Is there anything as futile as asking the AP to correct a grossly dishonest claim made in an article about Venezuela?
I wrote to them about this article which says the Venezuelan opposition has ““virtually no access to televised media”. I explained why this was a straightforward lie and a rather easy one to expose.
In July, Jimmy Carter's group, not exactly a bunch of left-wing radicals, did a report on Venezuela’s presidential election that took place on April 14.
The report examined TV media access by the government and opposition. The report found a 57% to 34% advantage for the government based on total minutes of coverage on all the TV networks monitored. That finding alone totally refutes what AP said in this article, but it gets worse.
By the Carter Center’s estimate, the audience share of the private media’s TV news coverage (where the opposition received ¾ of the coverage) is nearly three times as large as the state media’s (where the government dominated coverage). Accounting for audience share, (and even additionally accounting for the amount of “positive coverage”) not only does the opposition have ample access to TV coverage, it may still enjoy an advantage over the government.
I say “still enjoy” because in 2002 the television media was so uniformly against the government that it essentially led a briefly successful military coup. In the years following the coup, the government eroded much of the opposition’s overwhelming advantage, but not all of it.
Unfortunately, as long as nobody with a significant platform can regularly challenge a lie, it will become accepted as truth.
For example, on Ian Masters' KPFK show, Master’s said to UK Guardian reporter Virginia Lopez
"…with the media now being entirely under the control of the government, there's no commercial media left, I understand, that supports the opposition, with Globovision now being bought by some cronies of Chávez and Maduro, do the merchants have any voice?"
Virginia Lopez replied
"…the media is controlled by the government right now, the stories you here are only from one side, it is quite difficult to get a clear sense of what is happening".
A link to the show is here, and the exchange I refer to takes place at about the 5 minute mark.
It is hard to exaggerate the level of ignorance and dishonesty revealed in this exchange but it is so common that there isn’t an international news outlet that should fear ever being held accountable for it.
It must be stressed that Virginia Lopez reports for a “left leaning” outlet within the corporate media. The Guardian has allowed some space for dissenting views, but over the years its reporting has been dominated by people like Virginia Lopez.