Media Research Center (MRC), the conservative media watchdog whose stated mission is to “prove through sound scientific research, that liberal bias in the media does exist,” reported on Tuesday more evidence that the media is now guilty of publishing “no news,” at least when the subject is the ongoing meltdown taking place in Venezuela.
Readers of these pages are well-informed about that meltdown: More than 50 protestors have been killed, with thousands wounded or jailed; inflation is making the bolivar nearly worthless (but with so little on the shelves to purchase it doesn’t matter); Venezuelans are down to two meals a day, with citizens eating stray dogs when they can be found and zoo animals and race horses being slaughtered for food; medicines are increasingly unavailable; hospital and medical services are declining, resulting in hundreds of babies dying following childbirth, and on and on.
And yet, as this horrific tale of socialist destruction plays out, the mainstream media has not only downplayed its coverage, it has all but eliminated it. According to the MRC, “From March 2013 (after the death of strongman Venezuelan president Hugh Chavez) through May 29, 2017, the ABC, CBS and NBC evening news shows have aired a mere 25 stories, totaling 28 minutes, 39 seconds of coverage — barely 30 seconds per month — to the rapidly worsening situation in Venezuela.”
MRC reviewed approximately 50,000 individual news stories on all topics aired by those networks over more than four years and discovered that just 25 of them mentioned Venezuela at all. More than that, the word “socialism” was mentioned in only seven of them. And in none was there any “cause and effect” connection made between the destruction and the political and economic system that is responsible for it.
Even worse, according to the MRC, “The networks have [not only] been reluctant to attach the ‘socialist’ label to Venezuela’s government [it has] utterly failed to criticize liberal politicians and celebrities who have praised the Chavez and Maduro regimes.”
The MRC noted five specific examples of “no news” coming out of Venezuela, as that country descends from being one of the richest countries in South America to a level approaching North Korea:
• In September 2013, Maduro seized on a massive blackout that left 70 percent of the country without power, using it as an excuse to crack down on the opposition. Network coverage: ZERO stories.
• In November 2013, the then-socialist controlled National Assembly gave Maduro “emergency” powers, permitting him to bypass the National Assembly. Since then, Maduro has repeatedly declared Venezuela in a state of emergency, ruling by decree. Network coverage: ZERO stories.
• In December 2015, the opposition party won control of the National Assembly from the unpopular socialists, with voters handing them a super-majority of 112 seats vs. 55 for the socialists. Network coverage: ZERO stories
• In September 2016, there were massive protests against the government, as hundreds of thousands of citizens demanded a recall vote against Maduro. Network coverage: ZERO stories.
• On May 18, the socialist-dominated Supreme Court ruled to strip power from the anti-Madura Venezuelan Congress. Network coverage: ZERO stories.
To its credit the Washington Times permitted Stephen Moore, a senior fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, to balance the scales slightly. On Sunday Moore wrote that when he speaks to colleges students he tells them:
You’d be a fool to go there today. Venezuela is a human rights crisis of epic proportions with mass hunger, mass poverty, despair, ghetto upon ghetto, and a mass exodus of private businesses and anyone with money. There are no rich and no evil corporations to loot anymore. The inflation rate is almost 500 percent as the currency value is about as valuable as Monopoly money.
This is a cataclysm of the first order, but there’s no media attention being paid to it, wrote Moore:
Yet, no one in the media seems to pay any attention to this man-made disaster. Economist Mark Skousen noted at an international investor conference last week that “almost no one in academia or the news outlets seems to be covering the tragic and swift collapse of Venezuela.” He explains that what is happening on the streets of Caracas should be “deeply embarrassing to the American left.” So they pretend it isn’t happening.
The New American has been following the slow-motion collapse of Venezuela for years, but it shouldn't come as a surprise that other media aren't. Recently the magazine noted the bias the media has against the Trump administration as documented by Thomas Patterson, Harvard University’s professor of government and the press, and author of “News Coverage of Donald Trump’s First 100 Days.” He said that the mainstream media coverage has “set … new standard for unfavorable press coverage of a president,” adding that “negative news reports outpaced positive ones by 80 percent to 20 percent.… In no week did the coverage drop below 70 percent negative, and it reached 90 percent negative at its peak.”
With Trump it’s “fake news” but with Venezuela there’s “no news” at all.
Photo of the May 20 We Are Millions march: Voice of America