As Sabre-Rattling with Venezuela Continues, Mainstream Media Fails to Speak Truth to Power

Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) has reported “A FAIR survey of US opinion journalism on Venezuela found no voices in elite corporate media that opposed regime change in that country. Over a three-month period (1/15/19–4/15/19), zero opinion pieces in the New York Times and Washington Post took an anti–regime change or pro-Maduro/Chavista position. Not a single commentator on the big three Sunday morning talkshows or PBS NewsHour came out against President Nicolás Maduro stepping down from the Venezuelan government.” ( )

I do not blame the mainstream media outlets for not being pro-Chavista/Maduro. No media outlet is required to support a government. The Chavista/Maduro vision is unpopular and disastrous, including among the poor, and apart from US sanctions. There are no good reasons to pressure US media into defending this.

But these outlets should not be biased in favor of such a monumental policy as forced regime change. Apart from discouraging US citizens from making up their own minds, they are supporting a policy that would surely backfire (as it usually does, and usually with their support). Michael Moynihan, a US libertarian critic of Maduro at Vice, who is banned from Venezuela, has reported that VTV (state propaganda) is effectively rallying even critical citizens around them by playing clips of US politicians promoting regime change (eight million citations about the uniting power of a common enemy 1,000 BC – 2019 AD; common sense 2019).

This is also the media failing to meet their obligation to speak truth to power. It is the position of the executive branch, many in Congress, and the national security apparatus that regime change is a desirable outcome, and they hold a favorable view of the US making that happen (and the steps are likely in place).

This is not the first time this has happened. James Risen at the New York Times has written about his employer’s suppression of his content that was critical of foreign policy. He stated that on multiple occasions, his material was pulled at government request.

If our media is along for the ride with government propaganda when it is time for a new war, then we do not have a media that speaks truth to power. We are obligated to raise institutional criticisms against the media for such a fundamental failure. Now that the media is (again, see Syria) doing so in a manner consistent with the Trump administration’s positions, perhaps we can now criticize the media as an institution without baselessly being compared to Trump.

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