The Guardian’s Rory Carroll gets to work on Ecuador

Rory Carroll writes

Some in the government are believed to be annoyed that Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder who has sheltered at Ecuador's London embassy to avoid extradition, has seized the limelight in the Snowden saga.”

The practice of using the anonymous government source is bad enough. Carroll goes lower and gives us unnamed sources whose affiliation is not even stated. Who exactly “believes” this? Opposition media people, opposition politicians, random people Carroll met on the way to Ecuador after he was assigned to “report” on Snowden if he arrived?

Carroll is such a horrible reporter that even when he uses clearly identified sources his reports have been exposed as “quite deceptive” to borrow from the way Chomsky described how Carroll used an interview. There was also the time Carroll completely distorted a Wikileaks document in an attempt to claim foreign oil companies had Hugo Chavez by the throat. Then there was the time Carroll claimed Chavez was going to use the military to overturn electoral victories by opponents. What Chavez actually said was that he would not tolerate coup attempts like the one that temporarily ousted him in 2002.

It is always worth stressing that Rory Carroll alone produced about three quarters of the Guardian’s Venezuela output between 2006-2012.

Carroll also wrote while in Ecuador recently

Juan Carlos Calderon, the editorial of Vanguardia, a weekly which has had its offices raided and staff threatened in disputes with the president, said Correa's firebrand image masked shrewd, pragmatic calculation.”

Here is the other side that dispute, from a New Left Review interview with Correa, which Carroll woud predictably ignore:

NLR: You mentioned the magazine Vanguardia, recently raided by the tax police for failure to comply with labour regulations. Given that this is an organ of opinion, wasn’t there a better way to tackle its offences?

CORREA: But these are not separate things. The media fail to comply with labour regulations because they think they are untouchable. To tell you the truth, I didn’t know about the action against Vanguardia, and neither did the Minister for Labour Relations. The decision was made by a functionary at the ministry. There had already been 3,000 labour inspections, and 300 cases of legal action, and the functionary didn’t see why he had to make an exception for Vanguardia. We seized their property. With the other 300, nothing happened. But because we seized the property of a media company, it became an attack on freedom of expression. We need to overcome this blackmail. It was one more business that did not comply with labour regulations, and the law should apply to all. It’s an attack on the rule of law to think that, because you have a media company, you are above the law.

People may reasonably ask if Correa is using labor or tax law violations as an excuse to fire back at outlets he doesn’t like. However, it is just as reasonable to ask if some private media outlets, which are businesses after all, use the cry of “media crackdown” to get away with ignoring the law, especially when they know international media and NGOs, who employ people like Rory Carroll, will reflexively take their side.

It is extremely easy to find examples of aggressive and high profile criticism of Correa in Ecuador – vastly easier than it should be in a country that ranks 119 out of 179 countries on RSF's "press freedom" index. The examples below are not taken from small underground outlets but from the two largest circulating newspapers in Ecuador. Something is clearly wrong with RSF and its rating. Of course that was made incredibly obvious when RSF praised the 2004 coup in Haiti and the two years of brutal dictatorship that followed as a step forward for press freedom.


A cartoon in El Universo's editorial page yesterday  lampooning Correa.

Another one from two days ago

An op-ed yesterday advising against asylum for Snowden and remarking that Assange's case gave Ecuador worldwide publicly that included informing the world of Ecuador's "persecution of journalists”.

An El Comercio op-ed from two days ago blasting Correa’s supposed "hypocrisy" in offering asylum

The op-ed states "We all know that if Snowden would have done the same thing against Ecuador he would have been thrown in jail".


Leave a comment