On the March 19 edition of "The View," Barbara Walters returned from Venezuela where she conducted a puffy interview with President Hugo Chavez.

As already noted on NewsBusters, "20/20" anchor Barbara Walters interviewed Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for a segment airing on the March 16 edition of the program. And although she did occasionally challenge authoritarian leader, Walters spent much of the interview discussing important topics such as whether Chavez likes coffee, marriage, and generally regurgitating the Venezuelan President’s propaganda.

Walters, appearing on the Friday edition of "Good Morning America" to plug the interview, even touted a Chavez run for political office in the U.S.:

Robin Roberts: "Did he think he would do very well if he ran for office here in this country?"

Barbara Walters: "He said, ‘You know, if I came to this country, I would run, I could run an election if I changed my name to Nicky Chavez because I am for humanity. I am for disseminating the wealth. I am for helping people.’ He says, ‘I would win.’ So put his name down on the list."

     While viewers were told that the interview with Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez “pulled no punches,” you sure could have fooled anyone watching. ABC’s March 16 “Good Morning America” treated Chavez as a man who “does like this country.”

     She actually meant the United States.

The White House isn't alone in doing advance work for the President's trip to Latin America. Associated Press is already finding negative angles to highlight the Ugly American President's critics. Juan Carlos Llorca writes from Guatemala City:

NPR's weekly show On The Media routinely tilts strongly to the left. On the January 26 version, it includes a segment with ex-Greenpeace researcher/Washington Post writer William Arkin denouncing the Iraq surge as a worthless political smokescreen, and an analysis of the Bush State of the Union address with former Clinton speechwriter Michael Waldman (exaggerating the negative reviews Clinton received for his annual yawnfests).

During the year-end awards edition of his weekly syndicated chat show, Chris Matthews asked his panel to vote on the “Dangerous Despot” of 2006, and then listed the nominees: North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il, Venezuelan boss Hugo Chavez, Iran’s nuclear-seeking threat Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — and Fox News Channel host Bill O’Reilly!

“How in the hell did this guy get in there?” Matthews asked in mock surprise as O’Reilly’s face popped up next to America’s worst enemies. “How did he get in there?”

Later in the same discussion, BBC Washington Correspondent Katty Kay pointed out “there’s a despot missing from this crowd, too, and that’s [Russian President] Vladimir Putin," who is suspected of ordering the killings of political opponents.

“We bumped him for O’Reilly,” Matthews interjected, eliciting laughter from the rest of the panel. “What do you think?”

Zheesh -- How about "None of the below":


Slim pickings indeed. Perhaps we need to start looking for inanimate objects (e.g., 1982 - The Computer; 1988 - Endangered Earth), symbolic people (1950 - American Fighting Man; 1956 - Hungarian Freedom Fighter; 2003 - The American Soldier), or groups of people (1960 - US Scientists; 1966 - 25 and Under; 1969 - The Middle Americans; 1975 - American Women; 1993 - The Peacemakers; 2002 - The Whistleblowers). The list of all previous winners is here.

Perhaps YouTube, online forums, blogs, vlogs, podcasts, and online media should be the Thing of the Year: The Shadow Media. Of course, Time would be writing about its own likely eventual demise, but it would fit.

Or readers may have better ideas.

Without offering any contrary views AP reports that the drop in profits for US Citgo gas stations only hurts Americans.

This half-the-story report was buttressed with a quote from Vance McSpadden, executive director of the Oklahoma Petroleum Association. McSpadden wants to stop Americans from avoiding the Citgo chain of stations -- Citgo gets their imported product from Hugo Chavez' state owned and operated Venezuelan oil companies

Assessing the anti-U.S. rants at the UN from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, on Friday night's Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, Maher and actor Bradley Whitford contended President Bush's policies have legitimized the criticism of an arrogant U.S. abusing its power.

There still is a Blame America First lobby.

With Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan strongman and "sulfur sniffer," at the top of the news this week, it's high time to revisit the Business and Media Institute's Special Report on "Hugo the Boss." It can't be argued that the media cheered along with his remarks calling Bush "the devil." But the media's past record certainly underscores that Hugo hasn't exactly been presented as the far-left anti-American agitator now displayed on the world stage.