February 27, 2014
Kudos to the New York Times for correcting its error regarding TV media in Venezuela. I had written about this error here on Monday (Feb 24). It was an important mistake–the Times had led its Friday report with this statement:
“The only television station that regularly broadcast voices critical of the government was sold last year and the new owners have softened its news coverage.”
The Times’ correction reads:
Correction: February 26, 2014
An earlier version of this article referred imprecisely to Globovision. Before its sale last year, it broadcast more voices critical of the Venezuelan government than any other TV station, but it was not the only one to regularly feature government critics.
It sure wasn’t, and it still isn’t during the current protests, as documented here. This is important because the opposition leadership is trying to say that they are living under a dictatorship, and they are justifying their demands for the overthrow of a democratically elected government on this basis.
Many other news outlets have made the same error in reporting on the TV media in Venezuela. Hopefully they will be more accurate in the future.
Many thanks to Robert Naiman of Just Foreign Policy and the nearly 13,000 people who quickly signed a petition to the New York Times asking for this correction.
People often ask what they can do to change U.S. foreign policy, and one important thing that almost anyone with an internet connection can do is hold the media accountable for these kinds of misrepresentations. On the one hand, the mass media can play a huge role in legitimating terrible crimes, as in the run-up to the Iraq War, which cost more than a million lives and probably wouldn’t have happened if the media had done its job. On the other hand, there are thousands of reporters and editors who are trying to do their job and adhere to basic journalistic standards of accuracy and balance. Readers and listeners can help them do this.
Now, what about the Committee to Protect Journalists? Their statement was more outrageously false than the one corrected by the Times: “Nearly all TV stations in Venezuela are either controlled or allied with the government of Nicolás Maduro and have ignored the nationwide protests.”
Will they correct it? Ask them.