Aug
13
2012

PBS Does 'Both Sides' on Bogus Romney Welfare Attack

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 theĀ  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 […]

Aug
01
2012

The Threat–Again–of Left-Wing Latin American Democracy

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 […]

Dec
22
2011

New York Times Finds Noam Chomsky Fit to Print

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 […]

Jun
30
2011

Hugo Chavez's Diabolical Conspiracies

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.

Sep
27
2010

WashPost Editorial Page (Sort of) Tells the Truth About Venezuela 'Debate'

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.

Aug
02
2010

Wash Post vs. Wash Post on Venezuela

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 […]

Jul
30
2010

Guerrilla Armed With Beer Sighted in Venezuela

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 […]

Jun
28
2010

NYT Reporter, Playing Film Critic, Pans Film About Himself

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 […]

Aug
09
2009

AP Reports 'Breached Basic Journalistic Principles'

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 […]

Mar
23
2009

The WPost's Salvadoran History Lesson

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 […]

Feb
15
2009

One Paper — Three Views on Term Limits

The author of an upcoming "people's history of the Bolivarian Revolution entitled We Created Him," George Ciccariello-Maher tells (CounterPunch, 2/15/09) an eerily "familiar" tale of one unnamed political leader who, after being "in power for nearly eight years," no longer feels the need to comfort his opponents, and his discourse radicalizes as his view of term limits shifts. Dismissing his opposition as rigid "dogmatists," the leader now insists on the need to change course flexibly to meet circumstances. True and sustained change, he argues, requires the continuity of his successful leadership…. Not without controversy, then, was the decision of the […]

Nov
27
2008

NYT vs. Venezuela's Election Results

Anyone who followed the results of Venezuela's regional elections last Sunday will know that President Hugo Chavez's party won 17 out of 22 contests up for grabs, garnering 52.5 percent of the popular vote to the opposition's 41.1 percent. Unless, that is, they were relying on New York Times Latin America correspondent Simon Romero. Despite a well-documented pattern of media misinformation about Chavez, many media outlets, including L.A. Times and CNN, conceded the fact of Chavez allies' victory in Sunday's races. But not Romero! Yesterday, the Times published an article by Romero titled, "Chavez Supporters Suffer Defeat in State and […]