In a recent video made in support of Venezuelan opposition candidates in upcoming municipal elections, Henrique Capriles, the opposition leader, made this incredibly cynical remark:
In fact the international press, in collaboration with the opposition in Venezuela, has repeatedly cast doubt on the secrecy of the vote. For example, in a New York Times article published just ahead of the October, 2012 presidential election, a public servant claimed that she would vote for Chavez rather than Capriles out of fear. The NYT reporter, Wililam Neuman, didn’t bother to ask why, if she was afraid, had she openly broadcast her support for Capriles on Twitter or been willing to give her name to the NYT.
Just prior to the election in April that was won by Nicolas Maduro, an opinion piece in the Atlantic alleged a “well-founded fear of lack of ballot secrecy” and actually criticized Capriles for not trashing the electoral process even more aggressively.
The campaign to cast doubt on the secrecy of votes has come from the opposition and its allies in the international press, not the government, so how will the international press react to Capriles’ outrageous lie?
- Ignore it (my prediction)
- Try to spin it as a reasonable but perhaps unproven allegation – basically pretend nobody can be certain if it is a lie. The “he said, she said” approach works well for that while also maintaining bogus objectivity: For example, “Capriles has said that Maduro is a flesh eating Martian, an allegation Maduro angrily denies.”
- Ridicule Capriles for saying something outlandish as they have repeatedly lampooned Chavez (and now Maduro) for any real or invented gaffe over the past fifteen years.
For many years, the opposition has maintained numerous laughable postions – only elections the opposition wins are valid but the governement still cheated to keep the margin of victory small; Chavez died long before it was announced; Cuba actually runs Venezuela; the governmnet is bankrupt and on the economy on the verge of collapse.
How can the international press laugh at any of this? Corporate journalists typically accept these positions or, even when they don't, know better than to laugh out loud.