Thousands of Venezuelans over the weekend protested the possible shut down of a television station critical of the Chavez government. As I read this article describing the situation there, I was struck by certain disturbing parallels with the situation in the United States, where most major media outlets support a president who has grabbed extra-constitutional powers managing the economy, and who is visibly annoyed with the few major voices criticizing him.
It occurred to me that with the replacement of a few words, I could have easily been reading an article published in a US newspaper describing the policies of the Obama administration. Here is the version that I fear may one day appear in America's media (I have replaced the words set forth in italics):
"Thousands march in the United States over anti-Obama TV
Thousands of Americans took to the streets holding separate protests to support and condemn private TV station FoxNews which leftist President Barack Obama has threatened to shut down.
Protesters aligned with the opposition called for "defending access to information" and denounced "the persecution against FoxNews that seeks to close it permanently" in a statement read after their march.
The White House has stepped up its criticism of FoxNews, the only anti-Obama station still broadcasting on America's public airwaves, with the country's telecommunications regulator launching four different investigations into the channel for alleged violations.
Police have searched a mansion belonging to the station's president, Roger Ailes, who has also been charged with usury. And the network has been fined over four million dollars by the authorities.
Thousands of Obama supporters also marched Saturday alongside "socialist" journalists. At their final stop before Congress, they handed a petition to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, calling for "an end to media terrorism," as part of a reform of journalism laws.
‘Let's remove their concession and give it to other journalists,' said Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid.
In May, Obama's Democrat party accused FoxNews of "media terrorism" for getting ahead of the government in reporting about voter fraud.
The government has also lambasted the channel for broadcasting comments by a journalist who said Obama, a close ally of Cuba's communist regime, would end his days like former Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, "hung with his head down."
The firebrand leftist leader has threatened FoxNews with the same fate that befell The Rush Limbaugh Show, the most popular talk radio show in the country.
The government refused to renew Limbaugh's license in May 2010 because of its critical news coverage. Although off the air, Limbaugh continues to be heard in the US via cable and satellite systems."