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Ooops, Chavez Does It Again!

by ZEYNEP TOUFE

Hugo Chavez might actually win yet another election, the recall vote scheduled for this Sunday, against the rich and the elite of Venezuela (and the United States, it seems.)

So, what does the New York Times refer to this rare example of a politican who wins electorally with votes from the poor majority and who doesn’t let a small group of already rich elites plunder the nation’s economic wealth?

“Free-Spending Chávez Could Swing Vote His Way.”

What a headline.

Not the politician poised to once again democratically overcome the umpteenth illegitemate challenge by keeping the promises to the masses who elected him.

Okay, that’s too long for a headline but how about “The Poor Masses Approve of Chavez’s Politics.”

No, it’s free-spending Chavez. Not appropriate-spending Chavez.

It’s not even “win,” it’s “swing” the vote. Note how “swing” sounds like swindle, it connotes a scheme, an underhanded plot, something undeserved.

And whatever drivel the Times cannot say directly, unnamed “critics” are quoted. For example:

Critics charge that Mr. Chávez’s antipoverty plans are piecemeal and politically motivated, that he has placed incompetent officials in positions of power, and that he is bypassing fiscal controls, with hundreds of millions of dollars in public assistance now circumventing the Congress and the Central Bank and going straight into the barrios.

Now, I understand the need to let the rich elites whine about Chavez not letting them continue steal Venezuela’s resources for themselves; that really is part of the news-story here. But what the hell kind of criticism is it to say Chavez’s anti-poverty plans are “politically motivated?” He gets elected on his promises the impoverished masses then he tries to keep those promises in order to get re-elected. Okay. So he’s politically motivated. As opposed to what? How can that be seriously quoted as criticism? And the criticism that Chavez’s anti-poverty plans are piecemeal? Are we to believe that the anti-Chavez opposition wants to implement a larger, more comprehensive anti-poverty plan and that’s why they are opposing Chavez?

The piece is full of blather of this kind treated with seriousness an dignity — it’s a striking example of blatant media bias, as opposed to slightly less blatant media bias of usual.

Justin Podur of the Killing Train is in Caracas, Venezuela reporting from the ground. Check out his blog which he will update from Caracas whenever he gets a chance.

 

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