Thursday, May 10, 2007

Just reporting the news…or creating it. 

Both the RCTV case and the issue of political persecution have been topical recently. So I thought it might be good to do a short post that touches both.

Most readers will recall that between December 2002 and February 2003 the Venezuelan opposition, true to its anti-democratic form, went on a “strike” to topple the elected government. By shutting down the state oil company and locking out employees from their places of work they hoped to make it impossible for people to earn a living and literally starve them into submission.

Of course, given that not everyone supported this strike some people had to be forced. Oil workers who continued to work had people banging on post and pans outside their homes all night. Stores and restaurants that dared open had their windows smashed and their shops ransacked. Tax and bus drivers who continued to transport people were had their windshields smashed with rocks; or worse:

RCTV cubriendo autobus quemado paro 2002
Uploaded by lubrio

This bus driver had his bus set on fire – with him in it!!!

Now, as bad as the opposition thugishness is, which is expected at this point, note the curious behavior of our friends from RCTV.

The reporter on the scene is all excited – but not about whether or not the driver is ok. No, what she asks again, and again is “why did they burn your bus, is it because you were working?”

Certainly not very subtle is it? People are getting set on fire for going to work – HINT, HINT, HINT – go to work and you too may get set on fire!!

Of course, this is not at all exceptional for that time period. RCTV actively participated in the strike, refused to show normal broadcasting or advertising, and instead ran slick ad after ad calling on people to participate in the strike and overthrow the government. RCTV were not bystanders observing and reporting events – they were active participants.

Sure it is much less blatant than during the coup when they had their broadcasts used to actually direct the coup. Nevertheless, it is still pretty obvious.

And then people wonder why the government telecommunications agency would think it a good idea now to have RCTV broadcasting over the public airwaves!!


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