Sounds familiar?

I’m getting flashbacks:

“The media are perverse factories of lies. What they sell is poison.”

El Nacional and El Universal are pathetic, the television stations—with a few exceptions—are pathetic…. They call cowards those who do not bow their head to the fundamentalist and dictatorial ideas and the infamous campaign by the media owners.”

–Hugo Chávez Frías

“President Hugo Chávez Frías repeatedly came before the television cameras to elaborate on his vision of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution and to denounce the opposition media, calling the television stations ‘terrorists’ and the ‘Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.'”

Also, a typical title that Chávez has for the media is “the oligarchy” or, in other words, the “media elite.” Frightening, isn’t it? 

I personally find it rather amusing that those who are doing the “socialist” name-calling are actually sounding like the real socialist himself! It never crossed my mind ten years ago when I moved from Venezuela to the U.S. that I would hear this same kind of “indoctrination.” Who would have thought? I don’t need political parties or the government to tell me which media outlet is “evil” and which one is not. We live in a democracy and as thinking persons, we can pick and choose which media outlets suit our tastes and meet our need to stay informed.

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  • premodern

    Katerina, While I question whether Mrs. Palin is sufficiently knowledgeable enough to be a breath away from the Presidency, I also would not in any way equate her comments about the media elite to that of Chavez. First, she has never, and would never refer to them as terrorists, or the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Second, the media elite to which she refers is indisputably the majority of the mainstream “journalism” found in the U.S. It is factually true that those to which she refers consistently vote Democratic. Therefore, this hardly a case of underdog opposition journalism struggling to have its voice heard. If anything, the context is a complete reversal of Chavez. Palin is the underdog in the upcoming election. The media that stands against her, and “for” the acknowledged favorite, dominates mainstream journalism.

    That being said, I do believe that she over-uses the phrase “media elite”. I expect that it is part and parcel of her populist strategy.

  • Katerina

    Premodern,

    The media in Venezuela (except those that are not owned by the government) are ALL very much against Chavez and they are so very openly. Hence, the criticism coming from Chavez.

  • premodern

    Katerina, Thank you for the correction. On what basis does the media in Venezuela oppose Chavez? Is it because of his socialistic political philosophy, or his dictatorial tendencies, or something else?

  • I think it is more because of its communist/dictatorial tendencies (it’s hard to pinpoint what exactly he is at times) that is very much characterized by persecution of those who oppose him. I don’t think he is a true socialist. He uses the word “socialism” to mask his extreme communist ideals.

    My point with the post is that extreme poles from the political spectrum come to an agreement about the media whenever the media do not favor them.

  • blackadderiv

    Well, Hugo and Bush are comrades now, so….

    But seriously, criticizing the media is going to be a common feature of any free or semi free country (it’s when politicians all love the media that you have problems). The question is whether this criticism is confined to mere talk, or whether politicians actually take action to silence their critics.

  • But I thought that, as a dictator, Chavez is totally controlling the media, silencing any of his critics? 😉

    As I think Katerina, who obviously has problems with Chavez, would agree, it’s important to discern what is true about Chavez and his policies as opposed to a lot of anti-Chavez propaganda that we see in the U.S. Opposing him is one thing; lying about him is another. And we’ll get nowhere if we accept uncritically everything that is said about him.

  • premodern

    The question is whether this criticism is confined to mere talk, or whether politicians actually take action to silence their critics.

    And this is where clear distinctions exists between Palin’s stump speech mantra and Chavez’s real threats.

  • blackadderiv

    I thought that, as a dictator, Chavez is totally controlling the media, silencing any of his critics?

    Chavez is more an aspiring dictator at this point. I’m sure he’d love to have the level of control over the media that, say, Castro has in Cuba, but so far at least he has been frustrated in this aim.

  • premodern

    I’m sure he’d love to have the level of control over the media that, say, Castro has in Cuba, but so far at least he has been frustrated in this aim.

    One would also note that the demonstrations by the tens of thousands in opposition to Chavez’s constitutional “reforms” would never happen in Castro’s Cuba.

  • Katerina

    The paranoia and the silly criticism of the media is the same coming from Chavez and some from the extreme right in the U.S.

  • Katerina

    MI,

    I get all my information on Chavez from family and friends who live back home and Venezuelan media, not the U.S. media (not worth it) and I have NOTHING good to say about him.

  • Katerina

    But I thought that, as a dictator, Chavez is totally controlling the media, silencing any of his critics? 😉

    Actually, he already closed down one of the main channels that we had for over a century. There is only one channel that opposes Chavez at this point. He doesn’t really criticize the media anymore, because he has already managed to either shut down radio/TV stations or people are just too scared to say anything.

  • Policraticus

    What I took from this post is not that McCain/Palin/Republicans are like Chavez, but only that there tends to be a propensity among political candidates to blame the media whenever they are trailing in the polls or find themselves lacking popularity. The ubiquity of the media makes it an easy scapegoat for one’s political misfortunes.

    I turn on FOX News, and I see McCain winning debates by 60% or 70% and Sean Hannity ripping Obama. I turn on MSNBC, I see Obama winning by 20% or 30% and Keith Olbermann ripping Obama. I open National Review I see something…I open The Nation I get something else. I turn on talk radio, I only get anti-Obama-isms. The media as scapegoat is a tired political trick used by sore losers.