There is an unwritten rule when dealing about information on Venezuela and chavismo: when you try to be objective you always end up with egg on your face. Respected magazine Foreign Policy is feeling the pinch and risks much discredit for its poor managing of a situation coming from a hatchet job text pretending to set the record straight on Leopoldo Lopez.
The offending article was written by Roberto Lovato for Foreign policy: "the making of Leopoldo Lopez". I am not going much into the details of that article nor for the reasons on Foreign Policy reasons to commission such an article from someone that was found to be, after the fact, a collaborator of Telesur. This network is the propaganda vehicle of chavismo. Not that there is anything wrong to pay for a propaganda network, so is FOX in the US. But the point here is that you do not commission an "objective" article from someone working with a network which has for mission to criticize in any possible way, true or false, the Venezuelan opposition to the regime. Might as well trust FoxNews for a fair article on, say, Hillary Clinton (or Bernie Sanders for that matter).
The first mistake of Foreign Policy was to actually dare to have an objective piece on a political prisoner. As if this were possible in Venezuela or elsewhere. A political prisoner by nature is a victim and one cannot be neutral or objective on a victim.
The second mistake, was not to dig a little bit more on Lovato's background, the kind of mistake that the former editor, Moises Naim, would not have done. Moises Naim, a Chavez opponent before this one was elected first, has never been criticized on its seriousness and use of true facts when arguing his criticism of the bolivarian farce. The surprising demonizing of Lopez was promptly noted for its deep inaccuracies and twisting of "facts", never mind the use of hearsay on Lopez. We can already observe that Foreign Policy has sensed the problem by appending 7 "updates", something which I am willing to bet is unheard of for other pieces, or is at least a rare phenomenon.
But that was not enough. The evidence of the hatchet job piece by Lovato has forced Foreign Policy to publish a rebuttal article from Leopoldo Lopez lawyer: "The other side of Leopolodo Lopez". I am not going to enter on the details of that piece either. The reader can read both and make up his or her mind on that matter. However I cannot fail to observe that Lovato was granted a reply in that article, a luxury that has not been accorded to critics of the Lovato piece.
On this reply by Lovato I will comment. He is not forthcoming on his partisanship and writes disingenuously that "My story is about López’s political history, particularly as it relates to events surrounding Venezuela’s 2002 coup attempt.". Reading that piece you will see that it is about much more than that and aims at casting a shadow on Lopez with more than just 2002. He also has the gall to call my estimated colleague Juan Nagel to his defense as if he were praising the article when this one is quite clear that it is a necessary read to understand how the chavista mind sees Lopez. He even writes "it is not a hack job" which in my book, is far from justifying the use of the word "hailed" by Lovato.
All in all this does not damage Mr. Lovato credit in pro Chavez groups where his article has been widely used for propaganda. It is an unnecessary attack on what is a political prisoner whose history of victimization by the regime has reached as far as vindication from International Human rights courts and organizations. In the end it is a discredit on the editors of Foreign Policy and a new proof that objectivity when dealing with rogue regime is a doomed farce.
Update: Mr. Lovato also seems to have worked for outright Chavez propaganda outlets.