Why the MSM Love Fest for Hugo Chavez?

Why do so many in the media and culture place a positive spin on the triumph of tyrants? Hugo Chavez is just the latest in a long line of left wing thugs to capture the hearts of elite journalists. Is there some regressive process at work, loosening their ties to the love of liberty?

As Hugo Chavez completes his plan to end democracy, free speech and free enterprise in Venezuela there has been a spate of articles that are wrapping this revolution in a positive glow.

On June 15th, the New York Times published an article celebrating the profitability of banks in Venezuela. This boom is probably ephemeral and is based on record public spending that is fueled by record high oil prices. Furthermore, much of this money is trapped in the country by currency controls imposed by Chavez. This flooding of cash into the economy will most probably have a very bad ending.

But this does not prevent the New York Times from touting the boom times in Venezuela. Coincidentally (or not), the June 15th edition of Business Week magazine developed the theme further,  proclaiming that, despite some controls imposed by Chavez, "business has never been better" in Venezuela.  A consumption boom is highlighted that is filling the coffers of businesses in Venezuela - including those of American exporters.

Happy Latin Americans are getting free eye care from El Jefe, we are told by John Otis of the Houston Chronicle.
Blind in his left eye from a cataract, Celestino Granados was stumbling through his twilight years in El Salvador when Hugo Chavez changed his life.

Chavez's government paid to fly Granados and about 110 other Salvadorans to Venezuela where, free of charge, their cataracts were removed and other eye ailments were corrected by government-employed physicians. Now, Granados has his vision back, and Venezuela's socialist president has another group of fervent admirers in the Central American nation.

"I see perfectly. I can even see the color of your eyes," said a tearful Granados, 73, a few days after his operation. "This is the best government Venezuela could have."

Just as Chavez's political mentor, Fidel Castro, won support for the Cuban revolution by dispatching thousands of physicians abroad to treat the poor, the Venezuelan leader is trying to win hearts and minds in Latin America with his own brand of doctor diplomacy.
Sunday morning, this "run of good news" is extended to the media sector in Venezuela. Now many people would be surprised that there is good news to be found in Venezuela's media, following the shutdown of independent media. This abolition of the freedom of speech was capped off by the forced closing of the popular RCTV network- a network that had earned the ire of Hugo Chavez for opposing his policies and for providing news coverage of his opponents.

Now that this unpleasantness is out of the way, the New York Times evidently feels the time is ripe for rehabilitating the image of Venezuela media by highlighting and praising the rise of the Chavez-backed media network Telesur. This network is planned to be the Latin America analogue to the Al Jazeera network: a platform to promote anti-American views throughout the Spanish-speaking world. Al Jazeera and Telesur have already reached agreements to work together to spread their views (in the words of Congressman  Connie Mack of Florida, they are "creating a global television network for terrorists).

This cheerleading is appalling. The media have done a respectable job, generally, in covering the abuses of the Chavez regime while they were occurring. Now that he is successfully gutting free enterprise and free speech in Venezuela, the media seem to be celebrating his success. Now that he has delivered a fait accompli, the powers-that-be seem to be adjusting themselves to the new reality and are currying favor with his regime, perhaps to ensure that they can continue to do their jobs in Venezuela. However, are they really doing their jobs when they polish the image of a regime bent on destroying democracy and the very principle that is the foundation of media: free speech?

Now, we are witnessing this phenomena in real-time. Just as Walter Duranty of the New York Times publicized the surging Soviet economy during the 30s (while ignoring the  economic reality and the depredations of the Stalin regime), some journalists are following in these footsteps today.

Ed Lasky is news editor of American Thinker
Why do so many in the media and culture place a positive spin on the triumph of tyrants? Hugo Chavez is just the latest in a long line of left wing thugs to capture the hearts of elite journalists. Is there some regressive process at work, loosening their ties to the love of liberty?

As Hugo Chavez completes his plan to end democracy, free speech and free enterprise in Venezuela there has been a spate of articles that are wrapping this revolution in a positive glow.

On June 15th, the New York Times published an article celebrating the profitability of banks in Venezuela. This boom is probably ephemeral and is based on record public spending that is fueled by record high oil prices. Furthermore, much of this money is trapped in the country by currency controls imposed by Chavez. This flooding of cash into the economy will most probably have a very bad ending.

But this does not prevent the New York Times from touting the boom times in Venezuela. Coincidentally (or not), the June 15th edition of Business Week magazine developed the theme further,  proclaiming that, despite some controls imposed by Chavez, "business has never been better" in Venezuela.  A consumption boom is highlighted that is filling the coffers of businesses in Venezuela - including those of American exporters.

Happy Latin Americans are getting free eye care from El Jefe, we are told by John Otis of the Houston Chronicle.
Blind in his left eye from a cataract, Celestino Granados was stumbling through his twilight years in El Salvador when Hugo Chavez changed his life.

Chavez's government paid to fly Granados and about 110 other Salvadorans to Venezuela where, free of charge, their cataracts were removed and other eye ailments were corrected by government-employed physicians. Now, Granados has his vision back, and Venezuela's socialist president has another group of fervent admirers in the Central American nation.

"I see perfectly. I can even see the color of your eyes," said a tearful Granados, 73, a few days after his operation. "This is the best government Venezuela could have."

Just as Chavez's political mentor, Fidel Castro, won support for the Cuban revolution by dispatching thousands of physicians abroad to treat the poor, the Venezuelan leader is trying to win hearts and minds in Latin America with his own brand of doctor diplomacy.
Sunday morning, this "run of good news" is extended to the media sector in Venezuela. Now many people would be surprised that there is good news to be found in Venezuela's media, following the shutdown of independent media. This abolition of the freedom of speech was capped off by the forced closing of the popular RCTV network- a network that had earned the ire of Hugo Chavez for opposing his policies and for providing news coverage of his opponents.

Now that this unpleasantness is out of the way, the New York Times evidently feels the time is ripe for rehabilitating the image of Venezuela media by highlighting and praising the rise of the Chavez-backed media network Telesur. This network is planned to be the Latin America analogue to the Al Jazeera network: a platform to promote anti-American views throughout the Spanish-speaking world. Al Jazeera and Telesur have already reached agreements to work together to spread their views (in the words of Congressman  Connie Mack of Florida, they are "creating a global television network for terrorists).

This cheerleading is appalling. The media have done a respectable job, generally, in covering the abuses of the Chavez regime while they were occurring. Now that he is successfully gutting free enterprise and free speech in Venezuela, the media seem to be celebrating his success. Now that he has delivered a fait accompli, the powers-that-be seem to be adjusting themselves to the new reality and are currying favor with his regime, perhaps to ensure that they can continue to do their jobs in Venezuela. However, are they really doing their jobs when they polish the image of a regime bent on destroying democracy and the very principle that is the foundation of media: free speech?

Now, we are witnessing this phenomena in real-time. Just as Walter Duranty of the New York Times publicized the surging Soviet economy during the 30s (while ignoring the  economic reality and the depredations of the Stalin regime), some journalists are following in these footsteps today.

Ed Lasky is news editor of American Thinker