Earlier today, when I wasn't in a position to save what I was viewing, I came across an Associated Press item about Venezuela's Sunday election results that I knew I would have to find again at the first opportunity. Readers will see why shortly.
Because the AP has a habit of quickly replacing items at its national site while failing to leave the original behind -- especially true when the originals contain embarrassing giveaway sentiments -- I had to look elsewhere for the original story by Frank Bajak and Ian James, and found it at the Lakeland, Florida Ledger. The pair's slavering, slavish coverage of a tyrant's continued consolidation of power, arguably an even worse example of statist-supporting bias than Kyle Drennen cited earlier today at NewsBusters originating from NBC, is almost too much to bear:
Chavez Wins a Third Term in Venezuela
President Hugo Chavez put to rest any doubts about his masterful political touch in winning a third consecutive six-year term after a bitterly fought race against a youthful rival who has galvanized Venezuela’s opposition.
The state governor who lost Sunday’s presidential vote, Henrique Capriles, had accused the flamboyant incumbent of unfairly leveraging to his advantage Venezuela’s oil wealth to finance his campaign as well as flaunting his near total control of state institutions.
Capriles also narrowed Chavez’s margin of victory to his smallest yet in a presidential contest. This time, the former army paratroop commander who led a failed 1992 coup won 55 percent of the vote against 45 percent for Capriles, with 98 percent of the vote counted.
In 2006, Chavez’s margin of victory was 27 points.
Nevertheless, the populace endorsed once again Chavez’s stated aim of converting Venezuela into a socialist state.
"Masterful political touch"?
First of all, guys, Hugo the omnipresent controls the news and access, including that of political opponents, to the airwaves. He has shut down television and radio stations. One such broad move in 2009 led one reporter (certainly not from AP) to declare that "“We’re in a dictatorship, they’re shutting us up.”
The second paragraph above is a classic journalists' trick. Instead of saying what's objectively true, Bajak and James only say that Chavez's opponent Capriles "had accused" Chavez of "leveraging" the country's oil wealth. In a later report this evening, the AP reporters themselves, in discussing the massive difficulties Chavez and Venezuela, primarily of Dear Leader's making, acknowledged that it wasn't just an accusation when they wrote:
The government's free-spending ways, bankrolling the generous social programs that aided his re-election, may be seriously crimped.
And of course, "flaunting ... near total control of state institutions" is what statists do, so that anyone who believes the ruling party's opponents would do a better job knows that the cost of visibly expressing such support will be high.
The best that can be said is that Chavez bought an election with redistributed oil money and 24-7 media control. Without one or the other, given the 10-point victory, it's quite likely that he would have lost -- if it can even be believed that the ballots would have been counted fairly. So the notion that Chavez's victory represents a legitimate "endorsement" of Hugo the Thug's goal of "converting Venezuela into a socialist state" is absurd.
The writers at the AP and many other establishment press do seem to be savoring Chavez's "victory" quite a bit, don't they?
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.