April 21, 2007

YouTube: Broadcast your crooks

Quico says: Well, we may not have a freedom of information act, or any kind of working oversight institutions...but, thank God, we do have YouTube.

For the non-Spanish speakers, the clip relays a recorded phone conversation between Carlos Romero Anselmi - CEO of the relentlessly propagandistic State TV network, Venezolana de Televisión - and Carlos Bardasano - CEO of private TV network Venevisión. Owned by Venezuela's richest man and erstwhile capo di tutti i oligarchi Gustavo Cisneros, Venevisión mysteriously "switched" its editorial line from hard-core anti-Chávez to increasingly pro-Chávez in 2004.

Since then, we've all assumed there is some kind of implicit understanding between Cisneros and Chavismo, but this clip demonstrates that their collusion goes way beyond "tacit."

In the clip, we hear Venevisión's Bardasano excitedly relaying to VTV's Romero Anselmi the excellent ratings the two networks received during their joint "special operation " (operativo) on election day last December. Romero Anselmi sounds thrilled, and tells Bardasano that "all of my guys are saying that the alliance with Venevisión was fundamental." A bit later, Romero Anselmi asks Bardasano if he got that nice new "red, very red" car he sent to his office. Bardasano confirms and thanks him for the gesture. He then brags about all the flack he's gotten over a glowing profile of Chávez that Venevisión ran on election night, and revels in how much it ticked off the opposition.

All of which adds a bit of context to Chávez's decision to shut down Venevisión's main competitor - RCTV. As well as silencing a key medium for dissent, getting rid of RCTV will bring Venevisión lots of new viewers - and, of course, the advertising revenues that come with them. Two for one, then!

Stomach churning stuff. I wonder if these guys will even bother to deny it...