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Crisis? What crisis?

The BBC News write-up is hysterical. José Vicente Rangel’s story is, of course, an incredible howler, and this guy knows it. Of course, it’s the BBC, so the writer can’t quite launch into attack mode like, say, I can. Still, the guy manages to write it in a way that leaves you in no doubt that Rangel is full of shit.

Take a minute to read through it, it’s fun.

Of course, this guy has to stay within a certain set of boundries. There are standards of politesse that make it impossible for this dude to write something like “in an amazing bit of wishful (or delusional) thinking, Venezuela’s Vicepresident José Vicente Rangel tried to snow under the BBC with one of the most outrageous, absurd, screaming lies this reporter has seen in years.” That probably wouldn’t make it past the editors in London. But it’s clearly what he wanted to say. This dude is obviously angry, personally offended that Rangel’s thinks he can put this shit past him.

The write-up showcases what I was trying to get at with my entry on the media a couple of days ago. BBC man (it’s too bad there’s no byline) is so incensed at the government’s blatant mendacity, you can see it’s actually made him angry. He feels this overpowering need to show Rangel as a fraud, to write in a way that leaves no doubt in the reader’s mind that this guy is an asshole. The thing is, Venezuela’s independent journalists have been dealing with that same urge for four years now! It’s just been going on much much longer here, and it’s gone much much further. On top of that, journalists here are not hamstrung by editors who insist on keeping a veneer of editorial politeness. So they let it rip, again and again, leading to the weird one-sidedness in the Venezuelan media I wrote about a few days back. At heart, though, they’re just pissed at a government that lies so so much, and so so artlessly.

As this journalist has figured out, merely reporting Rangel’s words at face value would give them a patina of legitimacy they plainly don’t desserve. “Balance” in this case would make him an accomplice to a ridiculously obvious dissinformation campaign. And he’s not willing to play along. But, guess what? That`s precisely the position most Venezuelan journalists have spent the last four years in. So the piece basically showcases, in embryonic form, the sentiments that have led almost every independent journalist in Venezuela to become an aggressive government critic over the last four years.

It tickled me pink, really.

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Known to friend and foe alike as Quico, Francisco Toro is Executive Editor at Caracas Chronicles.

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