How The Media Manufactures Consent For Regime Change In Venezuela

Tuesday, February 12, 2019
By Paul Martin

by Alan MacLeod via Venezuelanalysis.com,
ZeroHedge.com
Tue, 02/12/2019

The latest extraordinary chapter in the bizarre world of Venezuelan politics is playing out before our eyes. After winning the 2018 presidential elections, Nicolás Maduro was inaugurated in January, only for the head of the National Assembly, Juan Guaidó — a man whom, at the time, less than 20 percent of the country had even heard of — to declare himself President.

Guaidó was immediately backed by the governments of the U.S. and U.K., with Vice President Mike Pence stating, “Nicolás Maduro is a dictator with no legitimate claim to power. He has never won the presidency in a free and fair election, and has maintained his grip of power by imprisoning anyone who dares to oppose him.”

I’ve previously cataloged how the media has been quick to echo the ideathat Maduro is completely illegitimate and has been eager to position America’s stance towards Venezuelan politics as one of a neutral arbiter.

Why do mainstream media outlets, who resist Trump at home, neatly align themselves with his administration’s Venezuela policy? And why has there so little criticism of what is essentially an ongoing U.S.-backed coup attempt?

In a recent study, I analyzed how the media presented the 2018 elections in Colombia and Venezuela. Looking at how these two elections were covered can help us understand why there’s so little nuance in the media coverage of U.S.-Venezuela relations.

A seminal study inspires
To study the 2018 elections, I used the propaganda model media scholars Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky outlined in their book Manufacturing Consent. Their propaganda model contends that mainstream, corporate media is not a neutral venue for truth. Instead, it is a vehicle that advances the interests of media owners and their advertisers.

The authors argue that, in contrast to the top-down censorship of authoritarian states, these outlets achieve uniform opinions through the pre-selection of “right-thinking” editors and reporters who have been trained at the “right” schools. They then disseminate information – or, at the very least, self-censor – in a way that protects or advances the ideology of ownership, advertisers and official sources.

Herman and Chomsky highlight this phenomenon through coverage of elections in three countries: Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

The Guatemalan presidential election of 1982 and the Honduran presidential election of 1984 to 1985 were held under what Herman and Chomsky describe as “conditions of severe, ongoing state terror against the civilian population.” They show how the U.S. media ignored the enormous waves of violence inundating these two elections. CBS’ Dan Rather, for example, described the events in Guatemala as “heartening.”

Meanwhile, Herman and Chomsky explain that the 1984 Nicaraguan elections were won by the Marxist sandinistas in a “model of probity and fairness by Latin American standards.” Yet American media coverage portrayed this election with a relentless tone of negativity. Time Magazine reported that the election mood was “one of indifference,” with voters “too apathetic to go to the polls” and that “the outcome was never in doubt,” suggesting a rigged system, while many articles discussed the “fear” of Nicaraguan voters.

>Mainstream media coverage, they concluded, manufactured a reality that was conducive to the interests of the U.S. government – which sought to prop up their client states and demonize Nicaragua – and multinational corporations, who were eager to work with sympathetic right-wing governments to increase their foothold in Central America.

The Rest…HERE

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