Six days after Wall Street Journal's Jose de Cordoba and Jay Solomon published their front-pager, "Chávez Aided Colombia Rebels, Captured Computer Files Show," the Washington Post turned out its coverage of the development by staffer Juan Forero, who pulled a few punches by failing to directly finger Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez:
CARACAS, Venezuela, May 14 -- High-ranking officials in Venezuela offered to help Colombian guerrillas obtain surface-to-air missiles meant to change the balance of power in their war with the Colombian government, according to internal rebel documents.
By comparison, de Cordoba and Solomon brought the Venezuelan dictator front-and-center with their May 9 lede:
BOGOTÁ, Colombia -- A cache of controversial computer files closely tying Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez to communist rebels seeking to topple Colombia's government appear to be authentic, U.S. intelligence officials say.
Chavez wants to increase domestic food production; so, of course, the logical solution is to base the recovery on Marxist economics. After watching the failed totalitarian agronomics of Cuba and Russia, you'd think they could have invested a few bucks in a SimCity game so they could practice a little first.
Unbelievably, Reuters said Chavez “sheltered consumers from rising world food costs with subsidies and price controls,” and then in spite of all of that awesome planning, something surprisingly went wrong (all bolded portions mine):
Who knew that Bart Simpson still had it? Years after "The Simpsons" merged into the American cultural mainstream, the show is still raising hackles--in socialist Venezuela where a government regulatory agency decreed it was "inappropriate for children."
Replacing the "inappropriate" show will be reruns of, and this is not a joke, "Baywatch: Hawaii," the late 90s lifeguard show famous for its incessant portrayals of blondes in bikinis:
Station spokeswoman Elba Guillen said Monday that the decision to hand over the daily 11 a.m. time slot came after the National Telecommunications Commission received complaints from viewers.
Leftist Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez is threatening neighboring Colombia with war after that country successfully killed via airstrike FARC terrorists in a camp in Ecuador. Yet in reporting the story, CBSNews.com and the AP downplayed the terroristic nature of the leftist rebel movement.
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has been on a Comprehensive List of Terrorists and Groups since November 2, 2001, yet in a March 2 AP filing on the CBSNews.com Web site, the Associated Press waited 30 paragraphs before hinting that FARC was an internationally-maligned terror organization:
[Venezuelan dictator Hugo] Chavez has increasingly revealed his sympathies for the FARC, and in January asked that it be struck from lists of terrorist groups internationally.
Instead, AP preferred to label FARC as a "rebel" force and put in dismissive quote marks the term "terrorists" to refer to FARC militants. For good measure, AP gave ink to former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, who insisted Colombia was acting as a puppet of Washington:
"Chavez inspires left but [is] no icon," insists the headline for a February 21 story by Reuters reporter Frank Jack Daniel. Daniel took time to examine what role Chavez could play in rallying Latin American leftists now that the Fidel Castro has kindly retired to let little hermano Raul take the wheel for a while indefinitely.
Daniel practically makes Chavez sound like the Barack Obama of Latin American Marxism: nice image, but still needs more experience:
CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela's red beret-wearing President Hugo Chavez has inspired a new generation of Latin American leftists but has a ways to go to achieve the heroic status awarded to his iconic friend Fidel Castro.
On February 18, the Zenit News Service reported that the apostolic nunciature in Caracas, Venezuela - the Holy See’s equivalent of an embassy in the country - was bombed on Thursday [February 14]. The bombing "caused only minor damages. The facade of the structure was also vandalized by political graffiti." The Zenit story was one of only four items on the bombing that came up during a Google News search.
Two other recent bombing in Caracas have also gone under-reported by the media. On Monday [February 18], The Earth Times website reported that there was an explosion "in front of a mercantile court and congressional offices in Venezuela's capital. The blast caused some damage but no casualties and was the third explosion in Caracas in a week."
During a two part interview on the Thursday and Friday CBS "Early Show," co-host Maggie Rodriguez asked Hugo Chavez’s ex-wife, Marisabel Rodriguez, "Is Hugo Chavez a charismatic leader or a mad man?" This was followed later by the question, "Is he a Communist?" To which Marisabel Rodriguez responded: "If he's not, he's very similar to one."
Maggie Rodriguez, who is Cuban-American, had several other questions critical of Chavez:
Just last week Hugo Chavez reportedly boasted about chewing coca leaves, which is the base of cocaine. What do you think about this? Could this have altered his mind?...Do you think he should step down as president of Venezuela?
One of the most liberal newspapers in America recently mocked "celebrities making asses of themselves...hanging out with the world's most notorious dictators and other authoritarian figures."
One such a-a-actor, Sean Penn, who has actually written for the paper in question, struck back Monday by calling the outlet "lame-brain," "desperate," and having "become Mad Magazine for small-minded cowards and former writers of substance."
Marvelously, both Penn and the paper were right!
With that as pretext, our sordid tale began Thursday when that bastion of socialism on the West Coast, the San Francisco Chronicle, curiously published an article harshly critical of folks like Penn who suck up to despots the paper typically reveres (emphasis added):
The recent setback in Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez’s efforts to proclaim himself ruler for life were stunning to ABC News woman Barbara Walters. "I was amazed that he, that he didn’t get to be president for life."
Perhaps Barbara was shocked that the people would rise up against this charismatic man she’d already wrapped into her special on the Ten Most Fascinating People of 2007. When asked if Hugo’s setback made him less fascinating, Walters said no, that "we try to have people that do positive things." But her actual profile of Chavez (recycling a March interview) turned a bit dreary. Her enthusiasm cooled enough that she actually edited more emotional quotes (both from Walters and Chavez) out of the brief profile.
After the Venezuela referendum, I 'd been waiting for the first MSMer to make an invidious comparison between Hugo Chavez and George W. Bush.
Didn't take long:
"[D]emocracy was alive and vital in Venezuela on Sunday in a way foreign to President Bush’s America."
That's Roger Cohen writing in today's New York Times, reacting to Chavez's apparent acceptance of the referendum results that turned thumbs down on his "reforms" that would have effectively made him dictator.
The Times's "International Writer-at-Large" is careful to temper his praise of Chavez with some boilerplate criticism, calling him a "strongman" and a "menace." But, time and again, Cohen returns to his theme: that democracy is more alive and well in Venezuela than in the U.S. under President Bush.
According to Barbara Walters’ set of rules, Venezuela's socialist anti-American dictator Hugo Chavez does "positive things." Promoting her annual special "The Ten Most Fascinating People" on the December 5 edition of "The View," Walters discussed one of her top ten, Hugo Chavez. Walters, who recently gave a puffy interview to the anti-American zealot, noted his recent setback exclaiming she "was amazed that he...didn’t get to be president for life" and "he’s a charismatic character."
Joy Behar inquired if he’s "still fascinating even though he didn’t win the election." Walters quickly answered "yeah."
When Walters allowed the co-hosts to guess who her secret number one is, Sherri Shepherd guessed Britney Spears. Walters refuted it claiming "we try to have people that do positive things."
I'll be live-blogging the press conference (mostly just the questions from the journalists as we're focused on the bias) and if a video update is warranted, we'll post one shortly after the conference concludes:
10:44 closes press conference, leaves podium.
10:41: Mark Silva, Chicago Tribune, says reading Bush's body language he can tell he's "somewhat dispirited." Then he says "the facts have failed you" on things he's telling the American people. Quotes Harry Reid. "Are you feeling troubled... credibility gap?"
10:37: unid'd reporter "Wolf" asks about if Bush's personal relationship with the Democrats in Congress is affecting getting legislation through.
10:35: another unid'd reporter named "Wolf" asks Bush to react to 2008 U.S. presidential race
10:35: reporter asks if he discussed Russian elections with Putin
10:33: unidentified reporter asks Bush if in his conversation with Putin if he asked him to not sell uranium to Iran.
10:30: Baier, Fox News: "What does the vote in Venezuela mean for the U.S.? .... What's your reaction to Chavez opponents winning?"
The Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, and Washington Post are all referring to a package of recently-defeated Venezuelan constitutional amendments as "reforms." In reality, those so-called reforms were all bent on amassing more power and influence in the hands of Hugo Chavez.
Washington Post's Juan Forero gave readers early of the December 3 Home Edition article (published before the outcome of the December 2 referendum was finalized) an idea of what was at stake for everyday Venezuelans waking up this morning.:
1. Venezuela's Hugo Chavez calls former Spanish prime minister Aznar a "fascist." 2. Chavez interrupts current Spanish prime minister Zapatero. 3. Spanish King Juan Carlos tells Chavez to "shut up."
Let me get this straight. King Carlos of Spain started this?
According to a Nov., 11th AP story, it was Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who first "triggered the exchange by repeatedly referring to former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar as a ‘fascist.'" Chavez, reportedly also piled on the defamatory remarks by adding, "Fascists are not human. A snake is more human."
The AP account proceeds to lay out the course of events:
Spain's current socialist prime minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, responded during his own allotted time by urging Chavez to be more diplomatic in his words and respect other leaders despite political differences.
Dictator-groupie Sean Penn told Australia's The Age that Venezuelan autocrat Hugo Chavez is “much more positive for Venezuela than he is negative” and the Chavez-crafted constitution is “a very beautiful document.”
But hey, Venezuelans, relax! Actor/director/humanitarian Sean Penn isn't concerned that Chavez is on his way to becoming a dictator. So, stop worrying that Chavez will confiscate your home or business and force you to sew “I Heart Holocaust-Deniers” onto his custom-made Commie-red button downs.
The November 13 article in question by writer Enrique Andres Pretel dealt with how Venezuela's Hugo Chavez is demanding an apology from Spain's King Juan Carlos. The Spanish monarch snapped at Chavez that he should "just shut up," when the latter was railing about former conservative Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar as a "fascist." Chavez received a rebuke, albeit less pointed, from the current prime minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, a Socialist.
Chavez has a history of impolitic moments on the international stage, such as last year when he called President Bush "the devil" in a speech before the United Nations.
All the same, Reuters writer Pretel found Chavez to be a folksy, funny guy:
New York Times Magazine published a rather fascinating article Sunday about the rise of nationalized oil throughout the world.
Predictably, it initially came off as a love letter to Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and his new brand of oil socialism.
Yet, if you dig deeper - unfortunately offshore deeper in a very lengthy piece - author Tina Rosenberg ended up rather dissatisfied with "petrocracy," and, instead, advocated private ownership of oil with tighter regulations and more aggressive taxation.
Anybody need a pinch?
Unfortunately, to get to the really compelling parts, one had to suffer through a great deal of Hugo-mania (emphasis added throughout, h/t Charles Johnson):
Joe Scarborough is still trying to wring mileage out of bashing Bill O'Reilly over his Sylvia's comments. After calling the "Factor" host a "moron" yesterday, the "Morning Joe" host was back at it today.
Oh sure, Hugo Chavez might have his quirks. But at least he's not George Bush. That's Gail Collins's operative thesis in The Great Clock Plot [subscription required] in this morning's New York Times.
Collins riffs off an announcement Chavez made this week of his plan to move Venezuela's clocks ahead by half an hour. Writes Collins:
Reaction was swift, with many people recalling the scene in Woody Allen’s “Bananas” when a revolutionary hero becomes president of a Latin American country and announces that from now on, “underwear will be worn on the outside.”
That democracy-repressing strongman really cracks Gail up. But that's when Collins gets off the first of her barbs against President Bush:
Scanning the columns at Townhall.com is part of my early-morning routine, and it was at about 6 A.M. today that I read Charles Krauthammer's "Obama Bombing." I marveled at how perfectly the Pulitzer Prize-winning author had captured the essence of Hugo Chavez, calling the Venezuelan thug "a malevolent clown."
Krauthammer's words obviously impressed Matt Lauer, too. For barely an hour later, I was pleasantly surprised to find the psychiatrist-turned-pundit's phrase turning up on the screen at "Today," with Lauer clearly seeming to advance the conservative commentator's theory.
Lauer was interviewing MSNBC's Chris Matthews on this week's Hillary-Obama dust-up.
"TODAY" CO-ANCHOR MATT LAUER: Let me ask you about this debate, the issue that came out of the debate, this whole inexperience-versus-change thing, when Barack Obama answered that in the first year of his presidency he would meet with people like Castro and Chavez. Let me read you what Charles Krauthammer wrote in the Washington Post this morning:
Do the Democrats want to risk strike three, another national security question blown, but this time perhaps in a final presidential debate before the '08 election, rather than a midseason intraparty cattle call? The country might decide that it prefers, yes, a Republican -- say, 9/11 veteran Rudy Giuliani -- to a freshman senator who does not instinctively understand why an American president does not share the honor of his office with a malevolent clown like Hugo Chavez.
The Washington Post's David Montgomery just loooooves those Chavistas ("What a Difference a Day Makes; Venezuela, Toasting Freedom on the Fifth"). Along with the typical Washington party stuff, he goes to great pains to explain how we're not so different, Chavez and us, eh? (You can almost hear Eli Wallach in the background: "If God didn't want them sheared, he would not have made them sheep.")
An embassy official gives a ceremonial reading of the Venezuelan Declaration of Independence. Alvarez declares, "Now, more than ever, Venezuela is struggling to assume a full independence" -- referring to the freedom to carry out the Chávez program without meddling by the United States, which now plays the part of Spain in the national drama.
Right. The freedom to carry out the Chavez program. That would include harboring the Buenos Aires JCC bombers, making nice with Iran, supporting FARC terrorists in neighboring Colombia (a real democracy, by the way), suspending Constitutional liberties, shooting down your opponents in the streets, stealing elections, and aiding and abetting Middle Easterners in getting into the US illegally. No reason for us to meddle at all. Of course, we play the part of Spain in Chavez's propaganda, not the actual national drama, and not, one suspects, in the minds of the mass of Venezuelans.
Washington Times reporter Martin Arostegui has an excellent article in today's paper about the socialist leaders of two South American countries following Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez's example by moving to restrict press freedoms in their respective countries. By contrast, the news didn't even meake the "World in Brief" digest on page A16 of today's Washington Post:
SANTA CRUZ, Bolivia -- The leaders of Bolivia and Ecuador are moving
with Cuban encouragement and in concert with their mentor, Venezuelan
President Hugo Chavez, to restrict press freedom in their countries.
Bolivian President Evo Morales and Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa
both announced steps to crack down on independent broadcasters within
days of Mr. Chavez's closure on Sunday of Venezuela's main independent
television station, RCTV.
Although most media coverage of the closure of RCTV by the Hugo Chavez government in Venezuela has been somewhat bland, we now have an example of a journalist who actually supports the takeover of that long established television station. It is the former Associated Press reporter in Venezuela, Bart Jones, who wrote an approving article in today's Los Angeles Times, Hugo Chavez versus RCTV. Jones justifies the closing of that station by the Chavistas by claiming that it supported the 2002 coup against Chavez:
RCTV's most infamous effort to topple Chavez came during the April 11, 2002, coup attempt against him. For two days before the putsch, RCTV preempted regular programming and ran wall-to-wall coverage of a general strike aimed at ousting Chavez. A stream of commentators spewed nonstop vitriolic attacks against him — while permitting no response from the government.
"The Anchoress" had an excellent item yesterday about how some news wires are downplaying the authoritarian, anti-free speech nature of Hugo Chavez's move to shut down a private television network that often criticized the Venezuelan thugocrat. She notes that the bland headlines give little reason for the casual reader to sit up and take notice:
Clay Waters, Editor of the MRC's TimesWatch site and a NewsBusters contributor was a guest this afternoon on the Fox News Channel's "Your World with Neil Cavuto," which airs weekdays at 4 p.m. EDT. The topic: New York Times coverage of Venezuela and Hugo Chavez.
TimesWatch.org is dedicated to documenting and exposing the liberal political agenda of the New York Times.
Hugo Chavez is simultaneously acting as Bull Connor (fire hoses/water cannons) and Gustav Husak (deploying tanks against his own people), yet what little Old Media coverage there is seems to want to avoid those elements of the story.
At 11:00 a.m. Sunday, Gateway Pundit blogged on Venezuela's virtual dictator sending in tanks to intimidate opponents demonstrating against a government-planned closure of one of the country's last independent TV outlets. An underlying post at Publius Pundit that GP linked to shows the tanks in place, and has a time stamp of 2:09 a.m.
Those are not exactly words you'd expect to hear an American journalist use to refer to a Latin American dictator who has been seizing American-owned property this month. Yet Barbara Walters used all three to describe Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, in various ABC broadcasts on March 16.
Even though Chavez has recently assumed "control" of oil fields that were run by Chevron, ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips, ABC, NBC and CBS haven't even reported it. Chavez also plans to takeover private Venezuelan media soon. That hasn't been reported either, let alone criticized.
Despite the fact that Chavez seized power and shut down his opposition in Venezuela, the media rarely portray him as a dictator, preferring kinder words like “controversial” and “populist.” Walters even talked about how "beloved" he is.
“President Hugo Chavez is so beloved by some of his supporters that they hang pictures of him in their living rooms in the poor barrios that ring the city,” Barbara Walters gushed on ABC’s “Nightline” March 16.