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AP's One-Sided Venezuela Coverage – Gift Wrapped

AP's One-Sided Venezuela Coverage - (Printer-Friendly For Your Local Editor)

Al Giordano
The Narco News Bulletin

December 18, 2002
Please Distribute Widely

Has the news from Venezuela in your local newspaper, radio or TV newscasts left you with any better understanding of the conflict there today than you had 16 days ago?

If the answer is "no," the blame squarely lies with AP - the Associated Press. And today we give you the tools to help do something about it.

The 5,000 U.S. radio and television stations and the 1,700 U.S. newspapers who use AP's reports - joined by 8,500 newspaper, radio and television in 121 countries overseas that repeat them - have left the citizens of the United States and other countries with a false view of a "General Strike" that has neither been general nor a strike.

Narco News Associate Publisher Dan Feder reports:

"The constant 'ratcheting up' of the conflict – the 'strike' is always portrayed as bigger, better, growing, escalating, getting more tense, etcetera – is a tired technique of yellow journalism, and has historic motives in the goal of selling newspapers. But specific to the Venezuela conflict, this spin has a dangerous echo in the remarks of one side of the conflict: the Venezuelan opposition, United States officials, and 'mediator' Cesar Gaviria, who also keep shouting that the situation is 'escalating' when the only thing that escalates about these 'strikers' is their own rhetoric."

Feder continues:

"Announcements that the opposition is 'growing' – whether made by its own leaders or foreign interests, usually correspond to increasing desperation among the leaders rather than any increase in public support for the strike: While the opposition movement doubles in size and strength every day in the fantasy world created for AP correspondents, in the real world stores are now open again, the government has removed the disruptive management of the state oil company, and other Latin American nations have now put the brakes on U.S. efforts to make the Organization of American States the mechanism for foreign intervention..."

You can read Dan Feder's detailed report at:

Narco News today also announces the addition of "printer friendly" versions of each new story.

In the case of today's report, we invite you to print this story onto paper, using this link:

Wrap it up in ribbons, bows, and candycanes, and deliver it as a holiday gift to your local newspaper editor, or radio or TV news director, with your own letter about why those media outlets can not and should not trust or use AP's coverage from Venezuela.

Include a bottle of your editor's favorite holiday cheer, if you like (you'll be surprised how many accept the bribe appreciatively, and pay more attention to your attached letter as a result!): Because the truth will be hard enough for him and her to swallow without a fifth of Jack Daniels to make the medicine go down.

Kind readers, here's why: Associated Press (AP) is a "non-profit" company run by the AP Managing Editors Association; your local managing editor or news director is technically the boss, and therefore responsible for the errors and distortions of fact that have plagued AP's coverage from Venezuela and other lands.

But there's zero accountability at AP. "The AP is unaccountable to its millions of readers," notes Feder. "Unlike at many newspapers, there is no AP ombudsman who 'speaks for the readers.' There is no letters page for the AP, and individual newspapers rarely print letters responding to wire stories."

And it's only going to stop when your local managing editors and news directors find the backbone to send inaccurate stories back to AP - like they would with one of their own reporters - and insist on a rewrite.

Once your holiday basket of cheer featuring this printer-friendly report is delivered to your local newsroom, follow up by calling the managing editor or news director and engaging them on the issues raised by this report.

As ocurred during last April's coup d'etat in Venezuela - when AP falsely reported that President Hugo Chávez had "resigned" when he had, in fact, been kidnapped at gunpoint - this American country of 24 million people has been the focal point of AP coverage that is so distorted that, once engaged, no honest editor will be able to defend it.

After all, kind readers, you, and probably they, have been spoon-fed the same false story for 16 days, that a "national strike" that "grows" is going to lead to the fall of a democratically elected president. But after the holidays, our prediction is that Hugo Chávez will still be president and The Strike that Wasn't never had the force, nor popular support, that AP has claimed.

Do your local editor and news director a favor: Educate him and her to the true facts before he and she look even more foolish when Venezuela's democratically elected government survives the second coup attempt in a year.

Feder's report is the first in a series through which Narco News now begins to name the names of the professional simulators; these foreign correspondents - like AP simulator poster girl Alexandra Olson, featured in today's report - in Latin America who sit at their desks, get too cozy with the elites and their spin-doctors, and "phone it in" after doing less hard news reporting than your local school board correspondent!

The AP Latin American correspondents no longer report the news; they administer it, in a biased and dangerously untrue fashion.

If the AP Managing Editor's Association won't solve this problem, then Civil Society will.

from somewhere in a country called América,

Al Giordano
The Narco News Bulletin

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