Venezuela’s left-wing populist President Hugo Chávez died on Tuesday, March 5, after a two-year battle with cancer. If world leaders were judged by the sheer volume of corporate media vitriol and misinformation about their policies, Chávez would be in a class of his own. Shortly after Chávez won his first election in 1998, the U.S. government deemed him a threat to U.S. interests—an image U.S. media eagerly played up. When a coup engineered by Venezuelan business and media elites removed Chávez from power, many leading U.S outlets praised the move (Extra!, 6/02). The New York Times (4/13/02), calling it a [...]
His independence, help for Venezuela's poor will not be forgiven
This week on CounterSpin: Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez is dead but his independence and help for Venezuela's poor remains unforgiven in the US press. We'll talk to Mark Weisbrot of the Center for Economic and Policy Research about what media's portrayal of Chavez says about media.
Also on the show: Bradley Manning's trial took a dramatic turn when he explained, in great detail, the reasons why he uploaded thousands of sensitive files to the website WikiLeaks. His goal was to spark public debate about U.S. war and foreign policy. Kevin Gosztola has been covering the trial for firedoglake.com he'll join us to talk about Manning's statement, and about the implications the trial has for press freedom.
Extra! March 2013
If It Weren’t for Those Meddling Iranians “This demonstrates the ever pernicious Iranian meddling in other countries in the region.” —unnamed U.S. official complaining to Reuters (1/28/13) about Iran allegedly sending arms to Yemen, where the U.S. is conducting a secret drone war Extreme Weather, Unexplained NBC Nightly News (1/13/13) asked a serious question, then offered an unserious answer. Anchor Lester Holt remarked: “Strange winter: Why it is so cold where it should be warm, and so warm where it should be cold. What is going on with all this extreme weather?” Correspondent Kristen Dahlgren turned to the Weather [...]
U.S. coverage of Venezuelan and Georgian elections
Amnesty International (10/1/12) describes it as a nation where ruling party officials have “abused public institutions and administrative re-sources to restrict the freedom of assembly, expression and association of opposition supporters,” many of whom have been “fined, fired, harassed or detained.” Free speech advocates condemned its president for shuttering an opposition TV station for alleged complicity in a coup plot, right before its 2008 elections. The region’s leading election monitor found those elections plagued by violence, intimidation and ballot box-stuffing. Its president has been criticized for changing the law to sidestep term limits and remain in power. Venezuela? No—U.S. ally [...]
Workers at Wal-Mart walked off the job this week and that is business far from usual at the retail giant. Reporter Josh Eidelson explains why it’s a game-changer. And U.S. media were rooting against Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. Journalist and activist Keane Bhatt will tell us about the worst of the coverage.
To NYT, ‘arms spending’ doesn't mean spending on arms
A report in the New York Times on Venezuela’s international arms purchases (“Venezuela Spending on Arms Soars to World’s Top Ranks,” 2/25/07) used selective information and an alarmist tone to suggest that Venezuela’s military spending was a potential threat to regional stability. Reporter Simon Romero’s story began: Venezuela’s arms spending has climbed to more than $4 billion in the past two years, transforming the nation into Latin America’s largest weapons buyer and placing it ahead of other major purchasers in international arms markets like Pakistan and Iran. By putting Venezuela in the company of Pakistan and Iran—whose military programs have [...]
Painting Chávez as a 'would-be dictator'
Hugo Chávez never had a chance with the U.S. press. Shortly after his first electoral victory in 1998, New York Times Latin America reporter Larry Rohter (12/20/98) summed up his victory thusly: All across Latin America, presidents and party leaders are looking over their shoulders. With his landslide victory in Venezuela’s presidential election on December 6, Hugo Chávez has revived an all-too-familiar specter that the region’s ruling elite thought they had safely interred: that of the populist demagogue, the authoritarian man on horseback known as the caudillo. Notwithstanding that interring caudillos has not been a consuming passion of Latin America’s [...]