Notes on a private TV newscast in Bolivia. The contrast with Venezuela is clear as day

In August, I took detailed notes a news broadcast on one of Venezuela’s largest TV networks. I summarized these notes in an interview I did with the Real News Network making the point that Venezuela’s private media (which reaches 60-90% of households) is remarkably free – most especially when you consider the US is openly trying to destroy its economy in an attempt to install the opposition in power.  Opposition voices (including the US anointed fake President of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó, are prominent in the newscast along with many other harsh critics of the Maduro government, including international critics.

Below are my notes on a private TV news broadcast in Bolivia on December 2, almost a month after the democratically elected president, Evo Morales, was overthrown in a US-backed military coup. The president and political party that just dominated elections receiving 47% of the vote basically do not exist in this newscast except as alleged thieves and terrorists. About a third of the time is eaten up by commercial breaks and a very long segment about a 200 over year old battle.

Unitel Tarija newscast Monday December 2, 2019.

0:00 “Morales and Maduro commanded them” reads the opening headline

0:12 “we expose the links of organization to narco terrorism” The deposed president Evo Morales is depicted at the top of the chart “exposing the links”

0:30 The Áñez dictatorship’s interior minister, Arturo Murillo,   says it “alarming” how Venezuelan president Maduro has “financed all the terrorism we have been living through in recent days”.

2:O7 Still going on uncritically relaying the “terror network” allegations of the dictatorship as it summarizes main stories to come in the newscast

2:19 Says candidates are registering for elections

2:31 Says a former electoral council member is in jail and being processed for crimes

2:39 Relays more of the dictatorship allegations against former members of Morales’ government – this time for alleged corruption

2:50 Says the dictatorship (they don’t refer to it as that of course) is doing a case by case investigation of the “clashes” that took place in Senkata

2:53 Says a police officer killed his own wife and 3 year old child before shooting himself.

3:05 – 5:17 Talks about alleged FARC rebel who has been detained in Bolivia. They alleged he arrived 3 days ago to “instruct people in terrorism”. Reports allegations the Morales political party, MAS, is directly linked to him.

5:17  – 7:38 Continues with more “details” – more uncritical relaying of the “narco terrorism” charges the Áñez dictatorship has leveled at Morales and MAS. The dictatorship’s interior minister, Arturo Murillo, appears again as does the chart depicting Morales and MAS as criminals – “narco  terrorrists” as the dictatorship and its private media clearly prefer.

7:39- 12:45  Now talks about the case of Mario Cronenbold where a judge had recently said he would have to be moved from jail to house arrest.  A former Mayor and supporters of MAS was swept up in the coup (apparently forced to resign by a mob and then police “found” evidence against him). He is accused of armed smuggling and acts of corruption. The judge said there were “abuses” by the mob and police. A prosecutor is then shown saying she and her colleagues are totally against the decision to transfer him to house arrest. A second person is interviewed objecting to the decisions and saying there is ample evidence of corruption against Cronenbold. Then a third person is interviewed expressing similar objections. An Áñez “minister”, Jerjes Justiniano, is then (who was fired the next day shown saying that he was  alawyer of Cronenbold’s and disagrees with his arrest. He feels that in the “ecstasy” of the “fraud” exposure (obviously referring to the November 10 coup against Morales) Cronenbold was illegally singled out. The report goes on to say that his arrest was led by civilians rather than police.

12:46 – 13:46 A segment on local complaints: such matters like required road repairs, traffic jams, burned out street lights.

13:46 – 21:51 Commercial break includes commercials for the local and regional governments of Tarija which support Áñez

21:51 – 23:45  A summary of main stories coming up in the newscast from the department of Tarija. An arrested authority former governor Lino Condori was brought before police. Allies of key coup perpetrator Luis Fernando Camacho told he need not run under the banner of their party. A department level referendum (within Tarija only) is being proposed over how to distribute natural gas revenues.  Audit of court rulings in case of two murdered women advances. Nurses protest against health ministry announcement saying they will certifications to do their jobs.  Police officer who shot himself receiving medical attention in Argentina. Historians want a statue built to commemorate newly discovered heroes in the Battle of Suipacha (from 1810).

23:45 – 30:13 Elaborates on case of Lino Condori, a former governor with MAS, who has been prosecuted for corruption for years. He was alleged to have fled in recent days but turned up to a hearing. He was then released. Various officials interviewed criticizing judge’s decisions to release him. Pre-trial detention is being pursued. Complaints raised the justice system is “biased in favor of MAS” – the party whose government was just overthrown in a coup! Officials are seen demanding changing in the judiciary. Outage that more “pro-MAS” judges have not resigned.

30:13 – 48:29  A very long segment about a battle that took place over 200 years ago. Includes interviews with Bolivians today weighing in on what they think of the historic battle that took pace centuries ago.  Presenter also goes on a long sermon denouncing ignorance about the battle. I guess that’s one way to kill 18 minutes out of a newscast.

48:29 – 51;55 Commercial break

51:55 –  54:55 Jhonny Torres of the MNR party says his support for coup perp Luis Fernando Camacho is unconditional and praises him for “changing the country”. They would not demand that he run in upcoming elections under their banner. Another senator (Fernando Campero)  says they will soon announce who they support. Other lawmaker (Mauricio Lea plaza) highly of Camacho but asks that he watch out for opportunists.

54:55 – 57:08 Senator Mirtha Arce met with opposition lawmakers in Mexico to tell them there was no coup in Bolivia. She says that various Mexican lawmaker asked her to take Evo Morales back with her. She says there a widespread “public rejection” of Morales’ presence in Mexico.  Says that Morlas is being given money that should be used to alleviate hunger in Mexico. Then moves on to saying she wants to make sure the best electoral authorities possible are selected in Bolivia for upcoming elections.

57-07 – 58:16 Health workers object to jobs being subjected to “merit contests” as recently obtained certifications are being revoked by new minister. A Dr. is cut off as he says that “economic sustainability” is a consideration.

58-16 – 1:01:54   Elaborates on a judicial audit of court rulings against two men convicted for murder of two women.

1:01:57 – 1:04:06   Special units are investigating sex crimes. Police officer give s details of the crimes.

1:04:06 – 1:08:03   Commercial break

1:08:03 – 1:09:56 Police officer shot himself and is receiving medical attention in Argentina

1:09:56 – 1:12:14 Report about a proposal for a departmental level referendum to decide how to distribute natural gas revenues. Expresses hope that Mas will emerge weaken from upcoming elections so that “regional autonomy” will prevail. Local official Titoa Gareca is very upbeat saying that “now there is no Evo Morales” to stand in their way.

1:12:14 –1:12:46 Weather report

1:12:46 –1:14:33  Zulma Vidaurre , Vice president of a Civic Committee, says she is opening lawsuits against other Civic Committee officials. This is infighting among opponents of Morales

1:14:33 – 1:16:20 Commercial Break

1:16:20 – 1:17:41 Sports

1:17:41 -1:19:27 Presenter signs off then stories covered in the newscast are quickly reviewed – including the Battle of Suipacha.







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