The Media on Venezuela: Double Standards and First Impressions

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The swearing in of the Constituent Assembly meant the return of the portraits of Bolívar and Chávez to the Legislative Palace (photo from Alba Ciudad)

While street violence in Venezuela virtually evaporated after chavismo’s strong showing on July 30 and the Constituent Assembly being sworn in, the war against Venezuela is far from over. After months of threats and targeted sanctions, the US, cheered on by the Venezuelan opposition, imposed financial sanctions targeting the Venezuelan government and the state oil company PDVSA. Another war front that has remained hyperactive has been the media. It is impossible to go after the (fake) news and distortions one by one, so in this piece we will try to pinpoint some of the techniques used by the mainstream media in recent times when reporting about Venezuela.

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Who shoulders the burden of proof?

The lead-up to the Constituent Assembly elections was full of threats and refusals to recognise the results from the US and its subordinates near and far. After the vote took place, with over 8M voters participating, the mainstream media started behaving like the audience of “The Price is Right”. Any claim of a different turnout, invariably without any evidence, was thrown at the readers.

But the ideal weapon came when Smartmatic, the company responsible for the voting machines and software, claimed that “without any doubt” the voting total had been inflated by, according to their “estimations”, at least 1M…

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