Chronicles of Lazy Journalism (or, Attn: @ReutersVzla )

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A Capriles supporter consults on whether to celebrate Chávez's death with a '79 Crystal or an '84 Veuve Clicquot
A Capriles supporter consults on whether to celebrate Chávez’s death with a ’79 Cristal or an ’84 Veuve Clicquot

Let us unpack this bit from Reuters‘ Simon Gardner and Terry Wade (with an assist from commenter Lucía.)

“At one building in a wealthy corner of Caracas, people drank wine and whisky around a swimming pool, rejoicing at Chavez’s demise”.

Right, all six million plus people who voted against Chavez last October fit this profile. Nevermind that class A and B together (i.e., the segment of the population that could imaginably afford this sort of thing) make up 3% of the population, perhaps 870,000 people (not voters) total. Nevermind that at least 70% of Capriles voters are class D and E. Every anti-chavista greeted news of his death by ordering his butler to pop out a bottle of Veuve Clicquot.

It’s lazy, and it’s misleading.

Reporters: Please. Do. Some. F–ing. Reporting.

These pieces all follow the same, set formula. Poor person utters support for Chavismo. Professional person in wealthy neighborhood says opposite.

Why don’t you interview one of the many wealthy “revolutionaries” next time? Or one of the millions of opposition supporters who isn’t swilling whiskey or on their way to their white-collar job?

To be clear, not all international correspondents are created equal, and there has been some excellent reporting.

But if you want to talk about under-represented in the narrative…it’s the millions (many millions! accessible with just a little shoe leather!) of poor Capriles supporters across the country who so rarely make an appearance in these articles (or analyses).

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1 COMMENT

  1. Quico, forget it! It won´t do any good. It´s a stereotype, and it will be hard to change. The worst part about that is that a huge percentage of those AB citizens picture the opposition as if it were composed exclusively of people from classes A and B, and thus sneer at the rest of the population that actually wants the same change in Gvt that they do. The lack of empathy, the sheer absence of awareness is amazing amongst people who sould know better.

  2. It is amazing how people who should know better (anti-chavistas) contribute to perpetuate this myth. 6.5 million oligarchs? They don’t even deserve the name of “oligarchs” since they are so many. And of course, many in the opposition see chavistas as poor, dark-skinned, uneducated, corrupt people. Oh, well…

  3. This is how Americans like their international news. Black and white. I’ve been so astonished by the lack of nuanced opinions about or basic respect for what’s happening in Venezuela demonstrated by my countrymen over the past few days, from friends on Facebook, to Justin TImberlake on SNL, to Congress. Glad we’re the leaders of the free world.

    • That’s not really fair. Even in the small clips they play on the local news, they mentioned how polarizing he was and the concerns about the curtailing of democracy here.

      The people who get all their info from 30 second news clips don’t matter anyway. If Venezuela descended into Civil War they woudln’t lose a minutes worth sleep, so who cares what they think.

      The NY Times, the Washington Post, the NYrker, the Economist, all have and had good, complete pieces about Chavez and his cumulatieve legacy, both good and bad.

  4. You are right, it ‘has’ to be said, it does not matter if they listen or not, you keep on saying what you think is right.

  5. i believe us opposition have too much class to come out and say it , say the truth about the dead , we all know what he was and we will alwys think of him in this way , at times this is enough , even the chavista’s ( chaburro’s) know how he was and who he was , they would just never admit it , especially the ones that helped steal what they have .., they all know he has been dead longer , they are just a bunch of no good liars and thieves , lets hope this country changes to the way it once was

  6. This funeral has been an exercise in the denial of the existence of 45% of the country (El pueblo llora a Chávez, Todos los venezolanos lloran a su Presidente) At the end they are just following his lead, el que no sea chavista, no es venezolano.
    One very ironic thing is that all the international media remark how incredible popular Chávez was, but when you compare his margin of victory with other reelected Latin American leaders, he actually is sub par, as Javier Corrales proved. So, his numbers are being heralded as extraordinary, when there is actually nothing very innovative about the populism and patronage of the chavista era compared with the rest of Latin America, not in number nor in ideas.

  7. The foundation of international support for Chavez is the Sermon on the Mount. As long as his policies can be portrayed according to the categories of the Sermon, he will find defenders. But things aren’t so simple! It is critical that such propaganda-friendly stereotypes be deconstructed. Here, the quotes from the poolside aristocrats don’t even have names attached, which to me means that the stereotype spoke them, and not real people.

  8. It is tasteless and yeah, pretty mean, to celebrate someones death. Hell, as much as we’d like to make the comparison he wasn’t exactly Hitler. But if you add up the lost relatives, property, lives upended completely. Hard of course for people living in utter poverty who have seen their lives improved, even if only marginally, to feel sympathy for Chavez’ victims. That is where the dialogue collapses. It really is a Robin Hood story, and the Sheriff of Nottingham killed Robin with cancer. People ask whether it is right to celebrate. Not yet. And not because he died. Because there is a glimmer of hope things will improve for every-f&#$ing-one.

  9. I wonder how long it’ll take these same journalists to deal with the bomb of phony government love and justice towards the poor. Meaning, the “love” and “justice” of circulating an empty coffin among very large (and largely poor) crowds, without even respecting their basic needs for hygiene and hydration. As though the chavista government didn’t have enough time to plan …. right.

    Are you getting it, Gardner, Wade, et al?

  10. It’s almost pathetically easy to find examples of this kind of reporting. And it’s not just lazy reporting, it’s lazy thinking:

    “In the leafy, upscale Altamira neighborhood, residents shopped, sipped coffee at sidewalk cafes, and strolled in city parks.

    ‘If you want to talk to a Chávista, you won’t find one here,’ says Carlos Leon, a businessman.”

    http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Americas/2013/0309/In-Venezuela-divisions-over-Chavez-extend-from-parliament-to-the-dinner-table

    • It’s more than lazy.

      The Vzla Information Office in NY appears to have been reactivated. Any coincidence with Eva Golinger, who in Patricia Janiot’s televised interview, was in New York?

      Have you asked yourself why Latam papers don’t carry clichés of this type, unless they’re pandering to the hard left? Because the only ones to fall for the stereotypes are those who are unfamiliar with the environment AND who have been fed a line.

    • And here’s the quote that journalist Ezra Frieser attributes to Capriles, when he called Maduro’s swearing-in as interim president:
      “completely spurious. No one elected Nicolas president. They did not say, ‘President Nicolas.’ … The people did not vote for you, boy.”

      No mention of the constitution’s parameters — the key issue involved in the abuse of power that has occurred.

      Ezra: you were fed a line. Have this translated, dear, for the real soundbytes, not the manufactured ones by third parties.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHtMK_xvjb8

  11. Helloooooo Quico? Please read a wonderful piece explaining all the misconception aboutnChávez and it’s causes: namely Rizarrita’s succesful intl media campaign in turning him chiane into robin hoodism. It’s posted today in Prodavinci by someone who is called Francisco Toro. Do you know him? Sound familiar? 😉

  12. To be clear, not all international correspondents are created equal, and there has been some excellent reporting.

    But if you want to talk about under-represented in the narrative…it’s the millions (many millions! accessible with just a little shoe leather!) of poor Capriles supporters across the country who so rarely make an appearance in these articles (or analyses).

    • and likewise the oligarchic bolibourgeois. Completely absent from the narrative! For good reason. It reveals the hypocrisy of the *revolution*.

      • OJO, si acaso es verdad la identidad que le da el periodista Eduardo Castillo/AP a los siguientes caraqueños (no me consta):

        La Floresta: Eduardo Perez ( a 44-year-old lawyer who “tinkered with the engine of his Ford Explorer”). Bring on the double cliché!

        La Floresta: Cesar Alvarez (a 62-year old elevator company executive).

        La Castellana: Oscar Carreño (a 23-year old economist, spent Friday morning walking his schnauzer). Horrors! A pure-bred dog! Bring on the knives of the revolution!

  13. I’ve lost all respect for Reuters, EFE, and CNN. They’re more like propaganda than news. Only news sources with independent journalists are worth the read…and blogs like this one!

    • It’s lazier than that. These agencies just report on the propaganda they receive. For, don’t you find it bizarre that Eduardo Castillo/AP reports on the “spandex-clad men and women” who “did group aerobics and jogged, while others sat lounging on benches. ..”

      Me huele a GRAN manipuleo (Golinger et al).

  14. One thing is that we are not crying the other is that we are drinking Dom Perignon. How ignorant can you be? I hate when I see the ticker in CNN stating : “Maduro, Chavez’ VP sweared in as provisional President” . It misleads the American public because they ignore that Maduro is there product of an illegal and anti constitutional act. Venezuelan VP’s are not elected they are named by the President and Chavez never took the oath of office(January 10th, 2013). The person that should have been named Provisional President was the speaker of the house, that is what the constitution states and what Chavez told them (Dec. 8th, 2012) they should do if he did not survive the December 10th surgery in Cuba.
    Chavez’ will was not in the Agenda of his successors who will continue to plunder Venezuela.
    However they continue to use is death, his funeral, his corpse and the ignorance of millions of venezuelans to obtain a victory in the April 14th presidential elections.
    They do seem to forget that they will inherit power but they will also inherit a country in ruins in every sense of the word. How long will the poor venezuelans put up with that is anybodies guess.

  15. Among the greatest damages caused by Chavez is to turn populism into a respectable political position. It used to be the case that people recognized grudge and spite as unhealthy political motivators. Now, they are expounded as valid arguments to justify the trampling of democratic principles.

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