Sunday, August 28, 2005

Mistaken subliminal message from Radio Nacional de Venezuela?

Radio Nacional de Venezuela used to be the most serious radio station in the country, with almost non-stop classical music, interrupted only by the news that usually were given in a very professional, unbiased manner.

Things seem to have changed if I have to judge from the RNV website that is now far from being unbiased. This is not surprising since the Chavistas have taken over all the government media and have transformed them into propaganda outlets.

Imagine for a single moment a PBS website totally devoted to spreading the news about the government of president George Bush. Multiply that by ten and you’ll start to get an idea of how serious is the Chavista penetration in Venezuela official news media. Moreover, there is not just Radio Nacional de Venezuela, but also Venezolana de Television, the MINCI, Agencia Bolivariana de Noticias. VIVE, not to mention the fact that each ministry and government entity seems to have its own news agency.

There are so many official news sites that scanning them all is not a short task. Fortunately for bloggers and journalists, they usually have a single line of thought so that it is easy to pick what is the official party line, so after reading one site one knows already what is presented in all the others.

There are, however, particular features that characterize some sites. The MINCI, used to have the now disappeared “Notas en positivo” that I liked to cite in my posts, and now RNV contains a very interesting opinion section. Typically, the editor of that section offers some hot topics to discuss. When one enters the topic, there is a written “unbiased” summary that introduces the issue, followed by a request for opinions. To post his opinion, the reader has to leave his name, email and telephone number (optional) before the post can be considered for publication.

I do not know if the opinions are truthful or if they have been handpicked by the editors, but I find them interesting because, one way or another, they may provide an idea of what Chavistas think about the particular issue being discussed.

I recently got interested in the discussion on the erroneous Recall Referendum results that appeared on the CNE book. The topic, called “el gráfico de la discordia” (the chart of disagreement) refers to the chart of page 118 indicating that the YES option won by 59.25% whereas the NO had just 40.75% of the vote.

The second paragraph of the introduction to that topic can be translated as follows:

“In the Recall Referendum, that was call by sectors of the opposition, according to the norms established in the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, citizens participated in record numbers, when 10 million people voted in one of the most extensive journeys, which gave as a final result that 59.25% of the votes supported the NO option (that ratified the President) and 40.75% voted for the YES (promoted by the now dissolved rightwing coalition “Coordinadora Democrática”), values that were later ratified by the OAS and the Carter Center”.

So, you read it, Radio Nacional de Venezuela, the official Radio of the Government of Venezuela writes in its web page that the results of the Referendum were 59.25% (NO) versus 40.75% (YES).

Now, what is wrong with that statement? Well, actually the official results published by the CNE were not 59.25% vs 40.75% as claimed by RNV but rather 59.10% vs 40.64%. Those are the results published in the official page of the CNE.

Is that an innocent mistake? I think not.

I think this is a deliberate but subtle way to induce the reader to believe that the chart depicted on page 118 of the CNE book represents a simple inversion of a YES by a NO. That inversion would have been a silly but understandable mistake that can easily silence those that wonder if the results given by that chart could be the real results of the Revocatory Referendum.

Unfortunately for you, dear RNV editors, the chart on page 118 may or may not be mistaken, but we are 100% sure that if there was an error, it was not a simple inversion of a YES by a NO. So please stop the subliminal propaganda.

Funny how Chavistas seem to have a problem with numbers! There is always a mistake of some sort, in particular if they are electoral numbers!

Jorge Arena.

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