Friday, March 8, 2013

Compare and Contrast -- Hugo vs Hugo

The outpouring of grief over the death of Hugo Chavez is matched by the contempt of a certain class of want-it-alls who rule us and seek to rule Venezuela once again.

But the contrast isn't just between grief and contempt. It's between celebration and lies, between accomplishment and fabrication, between admiration and insult.

This is the Class War limned in bright tropical colors, the global war between the haves-who-want-it-all and everyone else.

The day after Hugo's death, two sectors of what passes for 'lefty' media in the United States -- the Diane Rehm Show on NPR and Democracy Now! on Pacifica -- demonstrated just how deep those divisions run, even on the so-called Left.

Rehm had three panelists, one of whom was a stone liar rightist from Venezuela now on wingnut welfare at the Carnegie Institute. His lies were nonstop, pure propaganda, and they went essentially unchallenged by the other panelists, let alone the hostess (who tolerates no challenge to her perspective and authority on her show). The other panelists were Tom Gjelten of NPR and Geoff Thale of something called The Washington Office of Latin America. Gjelten presented the US government line on the matter of Chavez and Venezuela and Thale presented a somewhat softer version of the Government Line.

Rehm was at sea, vaguely drifting around, but knowing that Chavez was indubitably A Bad Man. Socialist dictator that he was. And all the rest of it.



Interestingly, many of her callers, emailers and commenters seemed to be fed up with the, shall we say, anti-Chavez bias of the program and said so more or less politely. Diane feigned perplexity and badly mischaracterized the comments she was receiving apparently throughout the show. 

Read the commentary

I don't ordinarily listen to Rehm. I did because of the topic. I was disgusted and offended.

Later, Democracy Now! presented what I thought was a much fairer and more people centered, rather than government-institution centered, remembrance of Chavez, for good and ill. What was striking to me was that several of those speaking about Chavez and Venezuela had personal knowledge of him and Venezuela. Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez had interviewed him (albeit in New York) and Eva Golinger had been one of his friends and advisers in Caracas. I don't recall offhand, but it could be that other panelists had known him personally. At any rate, even when they didn't necessarily approve of some action or policy of Chavez and his government, even when they acknowledged that he and his government got some things wrong, they certainly saw him as a worthy figure with profound influence in Latin America and beyond.

Quite the contrast with the Diane Rehm Show.

Democracy Now! Video and transcript.

Now of course I should not consider Diane Rehm and NPR to be the "left"  -- and ordinarily I wouldn't do so. But in the United States, the mainstream media, like government, is divided between rightists and fascists. There is no "left" at all. Consequently, various outlets within the rightist-fascist mainstream are designated "left" -- NPR, PBS, MSNBC, the "Communist News Network," so as to have demons to thrash, even though all of the mainstream outlets are pretty much on the same page, and it is a page that's written by Ailes and Murdoch.

Meanwhile, Pacifica has ventured pretty far from its radical/revolutionary -- and yes, leftist -- roots, having been captured in a sense by Puritans and Propertarians. I won't go into the Take-Over sturm und drang here, but it was dramatic to say the least. While there is a leftist gloss to the place still, it shows (to me at least) far more signs of straightlaced libertarianism than Leftism in much of its programming, including the flagship Democracy Now!

The American media and what's fundamentally wrong with it, however, are topics for another day.

Let it just be noted in this instance that NPR and Diane Rehm performed the role of FOX "News" to in contrast to Democracy Now! doing a creditable version of an MSNBC "moderate" take.

That is all...

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