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Corporate media attack Venezuela

John Dolva

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The washington cliques mouthpiece conveys a message of 'surprise' 'disappointment' and 'displeasure' at the universal rejection by the sovereign nations of america of the repressive policies of the empire? :news // DOLVA


yes John but elites never never ever give up (CUBA TAKE NOTE) example ...that's 1791 Haiti ...1791

REVOLT in the year 1791 and fighting Haiti independence ever since.

Weekend Edition Feb 27-Mar 01, 2015

Malcolm X’s Internationalism

The Struggle for Liberation in Haiti Today



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I know Steve. I don't know whether to be cynical or vomit or laugh. At some time the moral compass went haywire. They're locked on some weird path of self destruction. If it wasn't for the fact they control a massive arsenal of mass destruction I'd just let them, to it. The end will be the same but they'll drag billions of opponents with them.

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  • 2 months later...

Don’t Believe Mainstream US Media Coverage of Venezuela


Sonali Kolhatkar




Diplomatic relations between Venezuela and the U.S. have just taken a big hit, with the government of Nicolas Maduro demanding that the American Embassy in Caracas reduce its staff by 80% and that U.S. visitors apply for visas.

Most symbolically, Venezuela has now barred a number of U.S. officials from visiting, including George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. The backdrop to these political moves is a new crisis within Venezuela that has an old script: right-wing leaders plan a coup, with the U.S. deeply implicated; wealthy protesters take to the streets; and the Western media cover both stories with great sympathy while openly mocking the democratically elected government for attempting to defend itself.

The latest crisis began when authorities acting on Maduro’s orders arrested Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma in mid-February. A well-known right-wing opposition figure, Ledezma will face trial for conspiracy against the government in what is now being called the “blue coup.” Among the pieces of evidence the government says it has collected are phone calls made by the mayor to a U.S. phone number, as well as a cache of weapons, including Molotov cocktails, grenade-like explosives and gas masks, found in the office headquarters of the opposition political party.

Ledezma is being held in the same facility as another right-wing politician, Leopoldo Lopez, who was arrested last year for overseeing a plan called La Salida, or “the exit,” to overturn the government. Lopez has had dealings with U.S. government figures including Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. According to Wikileaks, the two apparently “discussed possible media strategies with Lopez, and methods for getting his positive message to audiences in the U.S.” Just before Ledezma’s arrest, he, Lopez and other right-wing opposition leaders, including Maria Corina Machado, had signed a document calling for a “National Transition”—a move the government says was a precursor to a U.S.-backed coup.

The U.S. has long been involved in attempts to destabilize Venezuela’s socialist government. Its role in the 2002 coup against Hugo Chavez is well-documented. Over the years, many organizations, including ones in which right-wing opposition figures are involved, have received funding from the likes of USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), both U.S.-based agencies notorious for fomenting unrest in countries hostile to U.S. interests. For example, Machado headed an organization named Sumate that has received funding from the NED.

U.S. officials have also made no secret about their hostility to Venezuela. Last year the Obama administration imposed sanctions on a number of Venezuelan officials it claims are implicated in human rights abuses and corruption, although it is keeping the list of names secret. In President Obama’s 2015 National Security Strategy, he announced that the U.S. would “stand by the citizens of countries where the full exercise of democracy is at risk, such as Venezuela.”

Despite this documentation of American animosity toward Venezuela, media outlets continue to harbor an inexplicable blind spot on the U.S. role. The New York Times opined last week in what we can consider Exhibit A in the case against media coverage of Venezuela:

Listening to embattled President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela ramble for hours about an international right-wing conspiracy to oust him, it’s clear that he would use any fabricated pretext to jail opposition leaders and crack down on dissent. In recent days, the government’s claims have become outlandish and its repression of critics even more vicious.

Professor Miguel Tinker Salas, one of the few U.S.-based experts on Venezuela, has written a book that will be released May 4 titled “Venezuela: What Everyone Needs to Know.” In an interview on “Uprising,” he responded to the editorial, saying, “We know that there was a historical amnesia on the part of the New York Times that celebrated the 2002 coup against Hugo Chavez.”

Salas was referring to the paper’s mea culpa at initially celebrating that coup and then retracting its words days later when it was overturned. In its new editorial, the paper failed to raise the historical context of U.S. backing for the 2002 coup or its own contradictory stances dismissing Maduro’s concerns.

Exhibit B is The Economist, which went as far as headlining the current crisis in Venezuela “A slow-motion coup.” If by “coup” the magazine means “coup d’état”—which is generally defined as the illegal takeover of a government—then it is unclear what the writers mean, for the article claims the “regime is lurching from authoritarianism to dictatorship.” (Is Maduro’s government organizing a coup against itself?) The magazine also goes on to assert that “Crackpot economic policies have brought food shortages, soaring inflation and rising poverty.”

Salas explained that the writers are irked by the fact that “ixty percent of the government’s budget actually goes to social programs and [the opposition] would rather it go to infrastructure and oil companies so that they can produce more oil and have a larger supply of oil on the world market, and have it be privately owned.”

Thanks to this type of media coverage, the Venezuelan right-wing opposition has been extremely successful at generating sympathy, especially among the U.S. public, and even among American celebrities. Last year’s right-wing protests inspired a shout-out by actor Jared Leto during his Oscar acceptance speech, a supportive blog post by Kevin Spacey and even a social media post by singer Madonna.

What neither the Times nor The Economist nor the supportive celebrities notice are the troubling double standards of criticizing Venezuela when a close U.S. ally such as Mexico suffers from far worse problems of anti-democratic corruption and violence. Salas pointed out the hypocrisy, saying that 43 people were killed in Venezuela last year on both sides of the divide, and still, “The New York Times blames the government for these deaths, and yet they remain silent about the 43 students that were killed in Mexico.” Additionally, Salas pointed out, although Mexico has “100,000 dead and a real humanitarian crisis,” the Times says “almost nothing, while on Venezuela they ... mock the government.”

A November 2014 editorial by the Times on Mexico’s 43 missing students expressed not nearly as much vitriol for that country’s clearly corrupt and discredited government as the paper reserves for Venezuela’s Maduro, whom it called “authoritarian,” “erratic” and “maniacal.”

Additionally, The Economist’s mocking of Venezuela’s economic crisis is also hypocritical because, according to Salas, in Mexico, “fifty percent of the population lives in poverty” and yet the country “is portrayed as a model for Western development and neo-liberal economics.” And while media outlets make fun of Venezuela’s toilet paper shortage, Salas counters that in Mexico, which is a U.S. ally, huge numbers of “people don’t even have access to basic services and foods.”

Media coverage of Venezuela is so skewed that even the contentious issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict seems to generate fairer coverage these days. Salas attributed the bias to the savvy organizing of right-wing Venezuelan groups, who he says have “learned the lesson very well from Cuban Americans in Miami and South Florida, so they know how to target the media, they know how to create public opinion and they have done that very well.”

But Salas thinks there is another explanation, and that is “the lack of knowledge that existed about Venezuela in the U.S. before Hugo Chavez came to power.” Most of what Americans knew about the country other than that it had abundant oil reserves was the fact that it once won a Miss Universe contest and was home to a few good baseball players. That ignorance has been a perfect blank slate on which the U.S. government, mainstream media and right-wing opposition parties have been able to carve their warped perspectives about Venezuela’s left-wing government.

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  • 4 weeks later...
Is Western media balanced on any scale?
By Joe Emersberger, teleSUR
Western media bias against Venezuela is shameless.

Two years ago, a news article about Venezuela in the Christian Science Monitor reported that “Globovisión, widely considered to be the last standing television station to aggressively criticize the Chávez regime, was sold to a group of businessmen believed to be friendly with the government.” It is only one sentence in one news article, but in a few ways it reveals that the western media has spent well over a decade parroting anything said by the Venezuelan opposition which is funded and staunchly backed by the US government. For one thing, Andrew Rosati, the reporter I quoted, refers to Venezuela’s democratically elected government as a “regime”. That alone indicates that coverage of the Venezuelan government has been almost one hundred percent negative. Would any reporter refer to “the Obama regime”, and would it ever get past an editor? The same applies to US allies. Good luck finding a western reporter who would dare call Israel’s government a “regime” in a news article.

I’ve already written a piece explaining that Venezuelan opposition leaders appeared on major private broadcasters, Televen and Venevision, to accuse the government of murder, repression and theft while violent anti-government protests raged in February of 2014 – several months after the ownership change at Globovisión. These leaders were given ample time to speak and were treated very respectfully as they ferociously attacked the government. Venevision has the largest audience share for news of any public or private broadcaster in Venezuela. As of 2013, Televen also had a larger share than Globovisión. In other words, possibly without knowing it, Andrew Rosati, like countless other reporters, was spreading an outrageous lie. Globovisión was never the only major broadcaster where Venezuelans could easily find aggressive anti-government views. But what exactly happened to Globovisión since the ownership change in May of 2013?

Researchers with the American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) in Washington DC just released a study that found that
Globovisión is not biased towards the Venezuelan government or the opposition since the ownership change. Opposition supporters immediately attacked the study for being commissioned by Globovisión even though the researchers tried to make the findings palatable to the hopelessly biased international media.

The CLALS study examined coverage of four key events since the ownership change: the 2013 municipal elections, opposition protests in early 2014, internationally mediated talks between the government and opposition in the spring of 2014, and the shortages of goods during the summer of 2014.

The researchers explained “we identified thirteen news or opinion programs that regularly covered contemporary political topics of interest to this study. Rather than randomly select broadcasts from these thirteen programs, however, we chose to focus on those with the highest viewership,..”.

They then selected twenty five broadcasts for each period by using the following methodology “researchers listed all broadcasts of the three selected programs in chronologi­cal order over the entire period. Second, researchers used the random number generator function, ‘RAND(),’ which generates a random number between 0 and 1 for each broadcast. Third, research­ers sorted all broadcasts in ascending order based on these random numbers and selected the first twenty-five broadcasts within each critical juncture.”

Weights were then assigned to the randomly selected broadcasts in an attempt to objectively answer the following questions:

  • Does Globovisión provide regular and fair coverage and airtime of the opposition in Venezuela re: stories, policies and interviews?
  • Does Globovisión provide coverage that presents the government in a negative light or holds it accountable?
  • Is there balance in the airtime afforded to opposition and government coverage?
The answer to each question was “yes” according to the study, but it is interesting how the researchers decided to sell their findings. In a piece entitled “Globovisión is balanced, but on what scale?” the researchers stated “analysts and sectors of the general public have assumed the channel is now heavily slanted in favor of the government. According to our study of Globovisión’s coverage, this perception needs to be rethought.” It is not clear if they are referring to “analysts” and the “general public” in Venezuela alone or abroad. However, the most important conclusion to be drawn from their study is that international media reporting has been shockingly biased and inaccurate about Venezuelan TV news. The researchers either ignored that conclusion or expressed it with remarkable timidity. When a German broadcaster, for example, said in February that Globovisión had been turned into a “government mouthpiece” it was saying what the western media’s reporting would lead anyone to believe.

The CLALS researchers also wrote in their piece that “While Globovisión offered coverage of major news stories during these four periods, two important holes in the news coverage need underscoring. The case of Leopoldo López, arguably the most critical individual example for human rights, received comparatively less visibility than it did on two international outlets Globovisión competes with—CNN in Spanish and NTN24. Likewise, Governor Henrique Capriles, the opposition’s 2012 and 2013 Presidential candidate, was not interviewed in-studio during the periods we studied–a notable absence given his still significant political profile.”

The standard the CLALS researchers use to decide if Leopoldo Lopez gets enough attention is an international media that depicts Globovisión as a government mouthpiece. That’s a risible standard as the researchers must know. And why should any decent person consider Leopoldo López’s imprisonment, even if you accept the extremely dubious assumption that it’s a human rights violation, to be more important than the assassination of Sabino Romero? The trial and sentencing of some of Romero’s killers took place during the period CLALS investigated. He was never mentioned in the study.

As for Capriles, he did appear in the broadcasts sampled by the researchers but they chose to “underscore” that they didn’t pick up any “in-studio” interviews. During the time period that CLALS investigated, Capriles was a twice-defeated presidential candidate. Anywhere in the world, media coverage of defeated presidential candidates tends to fall quite drastically. The violent protests of 2014 also revealed deep tactical divisions within the opposition that alienated Capriles from a vocal segment of it. Among government opponents, Capriles does not have the stature that Hugo Chávez acquired among government supporters – that of undisputed leader.

It appears the CLALS researchers want to give western journalists a way to publicize the study without having to “underscore” very damning conclusions about the international media’s coverage of Venezuela. That suggests the researchers either share the bias against Venezuela’s government, or feel strongly obliged to cater to that bias.

At any rate, reporting about Venezuela has been so terrible that it doesn’t take rigorous study of Globovisión’s content to expose it. Just consider one lengthy interview that opposition legislator Julio Borges gave on Globovisión early this year. Borges used the interview to spread drug smuggling allegations against National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello, the same allegations spread by the Wall Street Journal. Rely on the international press and you’d never believe that interview could take place on any Venezuelan TV network.

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