November 14, 2007

Just a matter of opinion

Katy says: Yesterday, crackpot Chavista lawmaker Iris Varela threatened to take over private TV station Globovisión. Her complaint is that the station is "conspiring" against the revolution, more or less. No specifics were given.

I've come down hard on Globovisión before. I believe, as I have for a while, that Globovisión's pro-opposition editorial line is damaging to our side because it borders on media manipulation and it does nothing to convince swing voters.

However, Ms. Varela's complaint this time around rings demential, to put it lightly. While Globovisión's coverage is surely biased, the channel is continually used by pro-Chavez figures to broadcast their points of view, something that cannot be said of state TV station VTV.

One of the interesting things I receive in my inbox every day is a summary of all the morning's opinion programs. It lists the guests and what they talked about, and it gives you a glimpse of the type of "balance" Ms. Varela has in mind when calling for "the people" (i.e. chavistas) to take over a private TV station so that it stops conspiring (i.e. airing different points of view).

What follows is a guest-list from morning shows in Globovisión and VTV that have aired in the past three weeks.

Chavista guests on Globovision morning opinion programs included chavistas like Saúl Ortega, Sandra Oblitas, Elvis Amoroso, Alberto Castellar, Robert Serra, Juan José Molina (several times) and Aurora Morales, among others. Their point of view is certainly biased toward the opposition, but I was surprised to see how many chavistas usually go to Globovisión to air their views.

On the other hand, the guest-list on VTV's programs was made up of Luis Bilbao, Jorge Alvarado (Bolivian Ambassador to Venezuela), Vladimir Acosta, Jose Manuel Iglesias (Avila TV), Nestor Lopez (Avila TV), Darío Vivas, Erika Farías, Tibisay Lucena, Jessica Blanco, Cristóbal Jiménez, Andreína Tarazón, Osly Hernández, Rony Prieto, Diosdado Cabello, Carlos Acosta Pérez, José Agustín Campos, José Julián Villalba, Luis Acuña, Zenayda Tahhán, Rafael Isea, Patricia Villegas, Diana Gómez, Hugo Oramas and Jesse Chacón.

If you're wondering what this last list of people have in common, your first guess is right: they are all chavistas. Opposition points of view have been completely been absent from VTV's airwaves in the past three weeks. Let me repeat that: VTV has not aired a single opposition point of view in its morning shows in the past three weeks.

When faced with evidence like this, a blogger is tempted to end the post with a coherent argument about how Ms. Varela needs to look at state-funded VTV and make sure its programming is fair and balanced before complaining about allegedly biased coverage of a privately-owned TV station. But that would be too rational for these people, whose idea of a debate typically involves foaming at the mouth and long firearms.

So I'll lower myself to their level just this once and simply say: Hugo, put your ho on a leash!