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 […]
Some campaign disputes can be tricky to sort out. Others are not. That’s why media coverage that takes the both-sides-have-a-point approach can be so disappointing, if not dangerous. Take Mitt Romney’s recent claim that the White House was “gutting” the work requirements in the 1996 welfare “reform” law. As a Romney TV ad put it: “Under Obama’s plan, you wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job. They just send you your welfare check.” That charge earned a “Pants on Fire” from PolitiFact (8/7/12), which pointed out that the policy change that is supposedly at issue […]
You can count on U.S. corporate media to express alarm about the threat posed by left-wing governments in Latin America. Sometimes it’s military hype (think Soviet MiGs in Nicaragua), but more typically it takes the form of a generalized concern about certain governments’ commitment to democratic ideals. But how do you sound the alarm about left-wing threats to democracy when actual elected left-wing leaders are being removed in anti-democratic coups? That’s no easy feat, but some reporters are up to the challenge. In the Washington Post on July 22 (under the headline “Latin America’s New Authoritarians”), reporter Juan Forero explains […]
Left-wing activist and author Noam Chomsky is in the New York Times today: The American linguist Noam Chomsky, a prominent source of intellectual inspiration for President Hugo Chavez, made a new appeal on Wednesday for the release of Maria Lourdes Afiuni, a judge arrested two years ago by the secret intelligence police. If you find it a little surprising that Chomsky’s views on international affairs would be reported in the Paper of Record, and if you’d be inclined to believe the Times finds his views newsworthy only because Chomsky is criticizing Chavez (which they’ve done before)… well, you might not […]
The Washington Post‘s Juan Forero comments today (6/30/11) on how Hugo Chavez’s illness means that he’s off television: Chavez governs like the host of a reality show, cameras always rolling as he presides over summits, hectors opponents and warns of diabolical American plots to unseat him. Wherever would he get such ridiculous ideas.
Longtime Hugo Chavez critic Jackson Diehl leads his Washington Post column today (9/27/10) Debate in Washington about Hugo Chavez –to the extent that it exists–generally centers on whether the Venezuelan strongman is a genuine threat to the United States or a buffoonish nuisance who is best ignored. This narrow debate over Chavez’s rule in Venezuela is something FAIR has documented on the country’s top op-ed pages. Of course, Diehl’s point is that Chavez is a genuine threat, so anyone who takes the other position–that he’s merely an annoying buffoon–is naive.
As Steve Rendall explained here last week,the recent Washington Post editorial (“Colombia Proves Again That Venezuela Is Harboring FARC Terrorists”) doesn’t really back up its argument that there is some sort of Venezuelan conspiracy to aid the Colombia rebel group FARC. “That Venezuela is backing a terrorist movement against a neighboring democratic government has been beyond dispute since at least 2008,” the Post claimed–though there is most certainly a dispute about that evidence. On Saturday (7/31/10), the Post printed an article by Latin America correspondent Juan Forero, which took a look at this controversy.What’s most notable is that he doesn’t […]
The Washington Post‘s latest attack on Venezuela comes in an editorial headlined: “Colombia Proves Again That Venezuela Is Harboring FARC Terrorists.” The editors don’t say why a point already proved needs be proved again, but before offering the new evidence, they recount the old claim that laptops captured by Colombia from FARC guerrillas have clearly established links between the Venezuelan government and the FARC: That Venezuela is backing a terrorist movement against a neighboring democratic government has been beyond dispute since at least 2008, when Colombia recovered laptops from a FARC camp in Ecuador containing extensive documentation of Mr. Chavez’s […]
It’s not a huge surprise that a correspondent for a newspaper that supported the coup that ousted Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez would dislike a film that offers a more sympathetic view of Chavez’s politics. That said, Larry Rohter’s review (New York Times, 6/26/10) of the new Oliver Stone film South of the Border still manages to surprise–mostly because Rohter’s attempt to fact-check the movie is such a failure. Rohter’s first big catch is this: Mr. Stone argues in the film that Colombia, which “has a far worse human rights record than Venezuela,” gets “a pass in the media that Chavez […]
In his latest “Dispatch from the Bolivarian Revolution”, blogger Eric Wingerter (BoRev.net, 7/18/09) asks, “Man oh man, how bad does AP reporting have to get before a group of Latin American studies professors from top U.S. universities decides they need to take out a FULL-PAGE AD in the Columbia Journalism Review to respond?” His answer is “Bad bad”–as illustrated in the ad’s text: The Associated Press has breached basic journalistic principles with these false reports: [Hugo] Chavez initially suggested the synagogue attack might have been carried out by Jews eager to portray his government as anti-Semitic. –AP February 8, 2009 […]
The Washington Post editorial page produced a remarkable editorial on Saturday (3/21/09) headlined “Victory in El Salvador.” It’s not surprising that the Post would try to argue that the victory of left-wing FMLN presidential candidate Mauricio Funes was not another sign that the region’s politics are shifting to the left. No, in fact it was a blow to folks like Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez: “El Salvador’s election was also a triumph for a system that Mr. Chavez has disregarded: liberal democracy.” The Post didn’t elaborate on that idea. They did, unfortunately, attempt to recast U.S. involvement in El Salvador’s bloody […]