Dubious Sources Archives

January 3, 2007

BoRev USA Watch

The BoRev turns up in the darndest places. Today the Chicago Sun Times writes on an ad campaign from Las Palmas Mexican Restaurant, which has featured photos of Oaxacan protesters, Coretta Scott King, and yes, Hugo Chavez, “his hand in the air, proclaiming: "Long live the Venezuelan people! Long live the socialist revolution!”

Manager Marcos Rivera says he’s proud to put a spotlight on leaders “trying to make a change to better their people.” Graphic designer Fausto Lopez acknowledges they’ve had some complaints, but he’s happy to get culturally illiterate Americans thinking about Latin America beyond “their eighth grade history book.” All that and Tecate on tap!

January 14, 2007

Dubious Sources


So if you were looking for an objective source to clarify the complexities of Venezuela’s plans to re-nationalize its electrical and telecom networks, would you chose a guy who:

* Sat in the cabinet of the past Venezuelan administration and nurses a public grudge?

* Was personally in charge of privatizing these sectors in the first place?

* Runs a magazine that recently dedicated a special issue to bashing Chavez, including a cover story titled "Hugo Boss: How Chavez is refashioning dictatorship for a democratic age"?

* Brags that his views are backed by “an elite list of dignitaries, from the former president of Colombia to a former director of the CIA”?

* Calls contemporary Venezuela a “nightmare for its people and a threat not just to its neighbors but to the United States and even Europe”?

‘cause NPR did.

Moises Naim is a smart guy. He'd be a fine choice for an op-ed or a debate. But an objective analyst? That's just pathetic.

February 16, 2007

No 12-Step Program For “Nuts”

Now I have nothing but respect for those who have given up a destructive habit. I’m sure it’s tough and I intend to try it someday. But we all know somebody who quits drinking and can’t stop talking about how they quit drinking and sees a little bit of addict in everyone. It’s really annoying, and now it has a blog!

The Thorburn Addiction Report comes from the Bill Frist school of diagnosis-by-whatever. Each month, Doug Thorburn selects a celebrity and obsessively documents how they are 100% maybe an alcoholic. This month, Thorburn take on our own (famously teetotaling) Hugo Chavez, who narrowly edges out jailbird Bob Ney, hunky mayor Gavin Newsom, and one of the Mamas and the Papas. Here’s why:

… Chavez is described as paranoid and fears assassination plots. While paranoia is a common symptom of cocaine and amphetamine addiction, Chavez appears too bloated to be addicted to anything other than alcohol and, perhaps, pharmaceuticals such as barbiturates to offset his copious caffeine intake (Chavez is reported to drink as many as 30 demitasses of coffee a day and could be replicating Hitler’s caffeine/barbiturate use). On the other hand, the site recalls a Cuban defector who in 2002 said that Castro’s men consider Chavez and many of his inner circle to be “drug addicts.” A private correspondent, who has long suspected Chavez is on something, points out that his pupil size and puffy face vary considerably and early in his career a complacent shrink medicated both him and his wife. Another correspondent says he uses his wife as a punching bag. One of the lesser-known indications of alcoholism is what Lucy Barry Robe in Co-Starring Famous Women and Alcohol called “telephonitis,” or “drunk dialing.” Chavez is known for calling friends late at night, with no particular agenda.

Sometimes blogging is a cry for help. But often, it’s a hilarious cry for help.

February 22, 2007

The Great Uniter


So this is what happens when the Bush administration “engages” Latin America. Maybe Michael Shifter is onto something

Sure, their little charm offensive is moving along about as clunkily as you would expect. But it’s already had some fun results. Argentina told the Bushies to suck it yesterday as presidents Kirchner and Chavez vowed solidarity at a press conference. Awesomely, they are sending a vial of sulphur to Brasilia for President Lula to keep on hand when Bush visits next month.

At this rate, Bolivar’s hundred-year-old dream of a united South America will be realized by mid-March.

August 19, 2007

The Fine Line Between ‘Commentator’ and ‘Some Jackass with an Opinion’

The byline to yesterday’s Los Angeles Times story promises that if you read the article, you’ll be introduced to “commentators” who believe that Chavez’s proposed constitutional amendments constitute “a blow to democracy in the region.”

It’s always fun to take a look at who gets quoted in stories like this. I mean, hell, I’m a commentator, so are you. But the LA Times is a pretty sophisticated shop, with lots of access to the top minds and players on the world stage, so of course their “commentators” are top drawer.

Haha j/k. The Times quotes exactly two “commentators” concerned about the Venezuelan proposal, and the first one is some random dude who, swear to god, posted a comment on a blog in Mexico City comparing Hugo Chavez, unfavorably, with Darth Vader. The other one is a conservative Salvadorian ex-ambassador with ties to the Bush administration.

Two other commentators include a Colombian think-tanker and a Nicaraguan “political analyst,” but they are in favor of the proposal so their take didn’t make it into the headline.

Oh, and then way down at the bottom was this guy, an Ecuadorian analyst who inserted some relevant context. As it turns out,

Presidents Alberto Fujimori of Peru, Carlos Menem of Argentina and Alvaro Uribe of Colombia pushed through constitutional changes that enabled them to hold on to power longer than law prescribed.
I think we’ve cracked the code: history at the end, histrionics on top.

October 2, 2007

In Case You Were Wondering, Everyone’s Just Sort of Winging It

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is romping all over America’s Backyard™ this week, stopping off to visit such “top allies” like El Salvador and …um… “Other stops were not revealed.” Seriously. They aren’t going to tell us what countries he’s going to.

Scary, right? Or at least intriguing? Maybe something that a reporter might want to look into? Haha J/K.

Without any actual information, the crack journalists turn to the "analysts" who give us their super-informed "analysis." And so as always, the visit is maybe probably “aimed at countering the growing influence of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in the region,” because, as whipsmart analyst Michael Shifter notes, “The worrisome issue for the United States is, what is Chavez doing and what are his plans.” 'N stuff. And America's long slog toward borderline retardation continues...

October 22, 2007

Everyone’s Smarter Than Ricardo Hausmann!


Can anybody explain how Harvard economist Ricardo Hausmann still has a career? Let’s recap: back in 1989, when he and fellow smartypants Venezuelan Moises Naim were economic advisors to soon-to-be-disgraced president Carlos Andres Perez, they introduced the brilliant “shock package" into the economy that led to riots and repression and mass graves in Venezuela’s worst human rights disaster in history. Back then everything he touched turned to shitburger, and it’s all been sort of been downhill ever since.

Continue reading "Everyone’s Smarter Than Ricardo Hausmann!" »

November 26, 2007

Credible Source Watch

There should be a rule that any journalist citing polls from the Venezuelan firm Datanalysis make note of the following quote from the company’s president five years ago:

The Los Angeles Times quoted [José Antonio] Gil on what to do: "And he can see only one way out of the political crisis surrounding President Hugo Chávez. 'He has to be killed,' he said, using his finger to stab the table in his office far above this capital's filthy streets. 'He has to be killed.'"

UPDATE: Some people were having trouble accessing the link above. You can also find the story here.

November 28, 2007

Because Why Check These Things?

Über-dubious Venezulean polling firm Datanalisis made headlines in all the major outlets this week with their Chavez-is-going-down results—don’t miss the fawning coverage from AP, Reuters, The Miami Herald (natch) and The Guardian (sigh).

Apparently, though, they were just kidding.

UPDATE: U.S. watchdogs are finally starting to warn of "fraudulent polls and other deceptions [that]will be used to challenge the results of Venezuela's referendum.

November 29, 2007

Poll Positioning

As tons of readers were quick to email us (Thanks! You can totally stop now!), Reuters sort of mischaracterized the result of a poll from the firm Consultores today, erring—get this—on the side most favorable to the opposition. Shocking, I know. The headline gives Venezuela’s’ constitutional reforms a seven-point lead in this Sunday’s referendum, but when you scroll down you find that that’s only the most conservative estimate. “Likely voters” give the package a 16-point victory.

Of course, that’s still one huge step up from other outlets that continue to rely solely on surveys whose own sponsors admit is bullshit. Which itself is a giant step up from reporters who cite the BS survey and additionally quote spokesman from Cosultores to pretend that its survey backs up what the bullshit survey says.

Confused? I think that’s actually the point. Soothe yourself with the full Consultores poll results. It’s got charts and everything.

January 13, 2009

Professors Abuse Human Rights Watch's Human Rights With "Letters" and "Questions"

littleproffesor.jpgWowzers. Human Rights Watch Exec Director Kenneth Roth may just be a little bit thin-skinned. You'll remember that before Christmas, 118 professors wrote him a letter pointing out the dozens of factual inaccuracies, bad sourcing and political biases in a recent HRW report on Venezuela. A couple weeks later, Roth came back with an official response that managed to avoid answering any actual questions, but did wrap up on this classy note:

"These new allegations echo those that the Chávez government has itself employed to divert attention from the country's human rights problems. As we document in the report, President Chávez and his supporters routinely seek to deflect criticism by accusing their critics of harboring ulterior political motives."

So there you go, questioning Human Rights Watch is sort of a human rights violation in its own right. But apparently the professors didn't take the warning to heart, because today they sent another letter, explaining that Roth never answered the questions from the first letter, which is exactly what they used to do in the Gulags, probably.

February 20, 2009

N.Y.T. and Irony: Together In Perfect Harmony!

Remember this creepy scene from The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (minute mark 7:12) where the wild-eyed coupsters declare that Venezuela's constitution is no longer valid, and then they laugh and cheer as some scary dude dissolves the National Assembly and the Supreme Court and installs some evil midget as supreme ruler?

Well the guy that authored the, um, "legal?" decree authorizing the whole bizarre departure from democracy was a gentleman named Allan Brewer Carias. Today, naturally, the New York Times has published a long, crazy interview with this fucknut, where he expresses his deep, sincere, fake concerns that ending term limits has made Venezuela a "totalitarian regime." Term limits!

Opposition blog Caracas Chronicles is pissed that the Times would make some comic book evildoer the face of the Venezuelan opposition. Because, you know, they've got an image to maintain.

About Dubious Sources

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to BoRev.Net in the Dubious Sources category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Colombia is the previous category.

The BoRev Beyond Venezuela is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.