Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Venezuela and Honduras in Media

At NACLA, there is a petition to have the New York Times rethink its language toward Venezuela and Honduras. For the former, it employs language of authoritarianism, while the latter is free of it.

We urge you to examine this disparity in coverage and language use, particularly as it may appear to your readers to track all too closely the U.S. government’s positions regarding the Honduran government (which it supports) and the Venezuelan government (which it opposes)—precisely the syndrome you describe and warn against in your column.

I am sympathetic, but slightly confused. I am not sure if they mean it--and I tend to doubt they do--but the impression I end up getting from the petition is that they want the Times to characterize the leadership of both countries in the same manner. If that is the case, then since they characterize Honduras as murderous, then they want both countries to be characterized as authoritarian or at least authoritarianish. They want to end the disparity, and clearly don't want Honduras to be labeled as democratic.

It seems instead they should be asking the Times to flip the disparity in the opposite direction, but for some reason they don't ask that.


Justin Delacour 5:58 PM  

I agree that the argument was a bit confusing. A clearer argument would be to say that the Times' level of repetition of charges of authoritarianism (in whichever country) should be in proportion to what the evidence on the ground actually demonstrates. It would be clearer to simply say that the frequency of such charges against Venezuela are disproportionately high and that the frequency of such charges against Honduras are disproportionately low.

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