Monday, December 03, 2007

Venezuela and the Referendum - BBC Just Not Right-Wing Enough

So, there we have it, Hugo Chavez did not win the referendum for his constitutional reforms. The world has not ended. Chavez has accepted the results of the vote with good grace. Still, there is plenty for the mainstream media to crow about, and one of the culprits has the dubious pleasure of being both hyper-critical of Hugo Chavez (see here) as well as being perceived as a left-wing organisation. Strange times indeed. So let's take a look at the output on Venezuela by this fabled left-wing institution shall we?

So far, so innocuous. But it is when examining the detail that the true message shines through like a beacon. Not much further down comes the first telling quote:

Yes, somehow those words are a direct reference to his attempted coup aren't they? I'm not sure why this is particularly relevant. Yes they failed, yes he is obviously going to present it to the public again at some point in the near future. But the question remains, why refer to a coup attempt 15 years ago? Then it gets worse:

The inference clearing being that, through this referendum (and therein lies the key - a referendum), Chavez was aiming to establish a dictatorship. This is on the basis that he wanted to stand an unlimited number of times for President, a bit like the UK. And it also refers to the oft-repeated claims about him being in power until 2050 (more on that later).

Then, in case you didn't get the point drummed into you:

Have you got it yet?? Chavez=dictatorship according to this 'left-wing' media outlet. So there we go, the BBC recipe for a left-wing viewpoint. Sprinkle liberally with references to dictatorships and militant tendencies and allow to stand. Brilliant. These guys must be immensely clever to hide a left-wing ideology in their writings. Either that, or there are a lot of very dim-witted people out there - you decide.

But it's not just the BBC, oh no. The Guardian have let a couple of things slip over this issue. Take this reference on their website:

There's that 2050 reference again, hinting at the possibility of a Castro style dictatorship. Mmmm. This whole 2050 thing was purely hypothetical. It creates the impression that Chavez would hang on to power until 2050 when the reality is that, if Chavez were to stand for every election, he would rely on the will of the people. He has never indicated that elections would be abolished and he would remain in power until 2050. It was an entirely hypothetical proposition.

As for The Guardian, they could have chosen to headline the fact that Chavez gave people the right to vote on such an amendment, true democracy in action. But then this is something we are hardly likely to see encouraged in the UK and the US. People having their say?? What a terrible notion. They also referenced Manuel Rosales (a man who supported the US backed coup) in their paper, but wisely edited it out of the online version.

And what is the situation in Venezuela? Well, Chavez has accepted the result and told his supporters to respect the outcome. Hardly the sign of a power mad totalitarian dictator is it? No matter what the media might have you believe.