It's always a nice day behind the keyboard when you're implicated in a transnational conspiracy. Yesterday, Julio Makarem and Ricardo Valbuena - of North American Opinion Research (in)fame(y), published a rambling, menacing, two page ad in Ultimas Noticias and El Nacional denouncing Alek Boyd and Gustavo Coronel (plus assorted hangers on) of all kinds of nasty things for reporting on their shoddy, shoddy operation.
As self-justification, the ad is counterproductive enough to make you weep: crammed full of chavista buzzwords and rhetorical flourishes ("parlamentarismo de calle," the "illusion of democracy under puntofijismo," etc. etc.) and flouting their official connections (by demanding a parliamentary investigation and a personal meeting with Chavez) Makarem and Valbuena do a much better job than their critics ever could at proving what we've been saying all along: that they're dyed-in-the-wool chavistas.
As intimidation, the ad is more than hopeless. Whether you love his writing or hate it (or, as I do, both) - one thing is clear: you won't get Alek off your back with this kind of shenanigan. Having earned a permanent spot on his shit list, Makarem and Valbuena can now look forward to years of further research published on VCrisis. Same goes for Gustavo...
Public relations management doesn't get much more self-defeating than this. Makarem and Valbuena work off the maxim that if you get stung by a wasp, you get a club, follow it back to its nest, and whack it. Breathing new life into a story that would have died of disinterest all by itself, they get half of Noticiero Digital up in arms about it, major gringo blogs noting it, and, of course, many more journalists aware of the story.
Thanks, guys! When it comes to discrediting your own "polling" y'all are way more effective than the oppo's English-language blogosphere...
My, my. For sure the funnest thing to come out of this absurd little hubbub is this piece in Miami's El Nuevo Herald, where Gerardo Reyes checks out the address NAOR lists as its main office in the States, only to be met with blank stares by the office workers there. Hillarity ensues when Carlos Sanchez, NAOR's chief hack back in Caracas, shrugs the whole thing off, saying he only deals with the Latin American "side" of the business (as though there were another "side") and so can't comment on the fact that his company's headquarters doesn't exist. (For the Spanish readers out there, Reyes's piece really is required reading.)
NAOR's hackistry really is appalling, but sometimes I almost feel for them. Maybe these guys are just really unlucky - starting with the fact that they picked that name for a pro-Chavez mystery-pollster just before El Supremo recast his entire rhetorical arsenal around a denunciation of all things North American. Man! That's just bad luck.
Bad, however, doesn't even begin to describe the web-design NAOR hired to skirt the charge that they didn't even have a damn website. Registered just over a month ago, NAOR's new website just about makes your eyes bleed in the process of transmitting virtually no information. That awful, awful beeping! Plus, just to add to the already thick web of their government connections, they hired the same web-designer behind National Assembly TV. Dig dig, dig dig...
There are any number of angles you could take on this little saga. I should probably excorciate Alek for undermining the credibility of his own research by weighing it down with random insults and deliciously juicy but rumor-based little morsels that, even if true, he probably can't prove. (Why speculate when you have them by the cojones?!) I could follow up on the UCV social scientists tracking NAOR's activities. I might decry the fact that it is these unpollsters that Jorge Rodriguez cites to prove that no, really, the country really does trust him, or track down some more material on Makarem clan's assorted other business ventures.
For now, though, I'll just bask in NAOR's total credibility self-destruct.