Carter Center Explodes Myths About TV News Media in Venezuela – without even trying to

A few weeks ago, former US president Jimmy Carters’ group came out with a report on Venezuela’s presidential election that took place on April 14.  Here is a crucial excerpt from the summary:


A Carter Center television monitoring exercise from March 28-April 16 showed that state television station VTV broadcast more electoral coverage (excluding paid campaign ads) than the three largest private television stations combined. In the total coverage monitored, the Maduro campaign received 57 percent of the coverage of all outlets monitored, the Capriles campaign 34 percent, and the National Election Council (CNE) 9 percent.
The polarization of Venezuelan media is reflected in the breakdowns of coverage and the tone of coverage. In the private television stations, Capriles received nearly three-quarters of the coverage, though two of those stations provided an equilibrium between the two candidates while news channel Globovisión, which provided by far the most electoral coverage, devoted most of it to Capriles. On the contrary, on state station VTV, Maduro received 90 percent of the coverage time. The difference in tone of coverage was also striking: Maduro received 91 percent positive coverage in state media, but only 28 percent positive coverage in private media; Capriles received zero percent positive coverage in state media, and 60% positive coverage in the private media.

The main body of the report adds that

…ratings during recent key newsworthy events (during the October 2012 presidential election, the December 2012 regional elections and the funeral of President Hugo Chávez in March 2013) show Venevisión as the undisputed national leader for news, with an average of 35 percent of the market. It is followed by the public channel Venezolana de Televisión, with 25 percent, and Televen and Globovisión, in third and fourth place, with 22 and 15 percent, respectively.

The main body of the report also clarifies that the 57% to 34% advantage it found for Maduro was based on total minutes of coverage on all the networks monitored. However, by the Carter Center’s own estimate, the audience share of the private media’s TV news coverage is nearly three times as large as the state media’s (72% to 25%).  Accounting for audience share, at the very least, eliminates any real advantage for Maduro on TV.

How does that compare with the USA, where the media routinely denounces a “crackdown on free expression” in Venezuela?

The Democrats and Republicans are two factions of the same corporate owned party, so comparing TV coverage between their presidential candidates in elections does not offer a meaningful comparison to Venezuela. On the other hand, former candidates like Ralph Nader, who do offer a real alternative, can only dream about getting TV coverage that is remotely comparable to what Capriles received.

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