The Venezuelan media is once again sowing rumors of a coup to overthrow President Hugo Chavez. The latest rumor was sparked last week, when local television broadcast a video of ten masked men in combat fatigues claiming to be officers opposed to Chavez’s rule. The men praised the failed April 12th coup and warned of civil war and violence against Chavez supporters.
President Chavez responded to the tape this weekend by calling for unity within the military and accusing the media of trying to provoke an uprising. The media is owned by the same business forces that briefly ousted Chavez in April, and many believe it played an instrumental role in the coup. The television stations broadcast regular anti-Chavez propaganda in the days leading up to the coup, encouraging Venezuelans to head into the streets to protest. But they never once reported the massive pro-Chavez demonstrations that sprang up throughout the country. The day Chavez was restored to power, not a single paper printed news of his return.
But the media fabrications were not limited to Venezuela; the bias seeped across national boundaries, and up into the US as well. The State Department issued a press statement commending the coup within hours of Chavez’s ouster. And The New York Times printed an editorial endorsing the coup shortly thereafter. The editorial rejoiced: “Venezuelan democracy is no longer threatened by a would-be dictator…[because] the military intervened and handed power to a respected business leader.”
- Greg Palast, author of ??The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, and an investigative reporter who writes for the BBC, the British Guardian and the British Observer.
- Bush It–Daryl Cherney and the Chernobles, Bush it!–send George Bush a Pretzal. (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- The Internationale–Ani DiFranco & Utah Phillips.