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Writing in the Christian Science Monitor, former AP reporter Bart Jones—no relation to fellow Orinoco Basin enthusiast Jim—assures Mary Baker Eddyists that Hugo Chávez "is no enemy of free speech." On the contrary, RCTV, the television station recently shuttered by the "Bolivarian revolution," was removed from the airwaves only when it "edged fully into sedition."

Caracas protest

While acknowledging that "Amnesty International; Human Rights Watch; the Committee to Protect Journalists; and members of the European Parliament, the US Senate, and even Chile's Congress have denounced the closure of RCTV" (He might want to add the French Socialist Party and the woman from "Moscow on the Hudson" to the list), Jones explains that the channel, owned by the "fabulously wealthy", monocle-wearing bourgeoisie, "preempted regular programming and ran wall-to-wall coverage of a general strike aimed at ousting Chávez," while ignoring Chavista counter-protests.

Bart quotes "RCTV news director" Andreas Izarra as saying that "zero pro-Chavez, nothing related to Chavez or his supporters" was allowed on the air, while neglecting to mention that Izarra no longer works for RCTV, having left to take a job as Chavez's Minister of Communication and Information and president of Telesur, the Castro-backed 24-hour news channel based in Caracas.

Under similar circumstances, says Jones, "The US government probably would have shut down RCTV within five minutes after a failed coup attempt—and thrown its owners in jail." But what Bart and the increasingly vocal band of Chavez defenders ignore is the lack of due process afforded to RCTV and its owner Marcel Granier. Granier was never prosecuted, and, according to Human Rights Watch , "no procedure was established to enable RCTV to present evidence and arguments in its favor." The two other channels that tacitly supported the coup, Venevision and Televen, have since softened coverage of Chavez, and have thus far avoided the fate of RCTV.

Today, Reporters Without Borders released the results of its "fact-finding mission" to Venezuela, concluding that "RCTV's closure was much more than just an administrative measure. It was a political move without precedent in Latin America, a key element in a government takeover of the broadcast media that is part of a determined effort to control and occupy the entire public arena."

Full report here.

NEXT: Compulsory Cha-Cha for Chinese Chubbies

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  1. “the channel … preempted regular programming and ran wall-to-wall coverage of a general strike aimed at ousting Ch?vez, while ignoring Chavista counter-protests.”

    That’s it? That’s all they did? That’s not sedition. That’s Fox News!!

  2. Airing footage of the general strike was only seditious if the general strike itself was seditious.

    It wasn’t.

    The attempted military coup was seditious, but not going to work or opening your place of business is not. Unless all Venezuelans are chattel slaves or something and I just never noticed it.

  3. “The US government probably would have shut down RCTV within five minutes after a failed coup attempt – and thrown its owners in jail.”

    The U.S. government isn’t headed by a man who participated in a coup attempt!

    Tell you what, Hugo, let’s ban TV broadcasts by ANYONE who supported a coup. How’s that grab you?

  4. grotius: Chavez falls, we all rejoice. Musharraf falls we all run for cover.

  5. Oh, and y’all do check out Reporters Without Borders’ “Predators Of Press Freedom.”

  6. Lamar,

    If true then the irony is that Chavez is more popular than Musharraf.

  7. Is this really any different from when Lehrer consolidated power after MacNeil’s departure?

  8. He’s also threatening Globovision for this clip:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sea7olvOR-A

    Since I learned classical spanish I’m having trouble with the strange dialect they’re speaking. If someone could translate, it would be great.

  9. …assures Mary Baker Eddyists that Hugo Ch?vez “is no enemy of free speech.” On the contrary, RCTV, the television station recently shuttered by the “Bolivarian revolution,” was removed from the airwaves only when it “edged fully into sedition.”

    Errrr… Am I the only one who recognizes the irony of this statement? Did Mary Baker Eddyists point out to this socialist fucktard that “sedition” is covered by free speech?

    Why do I have a feeling she didn’t?

  10. Akira,

    “sedition” is covered by free speech

    Not in the 1st Adams administration.

  11. Lamar,

    Interesting how the tail can wag the dog so.

  12. Chavez quickly went from the big time cojones of coming on our turf and saying “Bush smells like sulfur” to the shameless cowardice of silencing his enemies.

  13. Ho hum.

    Another Chavez thread spawned by a comment from one of his fawning admirers. Time to change channels.

    I haven’t read the CSM for years. I don’t think they would have published this kind of nonsense would back when I did take an occasional glance.

  14. Chavez uses the 2002 coup much like Bush uses 9/11. Its ironic because Chavez *himself* tried a coup against a democratically elected government in 1992.

    He should have never been allowed to run for president in the first place.

  15. FYI, good piece on 10 Zen Monkeys about all this:
    Venezuela: Dispatch from a Surrealist Autocracy

  16. Did Mary Baker Eddyists point out to this socialist fucktard that “sedition” is covered by free speech?

    Why do I have a feeling she didn’t?

    ROFLMAO!

  17. Chavez and Bush are similar in tactics, if not in degrees. Bush can get away with far less in the US than Chavez can in Venezuela, but by comparison to the far stricter rule-of-law in the US, his transgressions seem magnified. That and Chavez hasn’t started a war.

    Anyway, leftists who apologize for Chavez are exactly as lame as Bush apologists, but possibly even more self-deluded.

  18. Good for us – at least 19 posts and still no one tried to divert discussion to the hot chick in the photo.

  19. jf,

    Oooooh boy.. Is my face red.

  20. Any word on the US and western Europe banning Al-Manar TV?

  21. My only excuse is that my righteous indignation over this issue got in the way of my reading comprehension.

  22. Hey guys, check out that hot chick in the photo!

    LOL ROTFLMAO!

  23. My only excuse is that my righteous indignation over this issue got in the way of my reading comprehension.

    Understandable. I just thought it was funny, and I hope you didn’t take it personally.

  24. So here’s the question: does Chavez have the brains to issue a magnanimous amnesty to the network and its employees?

    I’m noticing a distinct lack of violent repression associated with these protests, so that’s a good sign.

  25. The US government probably would have shut down RCTV within five minutes after a failed coup attempt – and thrown its owners in jail.

    A statement for which there is absolutely zero support in the real world.

    Chavez quickly went from the big time cojones of coming on our turf and saying “Bush smells like sulfur”

    Pandering in his colorful provincial dialect to the universal anti-Bush sentiment of his hosts at the UN is hardly a show of political courage.

    Chavez and Bush are similar in tactics, if not in degrees.

    What has Bush done that is remotely similar in any way to the closure of an opposition media outlet?

    I’m noticing a distinct lack of violent repression associated with these protests, so that’s a good sign.

    Good old Chavez. Lets give him props for not actually gunning down the protesters in the streets. What a guy! If only Beelzebub W. Bushitler went so easy on the anti-war movement here in the US of A, but those guerrilla You-Tube videos of fully armored riot police clubbing and kicking Cindy Sheehans followers are searing into my memory.

  26. …and I hope you didn’t take it personally.

    No, no… we’re cool.

  27. What has Bush done that is remotely similar in any way to the closure of an opposition media outlet?

    Well, he did start a preemptive/aggressive war based on flimsy evidence that he or his direct subordinates intentionally overstated. But you’re right that that’s more of a transgression of statecraft, not internal oppression of ones domestic political enemies.

    Chavez is teh suck, and his criticisms of Bush are laughable. Unfortunately, just about any previous president, including Nixon, would have been less laughable in response.

  28. i just clicked over to this comments section to check if the entire discussion was about the individual in the photo.

  29. RC,

    “Good old Chavez. Lets give him props for not actually gunning down the protesters in the streets. What a guy! If only Beelzebub W. Bushitler went so easy on the anti-war movement here in the US of A, but those guerrilla You-Tube videos of fully armored riot police clubbing and kicking Cindy Sheehans followers are searing into my memory.”

    It’s sad that you’re so devoted to partisanship that you can’t bring anything else to the discussion.

  30. What, a guy makes his first-ever (I think) post to Hit & Run, and there’s no one to welcome him, or at least call into serious question his libertarian credentials? Sheesh….

  31. You spent three years pretending to give a shit about democracy in Iraq, RC, and now you can’t even bring yourself to discuss the future of democracy in Venezuela?

  32. It was a political move without precedent in Latin America

    Laughably false. Practically every country in Latin America (except, amusingly, Venezuela) was run by a fascist military government at some point in the last 30 years, and I’d be shocked if any of them didn’t shut down newspapers or TV stations for political reasons. I’m highly suspicious of an organization making such a blatantly unsupported claim.

  33. What has Bush done that is remotely similar in any way to the closure of an opposition media outlet?

    How about banning Al-Manar TV in the US, arresting people distributing Al-Manar broadcasts, bombing Al-Jazeera, and banning Al-Zawra’ TV in Iraq. Granted those are not for internal opposition, but it still shows lack of respect for freedom of the press.

  34. When moving pictures actually come through to the Venezuelean population and have a show on state television, La Hojilla @ VTV, who’s main task is to deny all the content on the private channels, i.e. RCTV and Globovisi?n.
    The other private channels must be gaged, their just can’t be any other explanation why they totally ignored the endless RCTV marches.

    deny it by hilarious means and over analyse things into the absurd.

    / a Swede in Venezuela (http://0z.se/)

  35. Is this really any different from when Lehrer consolidated power after MacNeil’s departure?

    Outstanding!

  36. Matt Welch,

    For the most part I think people ignore the by-lines.

  37. Michael C. Moynihan,

    Oh, and welcome!

  38. “I’m noticing a distinct lack of violent repression associated with these protests, so that’s a good sign.”

    They’re not being shy about using tear gas and rubber bullets.

  39. “I’m noticing a distinct lack of violent repression associated with these protests, so that’s a good sign.”

    The full-scale violence will occur later, when all those pesky media outlets reporting actual news have been shut down or neutered.

    Please. How ignorant of history must you be to think this attempt, or any other attempt, to impose socialism will end well?

  40. Please. How ignorant of history must you be to think this attempt, or any other attempt, to impose socialism will end well?

    jb

    Not to snark, but it depends a bit on your definition of “end well”. My eighty-eight year old mother thinks Castro’s Cuba is wonderful; so do her left-wing friends. [Let’s just say politics is a topic I avoid when visiting her.]

  41. Yeah, the girl’s hot, but she’s not the only person in the photo. As a matter of fact, I think they all look kind of hot.

  42. I’ll start caring when the Univision weather girls are replaced with fat bald guys.

  43. Aresen,

    Maybe you ought to ask her what she thinks of Cuba’s treatment of homosexuals.

  44. What, a guy makes his first-ever (I think) post to Hit & Run, and there’s no one to welcome him, or at least call into serious question his libertarian credentials? Sheesh….

    Good point, Matt!

    Mr. Moynihan, I’ve gotta say that it’s kind of funny that your first ever post to H&R focuses on freedom overseas rather than here. Are you actually a closet neo-libertarian? You know, for a magazine called “Reason”….

    Drink!

  45. jh,

    “The full-scale violence will occur later, when all those pesky media outlets reporting actual news have been shut down or neutered.”

    I guess we’ll see.

    “Please. How ignorant of history must you be to think this attempt, or any other attempt, to impose socialism will end well?”

    How ignorant of democracy do you need to be to think that a government that would do things that offends so much of the public is going to remain in power?

  46. Michael C. Moynihan:

    Sorry for not noticing your name on the byline – it’s just that you posted a picture, and as I am easily distracted by images of humans, food, or any shiny object, I skipped over the byline entirely.

    Welcome, though! Tell us a little about yourself! Do you support Roe vs. Wade? Evolution? Are you a shill for anyone or anything in particular?

  47. For the most part I think people ignore the by-lines.

    Not true. I see Dan T.’s moniker and then ignore the contents.

    I haven’t been keeping up with this story. Are they saying that RCTV is no longer being run by Guy Caballero?

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