Posts Tagged ‘media’

illusion of choice

3 Ways To Guard Yourself Against The Damaging Effects Of Mainstream Media – Urban Times.

http://www.thenation.com/article/179986/western-media-coverage-ukraine-crisis-distorted-soviet-propaganda

Why is the Western press so invested in expounding the highly unconvincing narrative of the official line?

“Part of what makes cinema so potent is the way even its most outlandish characters and narratives burrow into and fuse with our own stories and identities. When the dominant medium of our age — both as art form and industrial practice — is in the hands of one gender, what may start out as harmless escapist fantasies can, through repetition and amplification, become distortions and dangerous lies.” Anne Hornaday, Washington Post.

Here’s some unpopular truths and keep in mind that the article linked tells of 2 ladies who’ve won local Mayoral elections despite being hardline supporters of this armed illegal insurrection and whose husbands are under arrest for unlawful participation in them.  Everybody keeps spreading stories on how undemocratic the Venezuelan government is behaving… hmmm.  I wish we had such a well-functioning democracy in the US! 

Opposition leader and former lawmaker Maria Corina Machado, left and mayoral candidate Patricia Gutierrez greet supporters at a campaign rally in San Cristobal, Venezuela, May 22, 2014.

The democratically elected government of Venezuela has lost some of its massive support in recent years after accomplishing quasi-miraculous progress on many fronts and most notably reduction of poverty and advancing democracy in South America in the past decade.

Recently, economic difficulties have eroded this support to some extent some legitimate opposition leaders have made some respectable gains in national and local elections. In the past few months there has been an uprising against the elected government  that is portrayed by the majority of the media as a popular revolt being crushed by the government but this is the usual corporate-imperialist media BS.

See several previous posts with lots of details (just click the “Venezuela” tag on the left) but here’s the skinny: While there are many bone-fide middle class Venezuelans who are caught up in the middle of this, this is a CIA backed “soft-coup” run by billionaire oligarchs who want to take Venezuela back to the old days of mass poverty and oil riches for the 1% in Miami. The government has shown remarkable restraint in dealing with these groups of violent thugs and has kept the democratic institutions open. All the BS stories on Facebook and twitter about internet closures and lack of due-process are propaganda. In fact, as has been the case since 2002, the government is doing everything it can to restrain the masses of poor people it had liberated and protect the upper classes from their righteous rage.

Imagine a people subjugated brutally since the Spanish conquest finally having democracy and being told that they cannot re-take what’s rightfully theirs but must remain in their slums and patiently wait as economic opportunities are being slowly created for their children. The legal loyal opposition has been having increased influence and are now politically damaged by these generally upper-middle-class insurgents supported by foreign corporate interests. The only reason the insurgency has not been violently crushed is that the government is restraining the majority poor Chavista as best it can.

I know I’ll piss some people of with this and the Venezuelan government deserves to be criticised. But 99% of the coverage by mainstream media and social-network hype is BS and people are being caught up in it and unable to have an intelligent discussion. Happily there are a handful of people on both sides who are helping me understand what’s going on and I’m passing it along.

https://news.vice.com/article/wives-of-ousted-mayors-emerge-victorious-in-venezuela-elections

 

Contrast the following FAIR report and the 10 reported dead in Venezuela, with the regular violence against labor in Colombia, which is a US ally and “free-market” friend of the Venezuelan opposition #doublestandards

FAIR BLOG

Feb 22 2014

News From Venezuela–but Where Is It Coming From?

San Christobal, Venezuela (Caracas Chronicles)

Venezuela as it appears on Caracas Chronicles.

There’s a post from the blog Caracas Chronicles (2/20/14) that’s been making its way around social media, called “The Game Changed in Venezuela Last Night-–and the International Media Is Asleep at the Switch,” written by Francisco Toro. It’s not surprising that it’s being shared widely, because it paints an exceedingly dire picture:

Throughout last night, panicked people told their stories of state-sponsored paramilitaries on motorcycles roaming middle-class neighborhoods, shooting at people and storming into apartment buildings, shooting at anyone who seemed like he might be protesting.

Who is Francisco Toro? He used to report for the New York Times, but stepped down, saying he couldn’t conform to the paper’s conflict-of-interest rules: “Too much of my lifestyle is bound up with opposition activism,” he wrote, adding that “I can’t possibly be neutral” about Venezuelan politics (FAIR Action Alert, 6/6/03).

Despite the Times‘ rules, one doesn’t need to be neutral to be a good reporter–in theory; great journalism has been done by the politically engaged. But how trustworthy is Toro’s actual reporting? Are, in fact, “state-sponsored paramilitaries…shooting at anyone who seemed like he might be protesting”? Two days ago, when Toro posted, the death toll stood at six (Reuters,2/20/14). That’s six deaths too many, certainly, but if paramilitaries were actually shooting at everyone who seemed to be protesting, there would be either very few protesters or the paramilitaries would have to be exceedingly bad shots.

And, in fact, not all the dead are protesters, or killed by pro-government forces. Yesterday, Venezuelanalysis (2/21/14)–a pro-government but independent website–put out a fuller list of people killed in the ongoing clashes, adding up to 10. Three people died after crashing into barricades set up by the opposition, and another person–the brother of a pro-government legislator–was shot while trying to open up a barricaded street. A protester was run over by a motorist trying to drive through a barricade; the driver was reportedly arrested. An intelligence service officer was also arrested in connection with a shooting incident on February 12 that left two people dead–one a protester, the other a government sympathizer.

There is dispute over responsibility for some of the killings, including that of one of the more publicized victims, 22-year-old former beauty contestant Genesis Carmona. But looking at the deaths as a whole, it’s hard to see evidence of what Toro calls a “tropical pogrom.”

The fact that FAIR was writing about Toro’s reporting more than 10 years ago points to the fact that this is not a new story; since Hugo Chavez’s first election in 1998, Venezuela’s government has faced intense opposition, and despite this opposition, the government has repeatedly won elections that have been deemed free and fair (Extra!12/06). US journalists tend to identify with the opposition, which is generally wealthier and better educated–and not incidentally whiter–than government supporters (FAIR Blog2/25/13). This should be borne in mind when reading reports from Venezuela–from whatever source.