It's as if Associated Press reporter Paul Haven saw colleague Frank Bajak's pathetic obituary of Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez earlier today (covered by Matthew Balan at NewsBusters) and said: "Oh yeah? I can outdo you."
That he did, in an execrable report excerpted after the jump which should be saved to the hard drive and shown as evidence that anyone who calls the wire service "the Authoritarian Press" is not at all out of line (bolds are mine):
A DAY OF TEARS AFTER CHAVEZ DEATH IN VENEZUELA
By the hundreds of thousands, Hugo Chavez's tearful supporters carried their dead president through streets still plastered with his smiling image, an epic farewell to a larger-than-life leader remembered simply as "our commander."
In a display of raw, and at times, unruly emotion, generations of Venezuelans, many dressed in the red of Chavez's socialist party, filled Caracas' streets Wednesday to remember the man who dominated their country for 14 years before succumbing to cancer.
Chavez's flag-draped coffin floated over hundreds of thousands of supporters as it made its way atop an open hearse on a seven-hour journey to a military academy in the capital. Mourners followed the lead of a grim drum major, with some shouting out "nuestro comandante" - "our commander," in English - as the coffin passed.
At the academy, Chavez's family and close advisers, as well as the presidents of Argentina, Bolivia and Uruguay, attended a funeral Mass before the president's open casket. Later, the public slowly filed past in a show of respect expected to go on late into the night.
But even amid the outpouring of grief, questions about the country's future could not be put off for long, with worries amplified by the government's lack of regard for the letter of the constitution and the military's eagerness to choose political sides.
It goes on for another 30-plus paragraphs, if you can stand it. My recommendation: Don't bother.
I don't suppose that it occurred to Haven that any and all Chavistas, as well as anyone who lives in fear of crossing Chavez's political machine, knew that they had better be out there visibly cheering "nuestro commandante" or face the possibility of unpleasant repercusions.
The final excerpted paragraph above about "the government's lack of regard for the letter of the constitution" is especially a howler, given that its "nuestro commandante" is the one who systematically shredded it for 14 years.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.