Corporate Media Attempts Buffoonization of Hugo Chavez

We were always cautious about the triumph of President Obama. Early on, we began to take note of the truth, that the empire is here, alive and more threatening than ever.

— Hugo Chavez Frias

It is said when you can’t beat ‘em, that you might as well make common cause with them, but in the case of President Hugo Chavez and the government of Venezuela this doesn’t seem to be the logical choice of the U.S. State Department, and the corporate ‘mainstream’ media at all. Since, the Obama State Department and its auxiliaries are incapable of debunking the unequivocal success of the Bolivarian revolution, and since the CIA’s forays into the Bolivarian Republic have been far from a success; the corporate MSM seems to be employing the strategy, that if you can’t beat ‘em, then you might as well throw a whole bunch of mud in their eye.

Craven, and seemingly incapable of a fair fight, the corporate media egregiously goes for the low blow, each and every time. The propaganda and half-truth, levied against the sitting Venezuelan President, at times veers into the realm of classifying Chavez as a dictatorial strongman — which has never stopped the U.S. government before — but I think the lion’s share of the effort to impugn and delegitimize Chavez, is to make him out to be playing with something far short of a full deck.

Perhaps most recognizably, we have seen the baseness of the coverage of President Chavez in colorful remarks that he has made about George W. Bush being the devil, or in his referring to Sarah Palin as a confused beauty pageant contestant. These comments have been made out to be the zenith of President Chavez’s intellectual powers. And although the Venezuela leader, may — at times — make these sort of flip, off the cuff remarks and comments; his raising of serious and incisive points about the United States empire and belligerent ‘hegemonic’ power; generally go unnoticed by a media, seemingly looking to do nothing other than lampoon and skewer the Bolivarian President.

Presumably, anyone who opposes — and has a coherent critique — of U.S. neocolonialism and imperialism is some kind of a buffoon or imbecile. History, of course, ended long ago, and anyone looking to swim against the tide of the straitjacket that the wealthiest countries want to affix upon the rest of humanity, apparently must be hopelessly misinformed and/or wildly out of touch. Never do the so-called mainstream media reliable sources, focus on figures like a drop in poverty from 71% in 1996 to 23% in 2010, or that Venezuela, long ago, met its UN Millennium Development targets. Instead, slander, invective, and a generalized muddying of the waters, are the tools of the ‘diligent reporting’ of the ‘venerable’ corporatist press.

Time magazine, for example, in an article in 2007, referred to Chavez as a budding movie mogul, for funding a project on Toussaint L’Ouverture with the veteran American actor and activist Danny Glover. Time opined, in that piece of incomparable ‘journalism’, that this would probably be just the beginning, of Chavez’s forays into socialist propaganda films. One would think that the apropos question for Time’s reportage, would be why would such a seasoned and respected actor of Hollywood need to go outside of the U.S. to fund this kind of project — of such an important figure of Haitian history and even the history of the world? And one can only imagine the coverage of L’Ouverture, by the Western media of his day; he was probably the Hugo Chavez of his era, and almost undoubtedly accused of being something like an inciter of riots, for realizing that people born in chains might want some modicum of freedom.

The Los Angeles Times devoted critical resources recently, to informing their audience that Hugo Chavez had opened a Twitter account. The Times — in a testament to their abilities of ‘objective’ news-making — said they were glued to Chavez’s tweets, because of the man’s “sometimes unpredictable actions.” Moreover, they erroneously reported that Chavez had a tight grip on the media in his country; when the fact of the matter is, that the vast majority of Venezuelan media is rabidly anti-Chavez and firmly in the hands of the Venezuelan elite.

Progressive commentator Mark Weisbrot, has even likened the Venezuelan private media’s coverage of Chavez, to Fox News’ coverage of Barack Obama in the United States. Though Weisbrot went even further, saying that the Venezuelan private media is more politicized, more prone to hyperbole, and less rooted in facts — as compared to Rupert Murdoch’s virulent propaganda operation in the U. S. In concluding the LA Times article, unequivocally a Pulitzer level, erudite piece; the Times talked to U.S. State Department spokesmen Philip Crowley. Crowley, soberly told the Times reporter that he simply couldn’t resist being a Twitter follower of President Hugo Chavez’s numerous tweets.

The corporate media is, of course, replete with this kind of shoddy, trivialized, and half-baked ‘journalism’. And apparently one needs to be a highly celebrated and academy award winning film maker to get any kind of substantive, reasonably fair coverage of Venezuela in the U.S. corporatist fourth estate. A recent piece on Oliver Stone’s newest documentary in the tabloid New York Daily News actually raised some sober-minded points about Venezuela — things that are regularly redacted from most of the mainstream accounts. Things like, that the ‘bad guys’ in this narrative are really the U.S., the International Monetary Fund, and colonial powers; such as Britain and Spain. And also that there is widespread popular support for Hugo Chavez in his home country; he’s not just some clownish Svengali who has a nation by the horns.

The article also quotes Stone’s accurate contention that there’s been virtually no change whatsoever emanating from the administration of Barack Obama. Reading this is sort of information in the American mainstream media is almost not to be believed because it is just the kind of thing that is perennially missing from the one side of the issue that the ‘mainstream’ chooses to support. And as George Orwell famously noted in his seminal work of fiction 1984, “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” It’s no wonder Venezuela, almost undoubtedly, could surely be just another potential territory ripe for invasion, and the spreading of  ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ and ‘nation-building’ one day; on the not all too distant horizon. Especially, when considering a media that succeeds in redefining up as down, and rewriting history according to the worldview that it is — self-referentially — operating from.

One would think, if s/he puts any stock in the corporate media’s egregious, slanderous actions, that a dictatorial, oafish, president controls the state of Venezuela. The truth of the matter, is, undeniably, that making progress there — on the fronts where President Hugo Chavez has been successful — would, of course, be impossible; if Venezuela were being shepherded by just another one of the stewards of U.S. imperial mandates. And it would, irrefutably, be nothing more than a vassal, wholly-owned subsidiary of the United States.

Sean Fenley is an independent progressive who would like to see the end of the dictatorial duopoly of the so-called two party adversarial system. He would also like to see some sanity brought to the creation and implementation of current and future U.S. military, economic, foreign and domestic policies. Read other articles by Sean.

6 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. bozh said on June 23rd, 2010 at 9:20am #

    It appears as a paradox that in US poor people are complaining much less than rich people. Even poor countries seem to complain much less than some rich countries.
    Vietnam and korea, the two hellholes- according tu US- never utter a single complaint against nato lands.
    It seems raising own chickens, ducks, dogs, frogs, snakes, pigs they have more meat than they can eat, but nato lands refuse to by such meats because of lack of coloring, antibiotics in them.
    But korea and vietnam exchange the surplus meat for rice from asian lands. So, they live, god1 bless, as they have for millennia before.

    So, how can americans like such exemplars of living?
    Ab chavez? Well, his jokes are even worse than mine. But we both love our beans: the brain food! tnx

  2. Hue Longer said on June 23rd, 2010 at 1:01pm #

    good article…I saw Stone and Tariq Ali on Democracy Now (monday?) and recommend listening to the archive

  3. twf100 said on June 23rd, 2010 at 1:35pm #

    Of historical interest — You can see a clip of Toussaint’s last moments in prison from the award-winning new short film “The Last Days of Toussaint L’Ouverture” at This film is the basis for a new feature (not with Danny Glover) that is in development.

  4. Andres Kargar said on June 23rd, 2010 at 10:31pm #

    American media’s treatment of the empire’s enemies is quite peculiar. They have special catch-phrases for all those they intend to demonize that they keep repeating like zombies. No matter where you read the news, whether it is the New York Times, Yahoo, or Washington Post, these catch-phrases are always the same. Don’t they ever have different writers?

    “Gaza’s Hamas rulers”, for example refers to what otherwise would have been “the democratically-elected Hamas government” or at least “the Hamas government,” or when they talk about Salvadore Allende as another example, it is always “Chile’s Marxist President”.

    Why can’t they ever just say “President Allende”? or if they always have to use an adjective, why don’t they also call Bush “America’s fascist president”?

    Naturally and quite unfortunately this repetitive use of sound-bytes and catch-phrases is quite effective in brain-washing the American population and demonizing those leaders of other countries who choose to take an independent path. That is until the people of those countries realize they have had enough of the rule and oppression of the US imperialism and band together and rise up against the Empire, and that is exactly what is happening in Latin America today. Thank you President Chavez for being such an inspiration to the people of the world.

  5. mary said on June 24th, 2010 at 12:46am #

    Ditto Robert Fisk in The Independent

    Fighting talk: The new propaganda

    Journalism has become a linguistic battleground – and when reporters use terms such ‘spike in violence’ or ‘surge’ or ‘settler’, they are playing along with a pernicious game, argues Robert Fisk

    Monday, 21 June 2010

    Following the latest in semantics on the news? Journalism and the Israeli government are in love again. It’s Islamic terror, Turkish terror, Hamas terror, Islamic Jihad terror, Hezbollah terror, activist terror, war on terror, Palestinian terror, Muslim terror, Iranian terror, Syrian terror, anti-Semitic terror…

    But I am doing the Israelis an injustice. Their lexicon, and that of the White House – most of the time – and our reporters’ lexicon, is the same. Yes, let’s be fair to the Israelis. Their lexicon goes like this: Terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror.

  6. bozh said on June 24th, 2010 at 5:25am #

    “We are nation of laws” instead of a land of lawlessness or land with fiats, ukases, diktats, etc.
    “God bless america” instead of god bless the rich people or god bless us all.
    “War on terror”, instead of land grabbing.
    “Checks and balances”, instead of cheques and balances!
    “Democracy”, but not timocracy with an egaliatrian society. tnx