And You Thought Fox News Was Nuts
Big media outlets are up in arms over the Venezuelan government’s decision not to renew the license for TV network Radio Television Caracas (RCTV). The reports have seriously watered down the charges against the station. The New York Times describes the situation as a political beef with the station’s “editorial policies,” while the Independent calls it retaliation against RCTV “for being critical” of Chavez. Sort of like Timothy McVeigh was “critical” of the U.S. government.
Here’s a rundown how the station spent its spring break a few years back:
> In April 2002, coup organizers plan an anti-government march in downtown Caracas, attracting thousands of demonstrators. RCTV and other private stations encourage Venezuelans to participate. At the last minute, the route of the march is redirected toward the presidential palace, and mercenaries begin firing on the crowd, killing 18.
> Amidst the bloody chaos, rebel military leaders kidnap President Chavez and transport him to a Caribbean island. RCTV and other private stations broadcast a statement that Chavez had…um… resigned.
> Interim President Pedro Carmona (Pedro the Brief) promptly suspends the Venezuelan Constitution, dissolves Congress and the Supreme Court, and basically appoints himself emperor. RCTV president Marcel Granier is there for the fun .
> Coup leaders appear on television and explain how it all went down. They single out RCTV, thanking the network for its assistance.
> RCTV calls on Venezuelans to rat out friends and neighbors who had been associated with the Chavez administration and turn them in for arrest.
> When word gets out to the public, via international reports, that this had been a coup, not a resignation, RCTV bans its reporters from covering the story.
> 24 hours later, after widespread popular protests surround the presidential palace and the military captures coup leaders, RCTV suspends its news programming in favor of an emergency cartoon marathon.
If this happened in the U.S., station officials would be in jail or at Guantanamo. Suspending their license seems like a sane, if merciful, step.