U.S. Press Reaches All-Time Low on Venezuela Coverage


As the great Latin American author Eduardo Galeano once wrote, “Every time the US ‘saves’ a country, it converts it into either an insane asylum or a cemetery.”  As we look over the wreckage left by the U.S. in countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Syria, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, we see that this statement is beyond dispute. Yet now, with the Trump administration apparently poised for direct military intervention in Venezuela, journalists have once again donned pom-poms to cheerlead for this idiotic policy.

Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) could find not one voice opposing Trump’s regime change plans in Venezuela in an analysis of 76 “elite” press articles from January 15 to April 15 of this year.  Meanwhile, more than half openly supported the administration.  

Of course, this is not surprising given the press’s usual complicity in past U.S. war efforts, from the bogus Gulf of Tonkin myth to WMDs in Iraq to the alleged Viagra-fueled rapes in Libya, among multiple media and government joint productions. The current lies are coming fast and furious. CNN lied about seeing Maduro forces lighting aid containers on fire at the Colombian border (it was in fact opposition forces which did so, as the New York Times admitted two weeks later). The network also claimed that U.S. puppet Juan Guaido won the 2018 presidential election against Nicolas Maduro when in fact Guaido wasn’t even a candidate.

The media’s unanimous support for the ongoing coup in Venezuela is all the more revolting, if not surprising, given that the same outlets that have been rightly critical of Trump for all of his lying and evil policies have suddenly “discovered” that he is brilliant and benevolent when it comes to Venezuela.  This is particularly remarkable given that his partners in this crime are Neocon John Bolton; former CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who recently joked that the CIA’s true motto is “We lied, We Cheated, We Stole”; and convicted liar Elliott Abrams. As for the latter, he is infamous for his role in the illegal funding of the Nicaraguan Contras; his covering up of the El Mozote massacre in El Salvador in which U.S.-backed forces killed around 1,000 civilians, mostly women and children; and his aiding and abetting the US-backed genocide in Guatemala.  

Somehow, though, we are to believe from our “free” press that these gangsters are going to bring democracy and human rights to Venezuela. Never mind the fact that Trump himself became president after losing to Hillary Clinton by nearly 3 million votes, and that the U.S., in the words of former President Jimmy Carter, no longer is a functioning democracy.

Meanwhile, this same captive press incessantly tells of us of the deprivations and travails in Venezuela while refusing to explain how, as UN Expert Dr. Alfred de Zayas has concluded, this state of affairs is largely the result of U.S. sanctions.  Recently, respected economist Jeffrey Sachs co-authored a report showing that since August 2017, sanctions have killed more than 40,000 Venezuelans deprived of food and life-saving medicines. But few would know about any of this because de Zayas and Sachs are shut out of the mainstream media.

Also largely unheard from are the six million Venezuelans who voted for Maduro in May of 2018 and who have turned out for huge pro-government demonstrations. Instead, the media gives ink and air time mostly to white, well-off, English-speaking opposition supporters, thereby feeding the narrative that Maduro has no support. This is not journalism but naked propaganda.

[Note: A version of this story ran at the esteemed publication CounterPunch.]

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Daniel Kovalik teaches International Human Rights at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and is author of the forthcoming, "The Plot to Overthrow Venezuela, How the US is Orchestrating a Coup for Oil," with a Foreword by Oliver Stone.