With papers like these…

El Universal
El Universal en inglés

For a long time, I held that Venezuelan papers were their own worst enemies. Even if the government has recently taken the top spot from them, we shouldn’t be deceived: they still do what they can to run a close second.

For show, a button: this amazing, self-refuting story in El Universal which categorically debunks its own headline and lede all the way down in the…third graf!

In between, it helpfully explains that Venezuela suffered 24,000 murders per capita in 2010. (By my count, that works out to a total of  696 billion murders…)

How does a story like that go out without anyone noticing anything wrong with it?!?

I have this private theory that the reason Venezuelan papers don’t run corrections is that, if they did, they’d take up 2/3rds of the paper.

I’m all for defending the freedom of the press as an abstract principle. It’s when you get into the nitty-gritty of the actual institutions you’re actually supporting when you defend freedom of the press in Venezuela that things get distinctly depressing.

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