“That is what the media is reflecting: the US official position. And it has been that way all along … when it comes to foreign policy there is a line. And that line is decided upon from above and passed on to the reporter. So when it comes to hotspots like Venezuela, where there is so much at stake from an idealogical viewpoint, even more so. It is as monolithic as you can get.” – Steve Ellner
the piercing ray. I have been looking for an authoritative overview of the deliberately turbid, massively misrepresented & often decisively false & errant account & media portrayal of modern Venezuela, & it’s Bolivarian revolutionary government, with growing pressure. The extent of distortion & disinformation permitted in a strangely conjoined international press on this subject is both alarming & informing. Ostensibly respectable & accurate publications renowned for their “impartiality” seem to slide in with “less diligent” media vendors & their contorted depictions, only really discernible by a reduction in the magnitude of hysteria & warp attributed in their reporting.
There is an odd, indeed unexplained, unison & common commitment at play that reeks of an ideological conspiracy. Perhaps the American media could be “forgiven” for such mendacity & misreporting, but European media appear just as filial to this falsehood & its propagation.
Why is that?
What is going on here?
“We had a deadly weapon: the media. And now that I have the opportunity, let me congratulate you.” – Hector Ramirez
This excellent book by Alan MacLeod has been an extremely enlightening script, stooping with the weight of publicly-gathered facts, figures, graphs & reams of “empirical evidence”, much of it sourced from the very official bodies & organs of global politics (the UN, the World Bank) that are more than happy to condemn Venezuela & partake in it’s staged vilification. Critical to MacLeod’s own analysis are interviews with twenty-seven “journalists and academics” covering the country, with some of the excerpts printed from these exchanges being nothing short of extraordinary.
& thus, this book is just as much about “media” & “narrative” as it is about Venezuela.
It is about an ulterior ideology, a clearly false one, that is embraced & exercised as a grossly inaccurate & largely uniform effort by all sides (even those drastically opposed in principle), crossing entire continents & transcending political affiliations. Diametrically antithetical periodicals chime to the same furtive directive also, albeit the pitch & ferocity will generally be massively muted in the broadsheets or left of spectrum media.
“Predominantly white middle-class people who tend to share the values of the corporate leadership, and they are affected by the fact that approval, advancement and even job survival depend on an acceptance of certain priorities. The biases at the top are filtered down by long-term penalties and rewards. The mass media top leadership puts into key position individuals reflect their values.”
As with some other non-kowtow countries that challenge or eschew their prescribed positioning & function towards what we might simply label as “western interests” (Iran, Cuba, Libya & most recently Peru – with the election of pastoral teacher Pedro Castillo), we see the same exclusion, muzzling, marginalization & denial of self representation & assertion in reportage.
Cut out of the conversation beside the lone, massively-minimized counter sentence that sits at the end of a scrum of devastatingly confected negative spin, it becomes a one way account.
For whatever the political motivations & clandestine consensus of agreement that has been established intends, huge disinformation, lies, deception & untruth are poured into the coverage of Venezuela, often threshed from third-rate reports from journalists who do not even speak the national language or spend time on the ground investigating beyond the “green zone” – (a rich enclave inhabited by the countries tiny elite minority).
Hence, a completely different, blatantly artificial, inaccurate & insincere account is mass produced & beamed to the world, all totally unaccountable also, because who regulates or defends these blacklisted & stigmatized countries in the western sphere (answer, very few, & those voices will be intentionally omitted from these misrepresentations).
Other issues/motives are at play. Socialism, nationalization of the oil industry, gigantic petroleum deposits, major in education, health care, nutrition & housing to the poorest & eliminate poverty (many of which have been hugely transformative to the poorest in the country), anti-imperialism, & democratically installed indigenous leaders (Chavez & Moduro) – there is a lot here that frightens & riles occidental, particularly American, assumptions & ‘interests’. A successful alternative model must be thwarted, & any advantages must be silenced or sullied with explicit prejudice & maximum misinformation.
“I just never even pitched stories that I knew would never get in. what you read in my book would just never, ever, in any form, even in news form, get into the FT [Financial Times]. And I knew that and I wasn’t stupid enough to even pitch it. I knew it wouldn’t even be considered.after I got knocked back from pitching various articles I just stopped.”
“And the funny thing is that no one would ever know because the journalist would just never [even] think it. It is a form of mind control because everyone thinks they are free. And the best people to write censored articles are people who don’t even realize they are performing self-censorship.” – Matt Kennard
There is a wealth of informative research in this book. One thing that is not covered here though, is the history of extreme & disastrous embargo & sanctions that the US so cruelly inflicts on regimes that refuse to don the shackles of subjugation & play by the “imposed rules” regarding the US’s regional, mineral & extractive interests (they then will often blame the resulting collateral on the countries themselves). The viciousness of this destructive throttling, which always afflicts & harms the majority population & basic citizenry (you will sometimes here U.S. officials openly saying this is their intention – to encourage the citizenry to revolt against their leaders, which has to constitute terrorism by a directly meddling foreign aggressor) is an example of how draconian cross-border criminality & state interventionist disruption & hostility is willing to go (note that no such repercussions ever befall Saudi Arabia, Israel, Egypt, Brazil, the United Arab Emirates or any other of “our bastards”).
Aid is also used to excruciating effects in countries that have built up a dependency (Haiti being a prime example). Blackmail, deprivation or “cutting off” countries that do not pander to their instructed bondage or “structural reforms” become a device & cover to control & coerce – all under the emblem of “aid”.
“Venezuela is under attack from the United States, and has been since 1999. It has never let up. It is a media and press attack, an economic attack.” – Michael Derham
One of the most insane recent events displaying the international abuse of Venezuela was when the Bank of England effectively confiscated $1.8bn worth of gold the country had deposited in its vaults as it had decided to “recognize” the failed, US-educated imposter Juan Guaido. BE felt that the multi-failing opposition candidate & coup leader Guaido, ”the constitutional interim president of Venezuela” should have the gold instead (very, very tellingly, almost all western countries “backed” Guaido who simply claimed that the election was “rigged” & he was the legitimate victor).
The world seemed to be deciding the election results, candidates & political direction of a sovereign & democratic country from the outside based on undeclared interests.
Bizarre. Ridiculous. Deviant.
Moduro sued the Bank of England who it seems have now been forced to “return” the gold.
Embezzlement lost this time.
“It is incontestable. There is no evidence at all to the contrary to the fact that all of the commercial newspapers in this country [Great Britain] are owned by Neoliberal Businessmen – Richard Desmond, Rupert Murdoch, the Barclay brothers, Alexander Lebedev. They cannot allow an alternative to the system that they both benefit from and ideologically believe to be best, to survive. They cannot allow it …. Murdoch and all of the British newspaper proprietors are neoliberals and they will give no positive coverage of any left-wing movement anywhere in the world that looks like it is going to succeed.” – Lee Salter
then came the infiltration & attempted armed abduction of the Venezuelan president led by US mercenaries (ex-US servicemen) Airan Berry & Luke Denman.
The attempt was foiled & the two North American mercenaries/terrorists/kidnappers/criminals/bandits – or whatever – where captured by Venezuelan forces.
Typically, the story has vanished in the press.
No charges for this “state terrorism” cum military conspiracy have transpired against the US or a single member of the Trump administration. Zero consequences. Zero reporting in the mainstream press over a year on.
Imagine if you will, the response if Venezuela had done the same to an American president.
the recent assassination of Haiti’s president Jovenel Moïse by armed “foreign actors” may follow the same formula.
It has, conveniently, disappeared from the mainstream news.
an excellent source of veridical coverage on Venezuela can be followed on Mint Press.
the books author, Alan MacLeod, also writes for Mint Press, his recent piece being on the sponsorship/corruption of media platforms by Bill Gates/the Gates Foundation (something the Guardian Newspaper would now intimately) –
“Fighting for survival, newspapers operating under a standard, adversing-based model simply cannot consistently take editorial positions against those of their advertisers, as they will leave and advertise somewhere else, leading to terminal reduction in revenue. This situation has effectively given advertisers a veto over political content. Large corporate advertisers are hardly likely to want positive coverage of a government that expropriates business or raises taxes on the wealthy.”
Alan MacLeod, 2018, Routledge, 154 pages.