Left yells 'wolf' about Brazil's Bolsonaro as threat to press just as socialist Nicaragua actually shuts it down
Four days ago, the left was screaming bloody murder about Brazil's conservative new president, Jair Bolsonaro, as the hemisphere's biggest threat to freedom of the press, as well as democracy. The Brazilian, who's been dubbed Tropical Trump, had complained about 'fake news.' so up the howls and hullabaloo went. Here's the vaunted Columbia Journalism Review, guardian and watchdog of press freedom worldwide, laying it all out:
Here's Reporters Without Borders, a bit earlier:
Here's a tweet with a Reuters link showing the flavor:
Last I heard, all those threatened news organs in Brazil are still up.
But somehow, these newshounds missed the actual news about threats to press freedom as they were hollering about Bolsonaro:
Socialist dictator Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua shut the free press down. Here's what authentic press repression looks like:
MANAGUA, Nicaragua – In barely a week's time, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has cemented the authoritarian reputation of his government by shuttering the offices some of the few remaining resonant voices of dissent and expelling the international monitors documenting his government's alleged crimes.
The heavy-handed raids on the country's most prominent nongovernmental organizations and the seizure of the offices of the independent news outlets Confidencial and 100% Noticias left a clear message that no one — especially former Sandinista comrades — was safe from a crackdown on dissent following a wave of protests that increasingly aimed at pushing the 73-year-old president from power.
So much for the howling about Bolsonaro.
Real press repression is about shutting down newspapers, jailing dissidents, and siccing the state goons on newspaper operations. Ortega did it the thug's way, not the sneaky way socialist Venezuela did, which was to drive up the price of newsprint and cut off access to foreign exchange, and that's about par for Ortega, given his brutish history as a Marxist Sandinista commissar.
He's always been against freedom of the press. In a memorable passage from 'Give War A Chance,' by P.J. O'Rourke, this was the standard:
- They [La Prensa] accused us of suppressing freedom of expression. This was a lie and we could not let them publish it. - Nelba Blandon, Interior Ministry Director of Censorship, quoted in The New York Times, 1984
And that was in an era when the New York Times would actually print such an indicative statement. Today, they're running stuff like this - pieces that say Bolsonaro is too much like Trump, while reporting without commentary the news of the man President Reagan dubbed 'the little dictator' still chugging in Managua.
At least they reported it, I guess, plenty of them aren't.
What we see here is a double standard. Yelling and screaming about Bolsonaro, while the real press shutdowns are being carried out in socialist hellholes such as Nicaragua and Venezuela. Do normal people see a problem? Yep, one of a press that beclowns itself as it embraces fashionable and biased leftwingery while ignoring the real problems it should be reporting. As G.K. Chesterton explained it in the Screwtape Letters:
“The use of fashions in thought is to distract men from their real dangers. We direct the fashionable outcry of each generation against those vices of which it is in the least danger, and fix its approval on the virtue that is nearest the vice which we are trying to make endemic. The game is to have them all running around with fire extinguishers whenever there’s a flood; and all crowding to that side of the boat which is already nearly gone under.”
All I can say is 'yup, there they are.' And Danny Boy is snickering.
Image credit: Renata Avila, via Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0