Friday, August 05, 2005

If a TV station launches and nobody reports it, does it make a sound? 

This story already has about 3 layers of irony attached to it, and it's only 2 weeks old.

If the word "Telesur" does not mean anything to you, it means you a) live in the United States and b) don't read ragtag socialist websites. Because otherwise, you would know that Telesur, a joint venture of the Venezuelan, Argentinian, Uruguayan, and not least, Cuban governments, went on air last month to combat what President Hugo Chavez called "American cultural imperialism". The 24-hour news channel will broadcast across Latin America and carry such heretical points of view as indigneous opposition to hemispheric "free trade" agreements. (Matt Yglesias might want to TiVo that one.)

Now, one would think that, from a FOX news point of view, this would be an unexceptional event. Venezuela currently has something like 43 different channels, all of them anti-Chavez and pro-US, so if there were ever a justification for a station to counter "media bias," this would be it.

But of course, one would be wrong. As in the US, it's not enough for pro-corporate interests to dominate the airwaves, they must control it. Anything less is anathema. So, like treason follows Rove, the launch of Telesur has prompted our own freedom-loving House of Representatives to pass legislation that would bankroll creation of our very own propaganda outlet in Latin America. (The legislation has yet to be taken up by the Senate.)

Meanwhile, demonstrating how a free press works in the United States, a Google search turns up a single significant source of coverage of this imperialistic tit for tat here: The Miami Herald. (The government-run CBC and BBC, by contrast, have run multiple, critical stories about Telesur.) To its credit, the Herald notes not just the unprincipled interference in Latin American affairs that this represents, but also its obvious counterproductiveness:
In a telephone interview from Caracas, Teodoro Petkoff, a prominent anti-Chávez leftist politician and publisher of the daily Tal Cual, said that a U.S. government broadcast to Venezuela and the rest of the region would be ''utterly stupid.'' It ''would amount to playing into Chávez's hands,'' giving him new ammunition to go around the world playing the victim of U.S. aggression, he said.

And indeed, since the Bush Administration's earlier, all-but-transparent efforts to foment a coup against Chavez backfired, his approval ratings have risen to around 75%. But that's the definition of a zealot: doing the same thing again and again, while expecting a different result.

Ham-fisted incompetence like this almost makes me want to donate money to bill-sponsor Connie Mack's re-election campaign.

corrente SBL - New Location
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