Press is Not Free Archives

April 24, 2007

Venezuelan Newspapers Only Rank an 8 on the Crazy Scale; Please Try Harder

Recently, quietly, some dipshit in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a bill “calling on the Government of Venezuela to respect a free and independent media and to avoid all acts of censorship against the media and free expression.” Sounds fair, and if there’s ever any censorship of the Venezuelan press it might actually be relevant.

As El Universal shows us today (and every other day), Venezuelan newspapers have fewer filters than a stroke victim. Check out this Op-ed, which opens thusly:

Americans believe that the most dangerous enemy they face today is Osama bin Laden. But they are wrong. Based upon the cold logic of weapons capability and the intention to use them, the most dangerous enemy America faces today is Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.

And it just gets stupider from there.

So thanks, Congressman Weller and all those Republican co-sponsors! America is proud that you’re spending your time on crap like this. Maybe now you can direct your attention to, say, Costa Rica, which jails dissident journalists, or Colombia and Mexico which shoot them. Or here’s a novel concept, maybe you can draft up a resolution in support of American journalists who are being detained and imprisoned for the first time in U.S. history.

May 15, 2007

And They Looked So Innocent: Cute Iddle Babies As A Weapon of Fascism


Adolph Hitler loved babies. Joe Stalin loved babies. Hugo Chavez…loves babies. I rest my case.

This chilling revelation—and accompanying photo—comes from the front page of yesterday’s Tal Cual, Venezuela’s intellectual daily newspaper. Editor Teodoro Petkoff is a former opposition presidential candidate and a frequent Venezuela “analyst” in such venerable media outlets as the Washington Post, USA Today, and National Public Radio, so you know his piece is really well researched.

And that’s not even the scary part. I’ve done some research of my own, and it turns out that plenty of supposedly “respectable” public figures in the United States harbor similar fascist tendencies. Read on…

President Bush? Fascist. President Clinton? Fascist fascist. Mother Theresa? The godmother of fascism.

Who were you thinking about voting for in ‘08? Because Obama is a fascist. So is Hillary. Mitt Freaking Romney? He’s got like 20 of ‘em!!

But there’s more: You can see that Britney Spears doesn’t even restrain her fascist tendencies with a car seat. Here Michael Jackson flaunts his inner fascist by dangling it precariously over a ledge. Madonna is a founding member of Fascism Without Borders. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are stockpiling a goddamned rainbow tribe of fascism hellbent on world domination!!

There’s really nobody left to trust, except of course Teodoro Petkoff—he hates babies! Or Joan Crawford. Or maybe, maybe somebody like Jeffrey Dahmer. Although even he enjoyed fascism with a little ketchup.

June 21, 2007

Do We Have To Start Paying Their Cable Bill, Too?


Attention all fake journalists from the greater Miami area: you are one step closer to employable! Connie Mack just slipped an amendment into the 2008 Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill that would expand Voice of America and beam it over to Venezuela in order to convince them to stop voting for people we don’t like.

Mack’s press release doesn’t specify exactly what its going to cost us taxpayers, but our programming to Cuba has run up a $250 million dollar tab over the past decade, and um, Venezuela is quite a bit larger than Cuba and sort of on another continent, so you can imagine.

This is a really important move, Mack tells us, because in Venezuela, “the only thing the people can see or hear are the things that Hugo Chavez lets his media print and broadcast.” If true, then Chavez has some seriously diverse tastes, and a lot of freaking time on his hands to monitor it all.

Here’s a listing of what’s playing on Venezuelan cable TV tonight. Apparently Chavez has personally approved news coverage by opposition station Globovision, as well as international carriers like CNN, Fox News and the BBC. He’s also given the thumbs up to “Los Dukes de Hazzard,” “La Famila Ingalls,” and, awesomely, “Los Angeles de Charlie.” That, along with the full programming schedules of about 200 other domestic and international stations. Seriously, it’s a wonder he has any time left over to hate our way of life--although if he actually sat through that all-day marathon of Talladega Nights on channel 414, I sort of don't blame him.

I just hope Mack has slipped in an enormous advertising budget for VOA.Ve. If it gets lost in all those TV options, people might start to think it’s a big ol' waste of our tax dollars.

September 20, 2007

That Moral High Road

This summer, Venezuela’s opposition parties scored a bit of a public relations “coup” (heh heh) with a pretty ingenious strategy: set up fake—oops—"spontaneous" student movements, and make their centerpiece issue something that everyone cares about, like say “Free Speech.” Point, them.

But of course it’s the Venezuelan opposition so they are going to fuck up any advantage they’d gained in a dark yet amusing way. This week they’ve shifted their messaging a little tiny bit away from “a free and unrestricted press” and a little tiny bit toward “violently attack the crap out of newspapers that report on scandals involving opposition political leaders and demand that they be shut down forever and ever.” Point, um, nobody. Sigh.

November 22, 2007

Does Anyone Know Where Bill O’Reilly Tapes His Show?

Sure, in Mexico and Colombia reporters get killed all the time for reporting on “drug cartels” or “election rigging,” but we really need to paying attention to the “uneasy climate for free speech” in Venezuela, mostly because it’s really, really funny.

The reporter above had mocked the Congresswoman’s dead infant son, so she showed up on the set of his show and slapped him, which sounds like a reasonable response to me.

November 26, 2007

Freakanomics: Venezuela v. Chile

Forget what you thought you knew, bitches. While both countries are (equally) over-reliant on a single commodity, only Venezuelan salaries keep up with inflation and have appropriately addressed unemployment. And of course, Venezuelan reserves are far better prepared for the future. Apparently Latin America’s “good” economy is only better at making foreign company’s richer, which is what makes it “stable,” international rankings-wise.

January 8, 2008

But They Had Such A Wholesome Sounding Name


I’m guessing it was the “& Publisher” camp that prompted Editor and Publisher to run a lame story about the misadventures of the misnamed Inter-American Press Association in Venezuela last week.

You may know that the IAPA, name notwithstanding, doesn’t represent “journalists” so much as “the white guys who own the newspapers.” So you won’t be shocked to hear that back in the day, five CIA plants at Chile’s El Mercurio, the newspaper that helped Salvador Allende commit suicide, later joined the IAPA’s board (Five! Really.)

Anyway, they hate the Venezuela, and they wrote about it. And they love the Colombia, even though that’s where reporters are getting killed. And they’re douchebags. And they got taken down today, journalistically speaking.

March 26, 2008

Factors to Consider When Planning a Conference

So the Inter-American Press Association is holding their annual meeting this weekend to discuss the “regressions of press freedom” in left-leaning LatAm countries. Oh did I mention it will be held in Caracas? Because if it was in, say, Colombia or Mexico, authorities would shoot the attendees, set them on fire, dress them up as leftist rebels, and call it progress in the War on Terror.

October 17, 2008

That Iron Grip

ironfist.jpgLast week a newspaper editor threatened on national Venezuelan television to kill Chavez "like Mussolini." And so today the government board that oversees TV content says the station might, you know, "face fines" for it, although no decision has been made. Worst. Dictatorship. Ever.

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