Why do newspapers routinely pillory Hugo Chavez?

Nice letter by Stephen Greenberg in this morning’s Business Day, taking on the newspaper’s portrayal of Hugo Chavez – the democratically elected president of Venezuela – as a de facto dictator.

“Instead of parroting the propaganda of the Venezuelan elite, pained by the rise of a leader representing the interests of the poor, a more rounded and accurate reflection of the alternatives to the crisis of global capitalism being formulated and pursued in Latin America might enlighten your readers more.Instead of parroting the propaganda of the Venezuelan elite, pained by the rise of a leader representing the interests of the poor, a more rounded and accurate reflection of the alternatives to the crisis of global capitalism being formulated and pursued in Latin America might enlighten your readers more.”

It seems to be a good illustration of the media reflecting the interests and views of those with economic power, in this case the moneyed Venezuelan elite, who constitute the political opposition to Chavez and can’t stand his policies. Chavez – who has won two democratic elections, as well as a number of referendums on his economics reforms – is routinely described in the media as a “strongman”. Nobody used that word to describe George W Bush, whose democratic credentials are arguably thinner than those of Chavez.

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