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Rory Carroll – a stopped clock hoping to be right for once about Venezuela


You could write small book about all the fibs and distortions in Rory Carroll’s latest article on the upcoming presidential election in Venezuela.

 
Carroll wrote essentially the same lenghthy article in 2008. Then, as now, he claims everything in Venezuela is basically falling apart because of the Chavez administration and that it has finally caught up with Chavez. Reporting like that hardly sets Carroll apart from the rest of the international press. However, he had been unusually prolific while he was based in Caracas for the "left leaning" UK Guardian. Between 2006  until January of 2012, Rory Carroll's output represented about 75% of what the Guardian published about Venezuela.
 
In the 2012 version of his 2008 article, Rory Carroll wrote
 
“Some polls give the president a wide lead, others show him trailing”
 
Similarly, it is true that “some“ people say Elvis is dead while “others” say he is alive. Some people say the world is round, others say it is flat. I imagine the Guardian editors will let Carroll’s remark stand for being accurate in the same way those two statements are accurate.
 
In reality, there is no way to look at the polls and honestly report them as being inconclusive as Carroll does. His dishonesty on this point is very representative of the way he has reported about Venezuela over the years. 
 
Five of Venezuela's seven major pollsters put Chavez decisively ahead (i.e. with a double digit lead),  Only two of them say the election will be close. One of them projects a razor thin Capriles victory.
 
As Erik Sperling has shown, one of those major pollsters putting Chavez ahead, IVAD, has one of the most impressive track records. It has accurately predicted Chavista victories but also a defeat in a 2007 constitutional referendum. IVAD's latest poll shows Chavez with an 18 point lead going into the Sunday’s election.
 
Datanalisis, another of the seven major pollsters, has had a tendency in years past to publish very dubious results favoring the oppostion months before a vote but then quickly align itself with other polsters as elections near (thereby salvaging its credibility). Datanalisis shows Chavez with 10 point lead.
 
In contrast, as Erik Sperling discusses here, the only major pollster (Consultores 21) predicting a Capriles victory, has a very poor track record. 
 
It is not hard to imagine how Rory Carrol and most of the international press would report the poll results if they were reversed for Capriles and Chavez. The headlines you’d see written are “Polls show Capriles headed for Landslide Victory”. 
 
Rory Carroll is like a stopped clock hoping to be right for once. It could theoretically happen, but the odds are very much against him. 

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