Thursday, May 02, 2013

BBC "imprecision": who is at fault, the lousy journalists or the Capriles/CSB media people?

When I read the account of the BBC for the latest "punch up" in Venezuela's assembly I have to wonder about whether the journalist(s) in charge are clueless or biased pro Maduro; or the press folks at the Comando Simon Bolivar (CSB) are failing dismally in their task of informing accurately the foreign press. Which is the right one? Or should I shudder at the thought that both ideas are right?

Whoever was in charge of writing that BBC note tried to put it all together in a single note, a note which I am afraid has not been as researched as it should have been. I am not willing to go further into my critics because after all the BBC is in general informed and has the delicacy of calling up people from both sides as I know myself first hand.  Still, there are some missing elements in the BBC article that should not be missing.

For example it is inconceivable that the BBC has not noted that the only representatives with significant injuries were ALL from the opposition. There is not a single chavista representative that can claim to more than a scratch, which I dare speculate could have well been self inflicted for propaganda purposes.  The one undergoing surgery as I type this note is Maria Corina Machado, not Odalis Monzon. Even yours truly, on the road yesterday for 7 hours, seems to have been able to get better information than the beeb agents.

The other thing is the reporting of electoral results. If you read the BBC article you simply can walk away wondering why Capriles is bitching. After all the BBC states that Maduro wins by 1.49% while 99.79% of the votes have been counted. All is said. Right? No, wrong....

Capriles is not asking for a recount, he is asking for an audit which must include verification of the voting registries to decide whether ballot boxes were stuffed, whether some people were allowed to vote more than once, or some people allowed to vote that should not have voted.  It is simply unacceptable that at this point the local BBC guys do not even hint at that.

And I will pass on the mention of the arrest of Carlos Rivero, which narrative in the article would lead to the thought that he has been the only opposition guy to have been arrested since April 14. What about, say, the students in Barquisimeto with grievous wounds and torture? Are they less important than ex-general Rivero?

It would be easy to use the BBC as a punching ball but I am afraid that we may not put all the blame on them. For example, have they been properly told in detail by the opposition what is going on?  Did the CSB asked them to attend special "talking points sessions"?  If the answer is YES, then the BBC journos are pro Chavez jerks, and if the answer is NO then the CSB needs to straighten up its act. Please, if you are a BBC journalists currently in Caracas and are willing to use my blog for a comment, post it below, or better, write me for a guest post.

A few days before the election Juan Nagel forced me to write a note to support him in his complaints about clear deficiencies inside the media camp of the CSB.  Is this still going on?  From the lone reply in his comment section by Anamaría González Oxford, and the no reply by Ana Maria Fernandez, it is clear that both women must have gone to the same school of public information for pure vestals as CNE's Tibisay Lucena went. There is no fault with them although the consequences of their actions are for all to see.

Please, someone tell me I am wrong, that serious people are in charge, and that foreign press is indeed well informed by the CBS but some journos are just sold out to Maduro. At least it would make sense.


  1. Anonymous7:40 PM

    Google (BBC + bias) = left wing. And that's how they report the world, regardless of location.

    1. This Journalistic Agnosticism is to be expected from the Beeb but it's a little deeper and far more cynical than an "left wing bias." BBC tends to lean towards "access" bias. They project "healthy skepticism" in liberal democracies (as so they should) because they will retain access. But as with CNN's Eason Jordon's notorious confession w.r.t. Iraq War coverage unless they have nothing to lose, they are far less skeptical when reporting from authoritarian countries lest they lose access.

    2. Bill,

      So access becomes more important than truth?

      Access journalism often involves self-censorship, in which the journalists voluntarily ceases to speak of issues that might embarrass their hosts.

      I see them reporting on issues in the US all the time where they simply do have access and simply do not have the facts straight.

      Being a state funded monolith, give it a certain bias.


  2. The other thing you need to consider: Editors. How much influence do they have on shaping the articles at the BBC?

    1. True. But the editor is in London and must decide what to cut from what the journo sends. Do the BBC journos send it all?

  3. Daniel, sorry to say you are incorrect on this one.

    Nobody is so dumb after all these years as to have little clue about what is really going on right now in Venezuela.

    They know, but they are defending their politically correct leftist views.One might question what I mean by "know" here.Obviously I don't mean " know" in any real conscious sense, but rather in the sense of having received the correct messages.

    If they were hypothetically that dumb and uniformed then they have no business having the prestige they have and writing such damaging rubbish.

    And when it comes to Venezuela they usually miss the mark.They also have the same problem with the US.


  4. Anonymous9:17 PM

    In the UK the serious news follower watches SKY.
    The BBC has its followers but mostly because of tradition. The licence fee is obligatory too!
    Given the choice I believe the majority in the UK would avoid the BBC if we could opt out of the licence fee.

    1. Typical SOCIALIST measure, that forces people to pay a tax on something because it is " good " for them.The authorities get to decide that for people ? Somehow Socialism and authoritarianism seem to have some similarity.

      Anything to the right or left gets more and more authoritarian as it strays from the Center.

  5. Anonymous10:21 AM

    And they got the numbers wrong:

    "It has, however, agreed to carry out a partial audit, which is expected to take until June. During the audit, 56% of the votes cast will be examined.
    The CNE says the remaining 44% had been checked immediately after the election."

    These guys are hacks!

  6. Unfortunately much of what Firepig says is true: the BBC is a mere shadow of the organisation that built the once deserved reputation it still lives off. Today, I openly tell everyone I can NOT to trust the BBC; by all means use it and read it but ALWAYS get at least one other source.

    On Europe (well, the EU), anti-Israel, climate change, US politics (Obama worship) I can tell you they are bias, in some case PROVEN. On many other things the problem arises as they recruit from a forever smaller 'gene pool' so what was once a soft left-of-centre tilt is now a full-on lefty stance.

  7. Anonymous3:58 PM

    Personally I've always found that BBC has no comprehension whatsoever of Latin American politics, or anything that has to do with this side of the world for that matter. Their articles not only seem biased but also poorly written, I really think their South American news editors and reporters are that bad.


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