Venezuela's Socialist president Hugo Chavez has announced that he is shutting down his country's oldest private television station. On May 27th, Radio Caracas Television (RCTV) – a broadcaster of idiotic soap operas and authoritarian/bourgeois propaganda — will be out of business.
Chavez will not renew its license. I say good move, Hugo. Three cheers for the Bolivarian Revolution!
RCTV and other bourgeois Venezuela television stations "broadcast cartoons, baseball and reruns of American movies" (Gary Marx, "Censorship Fears Deepen in Venezuela," Chicago Tribune, 29 January 2007, sec. 1, p. 5) while protestors heroically filled the streets to reverse a coup that Venezuela's business class (with U.S. assistance) instigated (with no small help from RCTV and other capitalist media…in fact it was often described as "a television coup") in April of 2002 (see the marvelous left documentary "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised").
"Eight months later," capitalist media staffer Gary Marx admits in today's Chicago Tribune, "the same [bourgeois] media outlets ran opposition advertisements and other programs in support of the opposition-led strike that sought to oust Chavez…Chavez outlasted the strike and his popularity has soared as [imagine!, P.S.] he has poured tens of billions of dollars into social programs aimed at the poor" (Marx, "Censorship Fears").
G. Marx seems horrified that one of the socialist Venezuelan state's television stations recently broadcast a spot linking "capitalism" to "misery and hate…while praising socialism as embodying equality and collectivism." Never mind that the capitalist system has always been fundamentally linked to, well, misery and hate and that socialist struggle is all about the quest for social justice and equality for all.
Private media operative G. Marx deletes some interesting history: RCTV and other capitalist propaganda structures ("media outlets") worked to provoke the illegal 2002 coup, providing (among other things) misleading footage to wrongly suggest that Chavez had ordered terrible killings in the streets of Caracas (see "The Revolution Will not Be Televised").
But of course. There's nothing democratic, progressive or worth defending in corporate and capitalist media. Just look at the United States, certainly the most private/corporate-media-dominated society in history, where a deadly mixture of power-worshipping Orwellian and [Aldous] Huxlean media content works powerfully to help keep millions upon millions of American post-citizens in paralyzing states of toxic ignorance, addiction, distraction, depression, confusion, atomization, consumerized alienation, irrelevance and marginalization. No single institution has done more to turn citizens into spectators and take the risk out of American democracy for privileged elites than corporate media. Have you seen "Deal or No Deal?" "The Apprentice?" "Extreme Makover?" How about NBC's laughable "Today?" Do you watch the Ten O'Clock News? The Fourth Reich Fox News Network? "COPS?" Regis? "America's Most Wanted?" Desperate Housewives?" The proliferating daytime court tv shows, including Judges Judy, Joe Brown, Alex (and now that Latino lady judge) and Divorce Court? Oprah? Tyra? Jerry Springer? Maury Povich? Montel? Dr. Phill? Dr. Keith? ER? Law and Order? Charlie Rose? The Chevy Silverado "This is Our Country" commercial? "Wife Swap?" "Nanny 911? The "Life Takes Visa" commercial? The Super Bowl half-time show? The Super Bowl? "Meet the Press?" "Face the Nation?" The Local Fox News "Around the World [all floods, fires, wars and mayhem out in that crazy uncivilized "world'] in One Minute?" piece? The Nike (I think) commercial where a basketball hatches (you know like a chicken from an egg?) an NBA player on a darkened city playground court? The Burger King commercial where "the King" crashes his motorcycle? That ditzy show where the mother of a Yale undergraduate from a really happy all-white New England town talks and acts like a really sillly junior-high student? "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous?" The local televsion weatherman who finally gets to report some cold weather and then says "so much for global warming?" The local news reporter who has to go to some rural town that is home to a GI recently killed in the Cheney-Bush administration's brazenly imperialist oil war to show the "fallen hero's" high school history teacher/football coach claiming that the deceased gave his life "helping the Iraqi people" and "defending America?" The local news team's nightly obsession with mandatorily de-contexualized black inner-city crime (and continuing avoidance of white and capitalist crime and Caucasian-suburban depravity)? The "MY TV Network?" "Good Morning America?" ….big man Brian Williams, cute gal Katie Couric, smiling Charles Gibson and the nightly national news, where war criminal George W. Bush and his vile utterances continue to be treated with astonishing deference…as if The Worst President Ever is some kind of legitemate leader who deserves our respect?
It's an endless, nauseating parade of power-worshipping drivel, capitalist and imperial propaganda, infantilizing (yet heavily ideological) nonsense, and commercial carpet-bombing. The sooner it gets shut down, the better.
According to RCTV talk-show gas-bag Miguel Angel Rodriguez, Chavez has "no legal basis for closure or confiscation" of RCTV (Marx, "Censorship Fears").
Someone ought to remind Rodriguez and his bourgeois friends that capitalism and imperialism enclosed and confiscated the land, resources, and lives of Latin America and indeed the world without real moral or legal basis.
We need to reverse that great enclosure and confiscation just like (on a smaller scale) the people of Venezuela reversed the "television coup" of 2002. Capitalism and imperialism are incompatible with human survival in the 21st century. They only serve the interests of a tiny slice of humanity with a vested interest in the hateful perpetration of misery and the destruction of a livable ecosphere.