Monday, March 24, 2014

Why is the mass media ignoring Venezuela's crisis?

The US mass media seems to be engaged in a deliberate policy of ignoring events in Venezuela.  That nation is in a crisis that's the next best thing to a national revolution.  Thousands of people have been detained, hundreds are dead - yet we hear little or nothing about it from US news sources.  Consider this video report.  (I apologize for the dramatic soundtrack, but it's basically a propaganda presentation, and the presenters tried to maximize that aspect.)

Those events took place on Saturday, two days ago.  How much of them did you see on US television news?  How much was reported in US print media?  Not a lot, and nothing much, respectively.

Part of the problem is the uncritical adulation lavished upon the late President Chavez by progressive and far-left activists such as Sean Penn, Harry Belafonte and others.  They basically ignored his wholesale violations of human rights.  Those same individuals are on President Obama's team here in the USA, and their views carry weight with such partisan sources as Media Matters and similar organizations.  I'm sure part of the lack of US media coverage of the Venezuelan crisis is a deliberate decision to promote left-wing interests and play down anything that might appear to tarnish or threaten those interests.

Another part of the problem is that the crisis is far more complex than it appears on the surface.  At least some of the resistance to the late President Chavez and his successor, President Maduro, is from oligarchs and others who have lost much of their political influence under left-wing governments, and unabashedly want it back.  Whether or not they'd be any better than the current government is impossible to tell - they probably wouldn't - but under the present system of anti-democratic populism, there's no way to find out.  Since they no longer have any democratic way to power, they've resorted to unrest and disruption as political weapons.  Unsurprisingly, they've had some success.

Ultimately, I think it boils down to a reluctance to challenge 'bully-boy' political tactics in Venezuela because the same criticisms might be leveled at the Obama administration.  Venezuelan government departments and agents have been co-opted to target opposition figures - just as the IRS now appears to be doing the same at the behest of the Obama administration.  Chavez and Maduro have armed and trained civilian militias and trades unions to support their cause - just as President Obama called for a greatly expanded civilian national security force before his election.  The key words in his appeal were:

We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set.  We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.

Liberal and progressive elements have decried any attempt to paint those words as meaning some sort of pro-government militia . . . but their own allies are making it easy to draw such conclusions.  For example, Chavez sought to mobilize unions in his support, just as President Obama has done here.  Jimmy Hoffa said at a rally for President Obama in 2011:

“We got to keep an eye on the battle that we face: The war on workers. And you see it everywhere, it is the Tea Party. And you know, there is only one way to beat and win that war. The one thing about working people is we like a good fight. And you know what? They’ve got a war, they got a war with us and there’s only going to be one winner. It’s going to be the workers of Michigan, and America. We’re going to win that war,” Hoffa told thousands of workers gathered for the annual Labor Day rally.

“President Obama, this is your army. We are ready to march… Everybody here’s got a vote…Let’s take these sons of bitches out and give America back to an America where we belong,” he concluded.

I'm sure the Obama-administration-supporting media doesn't want Americans to be reminded of those words . . . or to see how some union supporters of President Maduro in Venezuela are among those violently suppressing protests.

I see far too many parallels between events in Venezuela and potential events in the USA to be comfortable about them.  I suspect the US media don't want us to think along those lines - hence their lack of coverage of the crisis there.  YMMV, of course . . .



Sunnybrook Farm said...

Forget Venezuela, they aren't covering our own crisis. Our media it the problem as if we had a real media our current problems may not have developed.

Anonymous said...

I wonder too, how much of the silence(from the US .gov) is because of what appears to be Iranian influence. The "pro-government militia" are acting a lot like the Iranian Basij, almost as if they are either inspired by or possibly trained by people familiar with the Iranian organization. And the current US administration doesn't want to irk the Iranians.

And then there's the Cuban troops . . .

I have no love for oligarchs, but I have less love for governments that starve their people because of the government's economic policies.


Paul said...

The only way to get honest reporting from the media is to elect people they do not like. Once we do that on reflex we will have an honest media. But that will not happen as the current regime is cooking every election. The reelection of OBama proved that.

Dad29 said...

As far as a 'powerful and well-funded civilian [group]' is concerned, you don't have to look too far.

All sorts of local PD's now have armored personnel carriers, racks of full-auto M-16's and variants, and will soon have drones.

And there will be more to come, courtesy of the Oboz-ified Pentagon.