Archive for the ‘media’ Category

Venezuela: Big shoes and misreports

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

I’ve been looking at headlines like “Chavez’ legacy fades in Venezuela as crowds fill the streets”. Whoever came up with that one misses the point altogether: It is Hugo Chávez’s legacy that has brought people out on the streets. As I have explained before,

For over two weeks, the people have been protesting against the government. What started as a students’ protest has spread throughout the country – even the beauty queens are protesting. Why?

The protests accompany inflation officially at 56% (but likely much, much higher); the third-highest murder rate of any country in the world; and, according to an official index, scarce supplies of one out of four staple items needed in every home, such as cooking oil, corn flour, and toilet paper.

Nationalization and expropriation of private businesses, price controls, huge corruption, government printing money to finance itself (including having to pay bond yields higher than all 55 emerging markets tracked by Bloomberg) are all part and parcel of a ruined economy. The scarce benefits that may have accrued under Chavez are being eaten away fast by the crisis.

One of the causes for the rampant criminality is due to the multiple times when, urging his “Bolivarian Revolution,” Hugo Chavez  encouraged the poor to steal while he created a favored class, instead of directing his regime towards the rule of law. Chavez armed gangs that repressed opposition demonstrations (and, make no mistake, they’re on the attack now). He named to his cabinet men who were designated as “Tier II Kingpins”  by the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. To worsen things, as part of his “war of all the peoples”, Chavez forged close ties with Iran and Hezbollah.

Add to how socialism has destroyed Venezuela, the regime’s suppression of the media

Daniel Duquenal put it more succinctly:

The protests come from people who realize that their future has been robbed by a narco-kleptocracy. Almost anyone in Venezuela that has aspirations to a better future through education, hard work, you name it, questions more or less actively the regime.

Chávez publicly declared himself a Marxist almost a decade ago, urging even the Catholic bishops to read “Marx, Lenin and the Bible“, but the WaPo says, “In Chávez’s big shoes, Maduro stumbles“.

Well, what the hell else do you expect, when the “big shoes” beat the country’s path to ruin?

Then there’s the outright dishonesty of some reports: Does this look like 5,000 people to you?

It did to AP’s Venezuela Bureau Chief Joshua Goodman. Alek Boyd takes Goodman to the woodshed over Misreporting Venezuela. Not that Goodman is alone. Why do they do it? (emphasis added)

In the opinion of Goodman et al, what we have here is a government supported by brown-skinned, poor, disenfranchised people trying to survive a wave of violence, unleashed by radical, conservative, educated middle classes, bent on wresting control through undemocratic means, to then surrender sovereignty to U.S. interests. Never mind the brutality, torture, and assassinations of innocent, and unarmed, students and civilians. Never mind the excessive use of military force to placate peaceful demonstrations. Never mind the presence of a de facto Cuban occupation army. Never mind the fact that chavismo has never won overall control of student and authorities bodies of Venezuelan universities, where voting is still done manually.

Chavismo needs / must advance this notion of it being democratic. Since parts of its discourse marries well with widespread anti Americanism, the BBC, Goodman et al do a fantastic job at misinforming the uninformed and the ignorant. Not only do they misrepresent the crisis, they also misrepresent the parties. No word would be read from this lot on how the “moderate” wing is supported by utterly corrupt chavista bankers and political operatives that are, in no small part, responsible for the current situation.

The “moderate” wing, by the way, that some refer to as the “official opposition”.

Boyd’s essay points to the importance of social media when the MSM abdicates its duty to present facts:

However, no amount of manipulated subjectivity passing as objective journalism can win the day against social media. While the reach of BBC and AP is, most certainly, global, it pales next to that of Twitter and Facebook, where the Venezuelan crisis is being reported in real time, unedited, by hundreds of thousands of citizen reporters armed with smartphones.

Go read the whole thing.

And while you’re at it, get rid of those “big shoes” of Chávez “reporters” are trying to throw at you.

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Related:
A YEAR INTO MADURO REIGN, MORE PROTESTS AND AN OSCARS CRACKDOWN IN VENEZUELA

This is not Ukraine: Venezuela will erode, not explode

Most deeply buried news item of the day: Iranian envoys in Cubazuela

Argentina: The end for Clarín

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

Grupo Clarín, known for its criticism of kirchnerismo and Cristina Fernandez, will likely have to sell its profitable cable-TV and Internet businesses:
Argentine Court Clears Media Breakup
Argentina’s Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a law that could allow the government to dismantle Grupo Clarin SA, the country’s largest media company.

The decision caps a four-year battle against Clarín by Mrs. Kirchner, who has made dismantling the media giant a top priority of her administration. Relations between both sides began to fray shortly after she took office in 2007. The newspaper was critical of her handling of a farmers strike in 2008.

The following year, she stripped Clarín of lucrative soccer-broadcasting rights and later seized control of a newsprint maker in which Clarín is a shareholder. Her administration also filed criminal charges against executives from Clarín and competing newspaper La Nación, accusing them of colluding with Argentina’s 1976-83 dictatorship to obtain control of the newsprint company. Clarín and La Nación denied the allegations and called them an effort to silence critical voices.

In one particularly bitter episode, Mrs. Kirchner’s government and human-rights groups teamed up against Clarín’s owner, Ernestina Herrera de Noble, and accused her of adopting children who may have been stolen during the 1970s dictatorship. DNA tests later confirmed that the children, Marcela and Felipe, couldn’t be tied to a database of people that had been “disappeared” during the dictatorship. The government never apologized.

This year, Mrs. Kirchner compared the media to military coup-mongers, saying journalists fire “ink bullets” in their bid to overthrow governments and pursue their own vested special interests. Some of her government’s top officials stormed Clarín’s annual shareholder meeting in April to heckle company officials. Mrs. Kirchner once acknowledged using the federal tax agency to investigate a critic of hers that had been quoted in Clarín.

“It’s a blood vendetta,” said Riordan Roett, professor of Latin American politics at Johns Hopkins University. “Both Kirchners, dead or alive, were and are very thin-skinned.”

Mrs. Kirchner’s husband and predecessor, Néstor Kirchner, died in 2010.

The decision could mark a turning point in freedom of expression in Argentina. Clarín has long said that income from cable and Internet businesses allows it to maintain its editorial independence by giving it the financial security to withstand the loss of advertising from hard-hitting articles against business or government leaders.

Interestingly, the Court made its decision after Sunday’s election:

 The legal victory for the government comes only two days afterPresident Fernández’s administration took a beating in Sunday’s mid-term legislative elections, raising the spectre of a “lame duck” presidency for the ailing Fernández until the next presidential elections in 2015.

Supreme Court judge Eugenio Zaffaroni claims it was “so it wouldn’t look like they were trying to influence the outcome.”

Zaffaroni also stated that the law will be carried out (i.e., Clarín will have to sell its cable-TV and Internet businesses) regardless of whether the company appeals.


Assange’s not going to like Ecuador

Friday, September 27th, 2013

Gleen Garvin in today’s Miami Herald: Julian Assange and Ecuador’s strangled press.

While the movie starring a bleached Benedict Cumberbatch is coming out next month and the real-life Assange is stuck in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, the fact is that if he gets political asylum in Ecuador, he’ll most likely end up in jail:

Aside from the Castro brothers, there’s nobody in the Western Hemisphere who’s trying harder to do away with freedom of the press than Assange’s putative champion, Ecuador’s rambunctiously left-wing president Rafael Correa. In June, Correa pushed through a law establishing the crime of “media lynching,” defined as the “dissemination of information” with “the purpose of discrediting” someone. If Richard Nixon had access to a law like that, maybe Woodward and Bernstein would have won a second Pulitzer for their prison diaries.

You’d think even the most hyperactive despot would rest on his laurels for a while after passing a masterpiece like the media-lynching law, but for all the criticism of Correa, nobody has ever attacked his work ethic. Earlier this month, his chief legal advisor asked the legislature to let the government start jailing people for wisecracks on Facebook, Twitter and other social media.

If Assange thinks he has it bad now . . .

Argentina: Feed a regime, starve a media

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Cristina Fernandez, viuda de Kirchner, is not happy that the country’s journalists are reporting about her smear campaign against Pope Francis, the real inflation figures ( >25%), and international investors’ loss of confidence in the country. Mary O’Grady has the story,

Kirchner Tries to Starve the Independent Press
Argentina’s government employs tax inspectors and advertising boycotts to punish critics.

There have been criminal actions against newspaper officials for editorials it didn’t like, attempts to gain control of the country’s domestic newsprint supply, and the passage of a law that politicizes the granting of broadcast licenses and the sale of spectrum. Then there was the September 2009 raid by some 200 tax agents on the daily Clarín, and the deployments of pro-Kirchner mobs to block the distribution of some newspapers that do not toe the Kirchner line.

Now Mrs. Kirchner is trying to financially ruin her critics in the press. One tool is the government’s $100 million-plus advertising budget—excluding the much larger budget for soccer broadcasts. An analysis by the daily La Nación (which publishes some Wall Street Journal content) of 2012 spending over 2011 shows a 65.3% increase in the purchase of space for public announcements and, more commonly, government propaganda in the country’s newspapers and magazines. Yet the four most important independent newspaper publishers—El Cronista, Clarín, La Nación and Perfil—all lost business from the government in 2012. La Nación lost a whopping 83%. El Cronista was down 48%, Clarín lost 37% and Perfil 12%.

The punishment doesn’t end there. At a meeting on Feb. 4 the minister of domestic commerce, Guillermo Moreno, mandated that supermarket chains would have to freeze prices for 60 days. According to a March 3 report in Clarín, Mr. Moreno also instructed those merchants present to halt the purchase of print advertising in Buenos Aires and the surrounding area media outlets. According to the Clarín report, he said the boycott would include companies that sell appliances and electronics.

The government initially denied that it had decreed any such thing. But according to Clarín, merchants told the newspaper that they are under strict orders not to buy advertising from the independent newspapers in and around the capital. Clarín said that failure to obey such commands, even though they are not law, can be costly. Businesses fear government reprisals in the form of tax inspections, the withholding of import licenses, and lawsuits brought in the name of consumer protection.

A tad more subtle than the late Hugo Chavez’s closing RCTV and 34 other TV and radio stations and his attacks on Globovisión, for sure. Plus she can always blame forces beyond her control, like the Vicomte de Valmont, with the extra bonus of blaming capitalism.

Something like that could never happen here, of course.

UPDATE:
Linked by HACER. Thank you!

“I think you will regret staking out that claim.”

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

As you all know by now, Bob Woodward, the guy who brought down Nixon, has made the White House unhappy by (correctly) asserting that sequestration was Obama’s idea in the first place. So unhappy that, after being yelled at for an hour, Woodward received an email from Gene Sperling, economic adviser to the president, promising(?)

But I do truly believe you should rethink your comment about saying saying that Potus asking for revenues is moving the goal post. I know you may not believe this, but as a friend, I think you will regret staking out that claim.

The charm oozes from the email later on, when Gene apologizes for yelling at Bob, but Bob isn’t the only one getting the yeller (h/t Instapundit): Ron Fournier writes,

As editor-in-chief of National Journal, I received several e-mails and telephone calls from this White House official filled with vulgarity, abusive language, and virtually the same phrase that Woodward called a veiled threat. “You will regret staking out that claim,” The Washington Post reporter was told.

Once I moved back to daily reporting this year, the badgering intensified. I wrote Saturday night, asking the official to stop e-mailing me. The official wrote, challenging Woodward and my tweet. “Get off your high horse and assess the facts, Ron,” the official wrote.

Lanny Davis (audio starts immediately) told Washington, D.C.’s WMAL this morning that the Obama White House had threatened the Washington Times over his column.

Woodward says sequestration is “a kind of madness I haven’t seen in a long time.”

So, is Woodward overreacting, or has he created a perfect storm of a timely controversy about the media and individual reporters?

Mind you, not just any individual reporter, but the reporter who brought down a POTUS, and had Robert Redford and Jack Nicholson (as Jack Foreman) play him in movies a generation ago.

Or is this just a generational thing that young voters will brush aside?

RELATED:
The presidency as theater:

And thus the facade continues: promising peace and delivering expanded war, with new frontiers broken for drone killings of children and other innocents, legal justifications crafted for killing Americans, and near-limitless executive power over nearly every aspect of our lives. Reciting the Progressive line while delivering impoverishment, decreased access and less-affordable healthcare, clearly it matters only what he says, not what is. His hoped-for next act: new goals of gun control that would make the most vulnerable more so, an increased minimum wage that would further exacerbate the inability of those with no work experience to get an entry-level job in which to hone the skills that will put them on the economic ladder, and “green” measures, based, like the Life of Pi, on computer-generated fantasy so much more appealing than dry real-world data.


The New Yorker. Yes, the New Yorker.

Saturday, October 6th, 2012

H/t Dan Riehl, and now, a Memeorandum meme.

An empty Obama chair on the cover of The New Yorker smells like … victory.

UPDATE,
DaTechGuy:

Your reaction and the New Yorker Cover have become ample proof that the emperor not only has no clothes, but even those in the court are now willing to say it.

And THAT is a game changer.

@BarackObama at the @Univision forum

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

Contrasting Mitt’s confident and relaxed replies last night, today Obama was wordy and hesitant. Drudge has the headlines (and points out this was Obama’s “first serious interview” in…how long now?)

 

His answer when asked “what is your biggest failure” started with pandering and ended with Obamamalaise,

Obama’s Learned He’s a Failure:

1) Given how he so often says he wakes up every morning thinking about what he could do to create jobs, it’s interesting that he says his inability to pass comprehensive immigration reform (even when he totally controlled Congress) was his biggest failure. But I suppose that can be written off as simple pandering.

Which, incidentally, didn’t work, since Ramos did not let him off the hook later in the interview,

2) His biggest lesson, meanwhile, is that “you can’t change Washington from the inside.” Wait a second. In the 2008 primaries, his whole argument with Hillary Clinton was over this exact question. She believed that you can change Washington from the inside and Barack Obama said you couldn’t.

It took no time for Romney to fire back,

Matthew Boyle describes Obama’s answer on Fast and Furious,

You told me during an interview that you and Mr. Holder did not authorize the Fast and Furious operation that allowed 2,000 weapons from the United States into Mexico and they were in the drug trafficking [cartels'] hands,” Univision co-host Jorge Ramos asked Obama, according to a translator, during the interview. “I think that up to 100 Mexicans might have died and also American agent Brian Terry. There’s a report that 14 agents were responsible for the operation but shouldn’t the attorney general, Eric Holder, he should have known about that and if he didn’t, should you fire him?”

Obama responded with similar talking points his administration has used time and again.

“Well, first of all, I think it’s important to understand that the Fast and Furious program was a field-initiated program, begun under the previous administration,” Obama said. “When Eric Holder found out about it, he discontinued it. We assigned an inspector general to do a thorough report that was just issued — confirming that in fact Eric Holder did not know about this, that he took prompt action and that the people who did initiate this were held accountable. But, what I think is most important is recognizing that we’ve got a challenge in terms of weapons flowing south, and the strategy that was pursued out of Arizona, obviously, was completely wrongheaded. Those folks who were responsible have been held accountable. The question now is, how do we move forward with a strategy that will actually work?”

“We are going to have to work with Mexican law enforcement to accomplish this, but I will tell you that Eric Holder has my complete confidence, because he has shown himself to be willing to hold accountable those who took these actions and is passionate about making sure that we’re preventing guns from getting into the wrong hands,” Obama continued.

Ramos followed up in English: “But if you have nothing to hide, then why are you not releasing papers to the –”

Obama responded: “The truth is we’ve released thousands of papers.

“But not all of them,” Ramos countered. (RELATED: Inspector general: Obama administration obstructed Fast and Furious investigation)

“We’ve released almost all of them,” Obama said. “The ones that we don’t release, typically, relate to internal communications that were not related to the actual Fast and Furious operation. The challenge that we have is that, at any given moment in the federal government, there may be people who do dumb things, and I’ve seen it, I promise. Ultimately, I’m responsible and my key managers, including the attorney general, are responsible for holding those people accountable, for making sure that they are fired if they do dumb things and then fixing the system to ensure that it doesn’t happen again, and I’m very confident that you will not see any kinds of actions like this in the future, but what I don’t like to see is these kinds of issues becoming political circuses or ways to score political points in Congress partly because it becomes a distraction from us doing the business that we need to do for the American people.”

When pressed on for an independent investigation,

Obama answered: “Well, understand that, not only have we had multiple hearings in Congress, but the inspector general is put in place specifically to be independent from the attorney general. This attorney general’s [sic] report was not a whitewash in any way. I mean, it was tough on the Justice Department, and it indicated that, potentially, more supervision was needed, people should have known in some cases, even if they didn’t actually know. So, it was, I think, independent, honest, it was a clear assessment of what had gone wrong in that situation.”

“And we are happy to continue to provide the information that is relevant to this, but one of the things that happens in Washington is, very quickly, these issues become political distractions as opposed to us actually solving the problems that we need to solve,” Obama continued. “And, this issue of guns flowing south is a hard issue to solve, because this country respects the Second Amendment, we want to protect the rights of gun owners and those who are seeking to purchase firearms, but oftentimes that’s exploited as well. And so we’ve got to make sure we’re properly balancing the rights of U.S. citizens but making sure that we’re also interdicting those arms that would get into the hands of criminals.”

Video below the fold, since it starts right away,
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@MittRomney on @Univision last night

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

Spanish-language station Univision is holding two question and answer sessions with the Presidential candidates. Last night was Mitt’s turn.

The show was at the University of Miami in front of a live audience, with simultaneous interpreters (the man translating Romney did a brilliant job). Jorge Ramos, Univision’s Mexican anchorman and pro-illegal immigration/open borders advocate, and Maria Elena Salinas asked the questions. Here’s the first part of the show,

[CORRECTION: video below the fold below since it starts right away]

The first question was on the 47%. Romney answered he’s about the 100 percent of America:

“The last several years you’ve seen greater and greater divisiveness in this country,” said the GOP hopeful. “We had hoped to come back together. But instead you’ve seen us pull apart. And politics has driven us apart in some respects. So my campaign is about the 100 percent of America. And I’m concerned about them. I’m concerned about the fact that over the last four years life has become harder for Americans.”

The second question was on immigration. Romney emphasized that Obama’s recent executive order is a temporary measure, while “I will reform immigration the immigration system”; Salinas tried to interrupt but Romney asserted that he wants permanent solutions and he supports Marco Rubio’s ideas. Salinas asked about deportations and Romney answered that we need to find permanent solutions instead of deportations or Obama’s temporary plan. Ramos pressed on deportations and got boo’ed. Romney replied that self-deportation is an individual’s choice and emphasized legal immigration as vital to the US’s growth. Ramos asked about the Arizona law, to which Romney replied that the reason the states are taking measures is the Obama’s administration failure to find a solution to the problem.

Overall, Romney came across as relaxed, clear, and confident. He had no notes, no teleprompters, and remained on topic, bringing his point across, regardless of the interruptions.

Definitely a good preview for the presidential debates.

UPDATE,
Linked by Extrano’s alley. Thank you!


VIDEO OF THE UNIVISION INTERVIEW BELOW,
(more…)

France: Charlie Hebdo strikes one for freedom of the press and freedom of expression

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

The guys who were firebombed last November over a Mohammed cartoon are at it again,
Charlie Hebdo, Satirical Weekly, Publishes Cartoons Of The Prophet Mohammad. The French government ordered schools and embassies to close on Friday.

This is what the cover looks like,

Gateway Pundit has the definitely-not-suitable-for-work inside cartoons. More NSFW here. It already sold out.

The government issued a statement,

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault reaffirms that the freedom of expression is one of the fundamental principles of our Republic. This freedom is exercised within the framework of the law and under the supervision of the courts when a case is referred to them.

He also reaffirms the principle of laicité [secularism] which, along with the values of tolerance and respect for religious convictions, is at the heart of our Republican Pact.

And this is why, in the current context, the prime minister would like to express his disapproval of any excesses. He urges everyone to demonstrate a spirit of responsibility

Certainly the cops won’t be showing up to take away CH’s editor for questioning.

Taranto says that Paris is defending American values more vigorously than Washington is:

Free speech does not mean government-sanctioned speech, and Fabius’s criticism of the magazine’s editorial decision is an entirely reasonable and prudent one. The qualification, however, is crucially important–and, as we noted last week, it was missing from the statements of President Obama and Fabius’s counterpart, Hillary Clinton, about the YouTube film that the Obama administration blames for the recent anti-American violence in North Africa and elsewhere (though the Washington Examinerreports that the White House press secretary today put in a word for “the freedom of expression that is enshrined in our Constitution”).

Particularly since the riots are not about the video.

No, he didn’t respect them in the morning. UPDATED

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

While the busloads are trying to bring in enough people to fill the Bank of America Stadium (a.k.a. The Stadium That Must Not Be Named) in Charlotte, the media’s not happy:

Reporters scolded by Democratic garbage police, i.e., “environmental consultants”

Throughout Charlotte’s Time Warner Cable Arena are special garbage cans marked “Compost,” “Recycle,” and “Landfill.” Each come with signs showing what is to go into them, though most of the errant garbage tossers seem to be using the “Recycle” bins since they don’t have special covers.

At many garbage stations there are “environmental consultants” to help people choose the right bin, or, if need be, reach in and move the garbage to the right one. For example, one of the consultants repeatedly stopped kitchen help at the trash cans to advise which cans to use: cardboard in “Recycle,” food in “Compost,” styrofoam cups in “Landfill.”

One reporter said that a consultant scolded her for not paying attention and using the wrong bins. Another said that one of the consultants — who were barred from talking to the media — pulled his plastic cup out of “Recycle” to place in the “Compost” bin, explaining that the cup was biodegradable. “How am I supposed to know that? It’s plastic,” he said.

Worse yet, they’re being put up in The Crack Hotels of the DNC (h/t Ed Driscoll)

I can’t speak for the delegates or ther foreign dignitaries, but many of the journalists I have spoken with here are appalled at the accommodations in Charlotte to which they were assigned by the DNC. National Review was assigned to two Knights Inn properties. Everyone who saw them fled immediately across state lines to an available Marriott in South Carolina rather than stay there. As one of our political correspondents reported:
The Knights Inn was the worst hotel I have ever seen, and I’ve stayed in many bad motels in my life. Two guys were dealing drugs in the room next to me, and a prostitute was working out of the parking lot. And this was in the early afternoon. The room itself was dirty, full of other people’s stuff, etc.

I have never requested a hotel change in 3 years at NR. This was the first time I felt absolutely compelled.

It’s not as if the DNC couldn’t have figured out something was wrong with the properties. TripAdvisor had these recent comments on one of the Knights Inn properties: “wouldn’t recommend it to my worst enemy,” “scared to death,” and “pimps and prostitutes at night.”

Nor was National Review singled out. Staff members from Politico and theHill abandoned their assigned hotels, too. Staffers from the Hill found refuge in a cheap Microtel and considered it a comparative oasis.

A lesser blogger than I may digress into snark and may point out that the media has insisted on carrying a one-sided fellational relationship with their idol, so they shouldn’t be surprised that he doesn’t respect them in the morning.

So little respect is there, that, instead of having respected journalists (oxymoronic as that may sound) host coverage for Thursday’s event on BarackObama.com, it’s going to be Kumar.

Kumar? What about Harold? Well, Harold’s in the ad, too, but apparently only Kumar gets to host,

“Could be worse: could be raining.”

The Bank of America Stadium is open-air.

Related,
Record-high Labor Day gasoline prices greet Democrats in Charlotte

Bedbugs!

UPDATE
Democrats set to move Obama’s big speech from 74,000-seater outdoor stadium to 20,000-seater indoor arena

Democratic convention sources have indicated that the ‘contingency plan’ is at an advanced stage and that a move to the stadium appears certain.

Anything to avoid the bad optics.