Looks like I triggered Greg Palast's Google Alert. The Chavez-loving "investigative journalist" took exception to my including him in this piece and sends along this sober, academic rebuttal:
Subject: post this, Little Michael
Your half-baked little web columnist, "Michael C. Moynihan," if that's his real name, wasted your readers' time by pretending he could read my mind and smear me with words I've never said.
Michael states, with the assurance of the ignorant:
"Those who gasped in horror that America's elections were rigged in 2000 and 2004, that warned against a sinister plan afoot in 2008-think Greg Palast, Robert Kennedy Jr., Gore Vidal-seem not to mind systematic and acknowledged voter intimidation in Venezuela or, in the case of Cuba, the total absence of democratic elections."
Now, I don't mind being put in Bobby Kennedy's company (he is, after all, a co-author of my investigations for Rolling Stone), or Gore's, but to assume that Kennedy and I have blessed the Cuban dictatorship is … well, what is in Moynihan's soda pop?
After doing a verbal photoshop putting me and Kennedy in Castro's bed, Moynihan then throws out that old chestnut about Chavez' supposedly bending Venezuela's elections. Funny that guy Chavez: he lost the last vote by 1%—I guess he's not good at vote theft. Maybe he should hire Katherine Harris. Or maybe he doesn't steal votes.
Agree with me or not, take note, you wannabe Jimmy Olsons: rule one of journalism is, rather than guess what someone thinks, pick up the phone and ASK. And get rid of that psuedo-gonzo (sic) get-up, man. The '90s are over.
Oh dear. I'm not sure to what gonzo get-up Palast is referring, man, though as an enterprising Jimmy Olson type, I suspect I need to get one of those fedoras to be a real journalist. But to the point: I suggest that Palast reread the sentence that so offended him and see that my "verbal photoshopping" accuses him not of defending Castro, but of not speaking out against voter fraud in countries like Venezuela and Cuba and being, in the words of lefty journalist Marc Cooper, a "conspiracy theorist" when the Democratic Party loses. One more time, here's what I wrote: "Those who gasped in horror that America's elections were rigged in 2000 and 2004, that warned against a sinister plan afoot in 2008—think Greg Palast, Robert Kennedy Jr., Gore Vidal—seem not to mind systematic and acknowledged voter intimidation in Venezuela or, in the case of Cuba, the total absence of democratic elections."
If Palast would like me to be clearer, here it is: He and RFK Jr. have consistently shilled for Chavez and Gore Vidal for Castro. I have no doubt that Palast is deeply outraged by the fifty year Cuban dictatorship but, oddly, I can find no reference to him ever having written about it. Lots of stuff about Bolivia, Chile, and Venezuela, yes. But nothing about Cuba. Indeed, while his book Armed Madhouse is currently ranked #38 on Amazon's list of "human rights" books, it doesn't appear to contain any references to the Brothers Castro—though readers are told that the Department of Homeland Security is "manipulating elections in Latin America."
And yes, everything is peaches in Venezuela. If Palast would take off the ideological blinders for a second, perhaps he could inform his readers of the Tascon List (imagine if Karl Rove possessed such a thing!), credible claims of vote rigging, voter intimidation by Chavista thugs, the banning of opposition candidates from the ballot, the harassment of opposition journalists, and recent statements that tanks would be sent into states that didn't vote for "the revolution."
As for Chavez's recent electoral defeat, in which he was barred from running again in 2012, Jorge Castañeda, biographer of Che Guevara, explains in Newsweek why it took so long for the initial results to be released: "As reported in El Nacional, and confirmed to me by an intelligence source, the Venezuelan military high command virtually threatened [Chavez] with a coup d'état if he insisted" on overturning the election results. And if Palast hasn't noticed, Chavez, the great democrat, sees this only as a temporary setback and now intends on introducing a constitutional amendment that would allow him to seek reelection indefinitely.