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    Lies about Venezuela: If NYT.com ran Related Content

    by Benjamin Melançon
    December 1, 2007

    Lara, Venezuela, lacks widespread internet access, cutting off Agaric Design Collective from our sysadmin. If you want to tell us Hugo Chávez’s administration in Venezuela is doing a bad job developing the country, we have reason to listen, with prejudice.

    But the accusations slipping unchallenged into news articles that Venezuela is anti-democratic, that Chávez is unpopular, and that the proposed constitutional reforms up for approval tomorrow are unlikely to pass – these are lies with consequences.

    These unsourced and poorly sourced claims, dripping like acid rain showers on the informed public’s understanding of Venezuela – are lies where the truth matters. The United States government has a sordid history of intervention in countries where administrations make decisions deemed counter to corporate interests. This alone would forewarn the importance of accurate reporting on Venezuela even without the evidence of this intervention in Venezuela itself in the past seven years.

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    From a New York Times article yesterday, “Venezuela’s Fateful Choice” by Jens Erik Gould:

    Opinion polls released in the last week have found Mr. Chávez’s proposals tied or trailing the opposition position among likely voters, after months of polls showing it likely to pass.

    A Ben Sargent cartoon lumps Chávez in with Putin and Musharraf at a “Phony Elections Emporium” (oddly not labeled Diebold or E&S).

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    The truth is that Chávez, his party, and his policies have won election after internationally-accredited election, despite a well-funded opposition (including illegal funds from the U.S. government) and a blatantly partisan private media.

    Each vote was been preceded by fraudulent opinion polls by partisan groups and public relations firms showing the opposite of the true result. Scientific polls, also available to the media but not reported, showed the true result.

    Same thing this time. The unbiased polls that were correct before predict a seven point edge for support of the constitutional reforms.

    Would related content help this situation? A little. If readers could easily link current articles with suspect claims to past pieces where the New York Times got it wrong – whether their infamous celebratory editorial after the April 2002 coup d’etat against Chávez (before Venezuelans countered it) or articles by the now-discredited Juan Forero such as his December 6, 2002 “Venezuelan Showdown: Chávez in Peril” – maybe current readers would think twice.

    And if enough people in the U.S. think twice, maybe the U.S. government will think twice about aiding its proxies in another coup attempt.

    Tagged: Juan Forero lies news nyt related content venezuela
    • Dan Feder provides a wrap-up of major U.S. newspaper shameless dishonesty in Deception from the Dailies on the Eve of Venezuela Referendum:

      “Chances for Venezuelan reforms growing slim” reports the Miami Herald. “[T]he latest poll, taken Monday through Thursday by Venezuela’s Hinterlaces firm, showed the ‘no’ vote winning by 6 percentage points in the closest scenario, and 21 points in the most lopsided, depending largely on turnout.” While reporters Casto Ocando and Casey Woods briefly make the dismissive concession that “some surveys still predict a Chávez victory on Sunday,” they completely ignore the poll by the consistently accurate Consultores 30.11 firm that came out just before the Hinterlaces survey, predicting a lead of between seven and sixteen percent (depending on turnout) for the “SI” (that is, for Chávez). They also fail to mention that the director of Datanálisis, whose poll earlier this week has been widely cited in the press, has stated that the Chavistas could still very well win, by as much as 20 percent, despite his own firm’s finding of a “no” victory by 10 points.

      At least the Miami Herald cited their sources, bad though they may be. The Narco News article includes links on this and other facts.

      Disclosure: I volunteer at the Fund for Authentic Journalsim which supports the Narco News Bulletin.

    • And the opposition polling was right!

      Despite the opposition already preparing to cry fraud, and several exit polls indicating a victory for the changes to the constitution, the official word from the Venezuelan government is that the No vote won a narrow victory.

      The shortest analysis of “good and bad” in the failed referendum are here (posted while believed they had passed).

      Interestingly, it’s the establishment media that looks even more foolish than me– trying to explain how such transparent democracy has prevailed in their favorite target for criticism.

      The No vote was probably the safest result for Venezuelan democracy.

    • Mark Weisbrot of the Center for Economic and Policy Research explains that Venezuela is not Florida (or the rest of the United States) – its elections and vote counts are secure and the results respected, media demonization of Hugo Chávez notwithstanding.

    • Follow-up article (also known as related content): http://www.pbs.org/idealab/2008/02/when-frames-go-bad-my-apology.html

    • Harriet Elliott

      I arrived in Venezuela 3 months ago 6 days before the Dec 2 election. Like the article above stated, there is so much demonization by the media of Chavez, yet obviously his constitutional reforms lost by a small number.
      There ARE shortages here but caused by merchants trying to raise prices by hoarding and not caused by Chavez.
      Those who think the US is so democratic need to take your blinders off. I was group stalked for 7 years in Los Angeles as described by private insvestigator David Lawson. This is low-level violence against social activists and a complete denial of our civil rights. I lived in fear and am still threatened by these extremists whose low-level warfare Mr. Lawson witnessed first-hand. You may also be targeted and not realize all your bad luck is actually planned by these groups. Google Lawson´s $25 book, or read excerpts at http://www.raven1.net

    • Harriet Elliott

      I arrived in Venezuela 3 months ago 6 days before the Dec 2 election. Like the article above stated, there is so much demonization by the media of Chavez, yet obviously his constitutional reforms lost by a small number.
      There ARE shortages here but caused by merchants trying to raise prices by hoarding and not caused by Chavez.
      Those who think the US is so democratic need to take your blinders off. I was group stalked for 7 years in Los Angeles as described by private insvestigator David Lawson. This is low-level violence against social activists and a complete denial of our civil rights. I lived in fear and am still threatened by these extremists whose low-level warfare Mr. Lawson witnessed first-hand. You may also be targeted and not realize all your bad luck is actually planned by these groups. Google Lawson´s $25 book, or read excerpts at http://www.raven1.net

    • Harriet Elliott

      I arrived in Venezuela 3 months ago 6 days before the Dec 2 election. Like the article above stated, there is so much demonization by the media of Chavez, yet obviously his constitutional reforms lost by a small number.
      There ARE shortages here but caused by merchants trying to raise prices by hoarding and not caused by Chavez.
      Those who think the US is so democratic need to take your blinders off. I was group stalked for 7 years in Los Angeles as described by private insvestigator David Lawson. This is low-level violence against social activists and a complete denial of our civil rights. I lived in fear and am still threatened by these extremists whose low-level warfare Mr. Lawson witnessed first-hand. You may also be targeted and not realize all your bad luck is actually planned by these groups. Google Lawson´s $25 book, or read excerpts at http://www.raven1.net

    • Harriet Elliott

      I arrived in Venezuela 3 months ago 6 days before the Dec 2 election. Like the article above stated, there is so much demonization by the media of Chavez, yet obviously his constitutional reforms lost by a small number.
      There ARE shortages here but caused by merchants trying to raise prices by hoarding and not caused by Chavez.
      Those who think the US is so democratic need to take your blinders off. I was group stalked for 7 years in Los Angeles as described by private insvestigator David Lawson. This is low-level violence against social activists and a complete denial of our civil rights. I lived in fear and am still threatened by these extremists whose low-level warfare Mr. Lawson witnessed first-hand. You may also be targeted and not realize all your bad luck is actually planned by these groups. Google Lawson´s $25 book, or read excerpts at http://www.raven1.net

    • Harriet Elliott

      I arrived in Venezuela 3 months ago 6 days before the Dec 2 election. Like the article above stated, there is so much demonization by the media of Chavez, yet obviously his constitutional reforms lost by a small number.
      There ARE shortages here but caused by merchants trying to raise prices by hoarding and not caused by Chavez.
      Those who think the US is so democratic need to take your blinders off. I was group stalked for 7 years in Los Angeles as described by private insvestigator David Lawson. This is low-level violence against social activists and a complete denial of our civil rights. I lived in fear and am still threatened by these extremists whose low-level warfare Mr. Lawson witnessed first-hand. You may also be targeted and not realize all your bad luck is actually planned by these groups. Google Lawson´s $25 book, or read excerpts at http://www.raven1.net

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