This article addresses two of the writer’s favorite corporate media targets – the Wall Street Journal’s far-right editorial page and New York Times on every page. Both broadsheets were recently in attack mode taking on two Latin American leaders deserving praise but never getting any other than occasional backhanded kinds from papers devoted to one dual core mission – supporting the power elite and their own bottoms lines. First, the Journal.
Readers need a strong stomach and nerves of steel venturing onto the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page any time, but especially on days when self-styled “Latin American expert” Mary Anastasia O’Grady’s columns appear. This writer has tangled with her a time or two before. In a response last fall, it was suggested she one day risks a serious back problem, the result of her permanent position of genuflection to the far-right extremists she pledges allegiance to. Based on her latest offering, nothing has changed, but readers be warned. Those accepting how she views
Her latest April 9 column titled “Sharp Left Turn in
O’Grady was also awarded the private media Inter-American Press Association’s (IAPA – for private media corporations) Daily Gleaner Award for editorial commentary in 1997 and received an honorable mention in IAPA’s opinion award category for 1999. In addition, she won first prize in the 2005 Annual Bastiat Prize for Journalism. The prize was established and run by the International Policy Network (IPN – a UK based NGO) to “encourage and reward writers whose published works promote the institutions of a free society” according to how its patron saint, 19th century French-born Frederic Bastiat, saw things. He had a deep distrust of government in any form and thought regulation and control were inefficient, economically destructive and morally wrong, or as IPN puts it: It supports “limited government, rule of law brokered by an independent judiciary, protection of private property, free markets, free speech, and sound science.”
It sounds like apple pie and motherhood, but IPN doesn’t explain those things are in the eye of the beholder, and high-sounding language can easily brush over policies of another kind. One nation’s free markets doesn’t mean they’re fair and private property rights have no right infringing on the public commons. They’re for everyone equally, not just the elitist ones IPN refers to reflecting its membership encouraging what it calls “better public understanding of the role of the institutions of the free society in social and economic development.”
O’Grady launches her attack with what she calls “the constitutional crisis that Ecuador finds itself in today (facing a) modern day plunder frenzy (pitting) President Raphael Correa, an outspoken admirer of Venezuelan Hugo Chavez, against members of Congress who wish to preserve the country’s institutional balance of power. At stake is the future of democracy, with 13 million Ecuadoreans facing the prospect of life under a soft dictatorship allied with the Venezuelan strongman.”
It’s enough to take your breath away, and a little translation is in order to set the record straight O’Grady never does. Remember where she’s coming from, who she writes for, and above all whom she represents – the nation’s power elite, not the people of
Correa took office January 15 making impressive promises he’s so far trying to keep. That arouses O’Grady’s ire so she oxymoronically refers to “non-democratic
Early on, Correa campaigned like George Bush never did promising real change including using the country’s oil revenue (
O’Grady is right about one thing. Only the country’s unicameral legislature can call for a national constitutional referendum, but that’s precisely what it did by a vote of 54 – 1 with two abstentions after most opposition Christian Democratic Union (UDC) deputies walked out facing overwhelming popular sentiment for it and their likely defeat.
Here’s O’Grady’s account of things, all false and pure nonsense: “Mr. Correa (got) the electoral court (
She goes on pathetically calling the people of
Here’s why. Ecuadoreans look north and elected Raphael Correa to do for them what Hugo Chavez continues doing for the Venezuelan people. Venezuelans showed their admiration by reelecting Chavez in December by a nearly two to one margin over his only serious Washington-backed and financially supported opponent. Correa promised and appears set on delivering the same kind of social democratic agenda Venezuelans now have and embrace. At its core is a true democratic process and kinds of progressive social programs Chavez gave his people. To move forward, he first needs popular approval to rewrite the country’s Constitution he surely will get this Sunday.
Correa is also negotiating bilateral and other economic deals with Hugo Chavez and other Latin leaders based on
He won’t need it to follow through on his promise to close the major
Pentagon issues aside, all else terrifies people like Mary O’Grady who feel benefits for ordinary people mean less of them for the rich and powerful ones she represents who give her Wall Street Journal editorial space for it weekly. She knows the side her bread is buttered on, and for her lying is just business as usual and part of the job serving the powerful.
The New York Times Weighs in on
Not about to let the Wall Street Journal one-up it, the New York Times assaulted Hugo Chavez in its April 10 Simon Romero/Clifford Krauss article titled “High Stakes: Chavez Plays the Oil Card.” First a brief explanation of the facts, and then the way the Times skews them.
Hugo Chavez made it clear to foreign investors the old way of doing business in Venezuela is over based on corporate exploitation of the country’s resources at the expense of the Venezuelan people. The new rules are fair ones, the same kinds foreign oil and other investors agree to in deals with Global North countries but don’t have to in relations with developing ones. Henceforth, if Big Oil and other corporate giants want to do business in
On the matter of oil, Chavez wants a bigger share of joint-venture profits Venezuela is entitled to from its own resources and majority state control over Orinoco River basin lucrative oil projects believed to hold the world’s largest undeveloped oil reserves. It’s where Big
So far, Exxon Mobil and ConocoPhillips are holding out for a better deal they won’t get while Chevron is more willing to go along understanding less of a huge profit is better than none at all. In the end, the holdouts may come around to that view as well. All this has the Times very upset, so it’s on the attack as de facto cheerleader for Big Oil.
Mentioning the looming May 1 deadline, it attacks Hugo Chavez with charged language like negotiating with “revolutionary flourish” and his “ambitious” plan (no different from Global North ones) to “wrest control of several major oil projects from American and European companies (with a) showdown (ahead) over access to some of the most coveted energy resources outside the Middle East.” If instead of dealing with
In it, the Times refers to empty Chavez threats to cut off oil exports to the US because he wants to diversify into more markets by selling more to countries like China and India. It also sees a problem where none exists if
The article continues with scare-talk saying Chavez’s “confrontation could easily end up with everyone losing” meaning if Big Oil leaves and
Nonsense. If Big Oil leaves, which is very doubtful, it will be the loser and Venezuelan oil production will continue under new joint-venture partnerships. Because the country’s potential is so huge, it’s highly likely Big Oil’s current posture is just its way to hold out as long as possible for the best deal its members can get and in the end take what Hugo Chavez gives the ones agreeing to it. It’s too sweet a deal to walk away from, and most likely won’t despite their wailing and moaning with help from the New York Times acting as their mouthpiece. And if any do, they’ll be willing takers ready to sign deals to pick up where those exiting left off.
Nonetheless, it gets still more heated quoting oil analyst Michael Economides saying “We are on a collision course with Chavez over oil” in an article he wrote comparing “Mr. Chavez’s populist appeal in Latin America with the pan-Arabism of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi of Libya two decades ago” when he was persona non grata in the West, and Ronald Reagan bombed him in 1986 killing his adopted daughter. He continues saying “Chavez poses a much bigger threat to
But there’s more. The Times accuses Chavez of allowing “politics and ideology” to drive the confrontation and seek “to limit American influence around the world, starting in
The Times also dismisses out of hand Chavez’s right to view the
Some Conclusions Left Out of the Wall Street Journal and New York Times Articles
The Wall Street Journal and New York Times attacked two Latin American leaders unwilling to surrender their nations’ sovereignty to ours with Hugo Chavez being boldly vocal about it. Since elected in 1998, Chavez charted his own independent course building a new mass social and political revolutionary movement based on participatory democratic social equity and justice. It began as his Bolivarian Revolution inspired by the vision of 18th century liberator Simon Bolivar to end what Bolivar called an imperial curse “to plague
It’s working socially, politically and economically as well with poverty levels falling from a high in 2003 of 62% following the crippling 2002-03 “management lockout/oil strike” and destabilizing effects of the 2002 two-day aborted coup to levels near one-third today because of Venezuela’s booming economy. It’s grown at least 10% three straight years, including 10 of the last 11 quarters lifting personal incomes, sparking overall consumer demand, and raising corporate profits to high levels that were so impressive for financial firms last year the Financial Times wrote bankers were having a “party” in Venezuela because “rather than ‘nationalise’ banks, the ‘revolutionary’ distribution of oil money has spawned wealthy individuals who are increasingly making Caracas a magnet for Swiss and other international bankers.”
With comments like that, you’d think the Wall Street Journal and New York Times would take note and praise Chavez instead of condemning him. They don’t because
And one other piece of good economic news just came out showing
These positive developments are happening in a socially democratic state where constitutional law and government policies require redistributing much of the nation’s wealth back to the people, and it’s lifting all boats. The result is mirror opposite of what happened throughout
Raphael Correa understands them as a former finance minister and trained economist with a doctorate in economics earned in 2001 at the
The same is true for the New York Times, savaging Hugo Chavez, disingenuously calling him “divisive” and a “ruinous demogogue,” and they were just getting warmed up. The Times championed the aborted 2 day coup toppling him briefly calling it a “resignation” and saying
It’s not working as the spirit of social democracy proves it can trump Washington Consensus alternatives of economic ruin and vast human misery from it. Venezuelans know it, and hopefully Ecuadoreans soon will as well. But we’ll never hear about it on the pages of the Wall Street Journal and New York Times continuing their drumbeat support for failed policies heading one day for the dustbin of history with room there to spare for these papers sure eventually to follow.
Stephen Lendman lives in
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen each Saturday to the Steve Lendman News and Information Hour on The Micro Effect.com at noon US central time.