[The following post on the Media Lens message board takes issue with the BBC's Venezuela correspondent James Ingham's reporting on last week's proposal by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega that Latin American countries form a joint military force to defend against outside intervention. For the post's author, the BBC "again refers to Chavez with the now obligatory prefix, the 'vehemently anti-US leader'. The effect is to caricature him and predispose people against taking him seriously." The post also argues that "you'd never hear Bush described as a 'vehemently anti-Venezuelan leader', even though the description is far more appropriate in his case." To read James Ingham's BBC article click here.]
BBC bias on Chavez
Media Lens Message Board - https://www.medialens.org/board/
Posted by JamieSW (jsternweiner) on January 28, 2008, 11:58 am
The BBC again refers to Chavez with the now obligatory prefix, the
"vehemently anti-US leader". The effect is to caricature him and
predispose people against taking him seriously.
I think it is legitimate to mention that Chavez has expressed hostility to the U.S. government in the context of a piece about him forming an alliance in opposition to the U.S., but you'd never hear Bush described as a "vehemently anti-Venezuelan leader", even though the description is far more appropriate in his case.
Further, the tone of the BBC piece implicitly portrays this "anti-U.S. alliance" as an aggressive one. For example, it describes Chavez' "fight against capitalism, globalisation and the US."
The one caveat indicating that the "alliance", such as it is, is a defensive one is the following line:
"Despite constant US denials, Mr Chavez is convinced it poses a serious threat to South and Central America."
But this is inadequate, for the reason explained so often on these boards: it presents a claim from Chavez (who has already been discredited as "vehemently anti-U.S.") and then contrasts it with a claim from the U.S. government. But no attempt is made to bring in relevant facts, like the U.S.-sponsored coup against Chavez or the long history of U.S. intervention in the region, that would help the reader to evaluate the respective claims.