Friday, April 28, 2006

Stepping the propoganda up a notch 

Is it just me, or does it seem that the better Chavez does and the better Venezuela does the heavier and more blatant the anti-Chavez propoganda becomes in the international press? Case in point the April 22-28 edition of The Economist, page 38 has the following passage:

"Mr. Chavez will seek another six-year term at an election in December. The government wants to shift the political debate away from bread and butter issues. So Mr. Chavez is claiming that what is at stake in the election is an ideological conflict between teh United States and Venezuela's "Bolivarian Revolution" and that his true opponent will be George Bush. Earlier this month police stood by as a crowd of Chavistas, some on motorbikes, pelted the American ambassador's car with eggs after he donated baseball equipment to a school in a poor area of Caracas.

Such ciruses may not deflect the grievances of ordinary Venezuelans. In the past two months there have been at least 30 demonstrations demanding that the government fulfil its promises in matters such as housing and jobs. Mostly leaderless, the protests mix chavistas and non-chavistas, although most of the latter do not support the opposition. The governments approval rating was only 14% in a recent survey by Hinterlaces, a polling firm"

There are a couple real pearls in there. First Chavez would run away from "bread and butter" issues? Is this their idea of a joke. The economy has grown 17% and then 9% in the past two years. It could well wind up growing another 8 or 9% this year. Unemployment has fallen from over 20% in early 2003 to just 10% now. Inflation is down, income is up, social programs are expanding, and between now and December Chavez will be hard pressed to find time to inaugerate all the new public works his government is finishing. Under those circumstances we are supposed to believe that Chavez would be running way from "bread and butter" issues?!?! With that kind of non-sense they are risking their reputation as a serious periodical. Or maybe they just never hear the famous expression from James Carville "Its the economy stupid!".

But it gets even better. They then claim that the government only has 14% support according to an opinion poll. Never mind that the polls consitantly shows Chavez with an approval rating of around 70% and I've never seen one in the past year that put him below 50%, much less 14%!! At the very least they would seem to be trying to mislead here. Could it be they asked some question about some part of the "government" and got 14% (maybe Venezuela's Department of Motor Vehicles polls at 14%?) but we don't know because they don't say. But it would appear they hope the casual reader will think "Golly, 14%, Chavez is really unpopular, no wonder people are talking about him being a dictator." Yet, in reality Chavez is very popular and will almost certainly win any freely contested election.

As bad as this was, there is even worse and in periodicals that would claim to be even more serious and academic. Stay tuned.


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