Jul
14
2014

All They Will Call You Will Be Detainees

Homicides per 100,000 People, Central America (Vox)

One of corporate journalism's bad habits is framing international stories on the premise that news is what happens to the US. There is no better recent example of this than the story of tens of thousands of children fleeing Central America.

Nov
27
2013

Washington Post Gets Honduras Wrong

Manuel Zelaya (cc photo: Santiago Armas/Presidency of Ecuador)

Today the Washington Post gloats over the Honduran election, the results of which they see as a rebuke to left-leaning former President Manuel Zelaya, who was removed from office in a 2009 coup. But the Post isn't getting the story right

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 […]

May
18
2012

NYT, WaPo Let Unnamed U.S. Officials Spin Honduras Killings

The details are somewhat murky, but we know the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency is heavily involved in counternarcotics in Honduras. A shooting incident last Friday reportedly left four innocent people dead–including two pregnant women. Questions are being raised about whether they were shot by DEA agents who were apparently going after a boat carrying drug smugglers. The story has become a scandal in Honduras, as the New York Times reports today (5/18/12) Residents of the isolated Mosquito Coast of Honduras have burned down government buildings and are demanding that American drug agents leave the area immediately With a story like […]

Dec
20
2010

Dana Rohrabacher's Honduran Adventure

Today's New York Times (12/20/10) brings the latest from the WikiLeaks cables, an interesting piece about how Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) went to Honduras after the coup to praise the new government and hopefully arrange business deals for his friends. Unfortunately the Times bungles the story of the coup itself: Honduras had grabbed international headlines starting in June 2009, when its president at the time, Manuel Zelaya, was detained and then sent into exile, based on a fear by other elected officials there that he was scheming to remain in office despite a one-term limit in Honduras' Constitution. Mr. Rohrabacher, […]

Oct
08
2009

NYT's Murky Cold War History

Kudos to the New York Times for publishing a front-page article (10/8/09) about the U.S. advisers and lobbyists who have been working (in one form or another) on behalf of the coup government in Honduras. But the piece glosses over the U.S. history in the region. Reporters Ginger Thompson and Ron Nixon write that the coup government "has also drawn support from several former high-ranking officials who were responsible for setting United States policy in Central America in the 1980s and '90s, when the region was struggling to break with the military dictatorships and guerrilla insurgencies that defined the cold […]

Sep
22
2009

New Developments in Honduras–Same Old Bad Media

Ousted President Manuel Zelaya has returned to Honduras, though not to office.Unfortunately, press accounts still manage to mangle the story behind his ouster, relying on those who supported the coup to explain what happened. In today's New York Times (9/22/09): At the time of his removal, Mr. Zelaya was planning a nonbinding referendum that his opponents said would have been the first step toward allowing him to run for another term in office, which is forbidden under the Honduran constitution. Mr. Zelaya has denied any attempt to run for re-election. An Associated Press report appearing in today's USA Today (9/22/09) […]

Aug
11
2009

U.S. Media's 'Connection' to Honduras Coup

Foreign Policy In Focus analyst Conn Hallinan (8/6/09) has yet another debunking of "the story most U.S. readers are getting about the coup" in Honduras, being "that Zelaya–an ally of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez–was deposed because he tried to change the constitution to keep himself in power." Calling this dominant media narrative "a massive distortion of the facts," Hallinan patiently explains that "all Zelaya was trying to do is to put a non-binding referendum on the ballot calling for a constitutional convention"–which, Hallinan notes, was "a move that trade unions, indigenous groups and social activist organizations had long been lobbying […]

Aug
03
2009

Philly Honduras Coverage 'Not Based in Facts'

Philadelphia Weekly intern and Prometheus Radio Project volunteer Alyssa Figueroa has produced an excellent document of local media activists taking on global news coverage in her video showing how "nearly 100 people marched to the Philadelphia Inquirer's office demanding the paper publish more factual pieces about the coup in Honduras." PW tells us (7/30/09) that the marchers believed that the Inquirer's coverage of the coup has been dishonest and irresponsible, especially citing former Republican Sen. Rick Santorum's op-ed, which they thought to be not based in facts. Participants marched from the Central Library to the Inquirer's office after attending an […]

Jul
24
2009

Domestic Honduras PR's 'Amazing Job' Misinforming

The L.A. Times has published a commentary from Center for Economic and Policy Research co-director Marc Weisbrot (7/23/09) furthering recent exposés on the damaging influence of U.S. lobbyists hired by unlawful regimes throughout the world. Under a headline about "The High-Powered Hidden Support for Honduras' Coup," Weisbrot invites us to meet Lanny Davis, Washington lawyer and lobbyist, former legal counsel to President Clinton and avid campaigner for Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential bid. He has been hired by a coalition of Latin American business interests to represent the dictatorship that ousted elected President Manuel Zelaya of Honduras in a military coup […]

Jul
20
2009

Honduras Coup Talks 'Presented as Progress' in NYT

Citing a Committee of Family Members of Detained and Disappeared in Honduras report "detailing hundreds of cases of human rights abuses committed by the coup regime, including four political assassinations," Ogg Blog's Chuck Ogg (7/17/09) notes that "the situation is getting worse in Honduras…but you wouldn't know this reading the New York Times": In fact, the story no longer merits front-page headlines. If you dig deeper, you discover that the chief negotiator said Thursday a series of compromises had been achieved between the two "camps" claiming the right to rule Honduras. We are given a sense of optimism with the […]

Jul
17
2009

U.S. Press Cites Pro-Coup Paper's Pro-Coup Poll

Just Foreign Policy national Coordinator Robert Naiman has a follow-up (7/15/09) on his July 13 catch of major U.S. new outlets relying solely on Honduras' La Prensa, "a pro-coup newspaper, with a history of publishing inaccurate information," to falsely "indicate that a plurality of Hondurans support the military coup against democratically elected President Zelaya." Naiman looks at the first question in the poll cited by the paper–"Rough translation: Do you consider that the actions that Mel Zelaya took with respect to the fourth ballot justified his removal from the office of President of the Republic?"–responded to affirmatively by 41 percent, […]

Jul
17
2009

Newsweek's 'Selective Zeal for Democracy'

Newsweek has a rather curious take this week (7/20/09) on the Honduras coup in a short piece headlined "The World Goes Bananas Over Honduras": Poor, hot and fractious, Honduras–the original banana republic–rarely draws a second look from the global community. But on June 28, when President Manuel Zelaya was yanked out of bed by the military and bundled into exile, the world took notice. International leaders unanimously decried the "assault on democracy." The Organization of American States expelled Honduras, the only nation since Cuba to be so disgraced. Venezuela even threatened to send in troops to reinstate Zelaya. But in […]