Posted by: Jim | May 30, 2007

How You Use News

chavez.jpgToday’s story about Hugo Chavez is, not surprisingly, an interesting one.

The blurb I read in my elevator (yes, there is a news feed in the elevator) said that Chavez shut down TV stations who were his detractors. “This is an outrage,” I thought. Then I read the above-linked story from the LA Times and found that Chavez is once again a surprise. It turns out the TV Station basically focused its efforts on the coup attempt in 2002 and has been against Chavez since he was elected.

The Station is owned by the mega-rich in Venezuela.

Given the freedom of the press in this country, it’s imaginable that the same thing could happen. But the article says, “Would a network that aided and abetted a coup against the government be allowed to operate in the United States? The U.S. government probably would have shut down RCTV within five minutes after a failed coup attempt — and thrown its owners in jail. Chavez’s government allowed it to continue operating for five years, and then declined to renew its 20-year license to use the public airwaves. It can still broadcast on cable or via satellite dish.”


  1. This was an interesting article. I did not read it very carefully but it did not seem that RCTV did anything illegal. They simply covered one side of the story and reported in a biased manner. They took it to extremes for sure but I did not see anything illegal.

    It reminded me somewhat of our media. I beleive our media reports in a negligent manner as it is driven to raise revenue. We see biased reporting on a regular basis and headlines that are ridiculous. Our media spent how much time on the OJ Simpson trial or Anna Nicole Smith’s passing? I consider neither noteworthy.

    I also distruest most of what I see in the media.

  2. Jim – I need a spell checker……

  3. Jim

    It’s good to see an American with a perspective on this. I was trying to explain to somebody this point, that The Communist Channel would not exactly be tolerated in the US, likewise The Islamic Terrorist Channel.

    Free speech is fine, in theory, but there is not really a political model out there that is going to openly tolerate media organisations that are working expressly and openly for the overthrow of that society’s institutions. The difference is that in America, a capitalist society, the ideology of capitalism and its excesses is submerged to quite a large degree, and also, people have come to accept the power of the corporations to shape ‘public debate’. If you look at the wafer of mega-rich in Venezuela, there history is one of asset-stripping their own nation and working hand in hand with foreign governments and corporations to do this.

    They may see that as simply the joy of the free market, but Chavez sees that as totally opposed to his goals for Venezuela. As such, I recognise the validity of shutting off this propaganda channel.

  4. As a corollary, of course, for some right-wingers out there, the ACLU, PBS, Sundance Channel, Michael Moore, The Soros Foundation, NAACP, Daily Kos, HuffPost, and so on, are equivalent threats to the American Way. But that’s another debate.

  5. Bubba,

    If NBC news prompted a coup d’etat, it would be no less than high treason, and they would be pulled off the air in no time flat. The people responsible could get the death penalty here in the US.

    The (surprising) point is that it would seem that the Press is more free in a country that the current administration is trying to align as “the bad guys.” In fact, they are a little *too* free for what many Americans would consider reasonable.

  6. I must have misread it Jim. I only saw that they reported on the coup attempt exclusively and refused to report on the ‘other side’ of the coup attempt. I did not see where they told everyone to overthrow the government. If that is what they did then I agree they would not be around for long in the USA.

  7. There is something fairly close in the American media: The Savage Nation, #2 radio talk show in the country behind Rush. You will hear Mike call for the internment of Muslims, Liberals, Democrats, Liberal Democrats, everybody in Hollywood, he will also call for nuclear strikes on Muslim countries, the carpet bombing of the Sunni Triangle, bringing home the troops to overthrow of the Bush regime, putting tanks on the border with shoot-to-kill orders… usually all within the first hour. Very entertaining show.


  8. And also, King left a few out… CNN, MSNBC, CBS, NBC, ABC, NPR, Air America, Lifetime, We, Oxygen, iFC, A & E, Google, AP, any site that Kos or HuffPo links, DNC, any group that wants to stop climate change, 90% of the newspapers, 99% of the universities… come to think of it, anything that isn’t owned by News Corp. (except MySpace)

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