Sunday, March 18, 2007

Does Barbara Walters work for Chavez?

Well, based on this advertisement appearing in EL Universal print edition today, it sure looks like Barbara Walters interview is perceived as helping greatly Hugo Chavez (click to enlarge, apologies for the quality, but it is a picture from the smeary paper edition).

(Translation: We invite all Venezuelans to watch the interview of the year.
The President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, "comandante" Hugo Chavez Frias, leader of the XXI century socialism, in an exclusive interview with the journalist Barbara Walters, star anchorwoman of the main US network ABC news)

Where do I start on something like that? The other night I was trying to ignore the interview that Barbara Walters made a few days ago to Chavez. I argued that I never liked her, that she was basically fluff. But when I saw a little while ago this advertisement, well, I had to deal with it.

See, for the Chavez government to promote the interview tonight on ALL STATE media, well, the interview has to be a big boon for chavismo. That is, the woman must have done a heck of a flattering interview. Imagine that, Venezuelan state media, socialist, revolutionary, devoting hours everyday to call the US the evil empire and excoriating Bush even when he brushes his teeth, is broadcasting tonight ON ALL OF ITS AIRWAVES (even the radio) some TV show from the very hated Empire... Need I insult the intelligence of the reader further?

Good job Barbara!!! Way to go to in shoring up a wanna-be dictator! Did it ever occur to you to read the US constitution to find out that your hated Bush is gone in barely 20 months? Not to mention that he has a new Congress stuck in him as a fish bone... When the "very intelligent" Chavez is still president in ten years from now and that I am in exile somewhere will you come to gloss over him again? Why the need to use Chavez to make a home point against Bush? Can you not find something more palatable at home?

But I do get a double bonus with this post: see, there is the proof on how the Venezuelan media is now controlled by Chavez. All sorts of PSF, of which Barbara Walters is now a full fledged member, keep stating that the Venezuelan media is all against Chavez and that he is always on the defensive. Well, let's look at the picture above.

Once you pass the invitation to watch the show at 9 PM tonight, you will read the list of all the media transmitting SIMULTANEOUSLY the Walters farce. Details:

  • National TV broadcast (open signal most of the country): VTV, VIVE
  • National on Cable and on the main TV markets: TeleSur, ANTV
  • Local TV: CatiaTve (Caracas), and many local TV stations
  • The only radio station allowed to broadcast all over the country: RNV
  • A network of pseudo individual radio Stations in fact owned by chavista agents: Radio Rumbos, Mundial
  • Many community radios (almost all Venezuelan community radios are authorized by the government, if I wanted to open one I would be quickly shut down)
And to ice the cake, 1 hour later the Venevision network will rebroadcast the interview. Venevision is supposedly private but for the last two years has found itself collaborating closer and closer to the government. I suppose that now that any journalist that criticized the government has been fired, it is a kosher network again and allowed to broadcast to the glory of EL Surpremo.

List of media that WILL NOT broadcast Chavez interview?
  • RCTV (soon to be closed)
  • Globovision and Televen (both do not have open signal all over the country, and Televen is semi pro Chavez anyway)
  • ValeTv (cultural TV that does not have news or talk show whatsoever and only in Caracas or on Cable)
  • Some local radio and TV stations, very few of them.
As you see, the ratio is now approximatively 3 to 1 in favor of Chavez for all broadcast access existing. In some areas Globovision is not allowed to have open air signal and once RCTV is gone, there will be NO media critical of the government on the air. Only on cable if you can afford it ( a huge if for most Venezuelans). Nice, no?

Now, would not Barbara want to have her stuff covered to such extent in the good 'ole US of A?

Will I watch it tonight? Not a fat chance! At the same time Lat Am Fox on cable is starting the Latin American season of "Nip and Tuck" and I am certainly not going to miss a show who does a much better social study and criticism of US society than whatever Barbara ever did....

PS: some other reviews which are pointed to me since I posted this, here (with speculation on drug addiction) and here (with a more moderate look). Quico in particular notes a comment from one of his readers which is worth quoting here too: "Her show is where disgraced celebrities go for their first public reappearances". Bull's eye, no?

PS2: and of course Youtube had to get it BEFORE it was broadcast in Venezuela. VTV against Youtube? No contest!

PS3: Oh heck! There is Andres Oppenheimer been targeted by Chavez. So Andres offers him a REAL Interview, not a Walters elegant tea party, an interview where Oppenheimer would ask the following questions, hoping for a reply.

So with all due respect, I would like to pose the following questions: If you are so democratic, why do you glorify military coups? If you are so progressive, why do you close down independent television stations? If your hero Fidel Castro is so popular in Cuba, why doesn't he allow a free election? If you respect human rights, why don't you allow OAS human rights inspectors into your country?

And, finally, if you are so convinced of what you say, why do you only grant interviews to nonchallenging reporters? Last time we met and I respectfully asked you for an interview, you told me to go to hell.I challenge you to answer all these questions personally. We would get a great audience.

See Barbara, this is what a real journalist looks for, not how many cups of coffee the guy drinks.

-The end-

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