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Friday, February 28, 2014

[haw-info] FW: NYT Venezuela: It's (Judy) Miller Time!

At the suggestion of several members of the HAW Steering Committee, we are passing along the following message from Robert Naiman of the organization Just Foreign Policy (naiman@justforeignpolicy.org).

Do remember when the New York Times helped start the disastrous Iraq war by letting its reporter Judy Miller act as a front page mouthpiece for Bush Administration scare stories about Iraq WMD without doing any fact-checking?

Now the Times using the same standard of care with its reporting on protests in Venezuela, with food reporter William Neuman playing the Judy Miller role.

We've been in communication with Times editors about their false reporting on Venezuela. But so far, they're blowing us off, refusing to correct the record - just like they blew off people who complained about Judy Miller's reporting on purported evidence of Iraq WMD.

I've been involved with similar fights with the New York Times several times, and my experience is that pressure is often necessary and that pressure can work. We've gotten the Times to run corrections before by piling on sufficient pressure. 
More than 5000 people have signed our petition to the New York Times at MoveOn since we put it up yesterday. Can you help us make this 10,000, by signing and sharing our petition? You can find the petition here:


When you sign our petition, it's automatically delivered to the New York Times. When you tweet our petition from the MoveOn page, it's automatically tweeted to the New York Times. 

Below find the alert that we sent out yesterday. Thanks for all you do - Robert Naiman


Dear Robert,
In the lead paragraph of a recent article on protests in Venezuela, the New York Times reported:
"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."

Clearly, the New York Times was telling readers not only that the television station in question isn't as tough on the government as it used to be, but that there are no other television stations in Venezuela that “regularly broadcast voices critical of the government.”

Here’s the thing: ijust ain’t so.

Evidence demonstrating that voices critical of the government are regularly broadcast on Venezuelan television is a matter of public record. The New York Times should run a correction of its false report. Urge New York Times editors to run a correction by signing our petition.

On February 24, Center for Economic and Policy Research Co-director (and Just Foreign Policyboard president) Mark Weisbrot noted [2] that data on television coverage during last year's presidential campaign published by the Carter Center [3] indicated that the two candidates were fairly evenly represented.

Weisbrot also noted that there are plenty of examples in the recent coverage of Venevisión, the biggest broadcast television station, where “voices critical of the government” have been “regularly broadcast.” In particular, there was an interview on Venevisión news with Tomás Guanipa, leader of the opposition Primero Justicia (Justice First) party and a representative in the National Assembly, who defended the protests. [4]

Weisbrot also noted that Globovisión, the station that the Times report complained had “softened its news coverage,” recently broadcast a long interview with opposition leader María Corina Machado in which she argued that the opposition has the right to overthrow the democratically elected government. [5]

Given the current situation in Venezuela, falsely claiming that mass media are closed to critics of the government is a dangerous mistake, similar to reporting that "we know that Iran is building a nuclear weapon." The false claim about Venezuela emboldens the fraction of the opposition—and its supporters abroad—that is advocating the use of violence to oppose the government.

Urge the New York Times to fulfill its responsibility to publish a correction to its false report.

Thanks for all you do to help hold the New York Times to account,

Robert Naiman, Chelsea Mozen, and Megan Iorio
Just Foreign Policy

1. "Protests Swell in Venezuela as Places to Rally Disappear," William Neuman, New York Times, February 20, 2014, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/21/world/americas/protests-swell-in-venezuela-as-places-to-rally-disappear.html
2. "Does Venezuelan Television Provide Coverage That Opposes the Government?" Mark Weisbrot, Center for Economic and Policy Research, February 24, 2014,http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/the-americas-blog/does-venezuelan-television-provide-coverage-that-opposes-the-government
3. "Carter Center Issues Report on Venezuela Election," July 3, 2013http://www.cartercenter.org/news/pr/venezuela-070313.html 
4. “Entrevista Venevisión: Tomás Guanipa, secretario general de Primero Justicia,” Venevisión, February 20, 2014, http://www.noticierovenevision.net/politica/2014/febrero/20/89967=entrevista-venevision-tomas-guanipa,-secretario-general-de-primero-justicia

5. “María Corina Machado: El pueblo ha salido a la calle a expresar su derecho a la justicia,” Globovisión, February 17, 2014, http://globovision.com/articulo/maria-corina-machado-ofrecera-detalles-sobre-convocatoria-para-este-martes


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