Take physic, pomp

Disassociated Press

Sombrero tip to the magnificent Mexfiles.

Your humble correspondent has plainly stated on many occasions that the English speaking media covering Latin America provide a woeful service. The coverage is biased, the message doesn’t reflect reality down this way, the etc ad infinitum. But you guys up there go “Hmmm, Otto…just your opinion isn’t it?” and insist on crummy things like ‘evidence’ and ‘proof’ and stuff. So check out this post from Cowboy in Caracas that has the Disassociated Press’s reporter in Venezuela omitting the whole pro-Chávez argument in a recent political issue because he himself..the reporter..didn’t believe what the President of his host country was saying.

Here’s how the post begins and I heartily recommend that you click through because CIC makes a solid, reasoned and sober argument (unlike the normal rants you suffer through at IKN).

On August 5, Chávez held a special news conference with the international press that lasted several hours. He presented evidence that the rockets were among five that were stolen from the Venezuelan armed forces on February 25, 1995, when a military base was attacked by Colombian guerillas. This was four years before he became president.

In an Associated Press article with the byline of Christopher Toothaker published on the Internet on August 9, mention is made of Colombia’s accusation and that Sweden confirmed the sale of the weapons to Venezuela. (That happened in the late 80s). It also said that, “Chávez denies aiding the FARC.” But the article did not say anything about the weapons being among those taken in 1995.

So I called Mr. Toothaker to ask why he omitted that. He replied that he didn’t “believe” that they were the weapons that were stolen. He added that Chávez said the weapons involved were taken by the ELN, (the National Liberation Army in Colombia). That was pretty much all of our conversation.

Afterwards I was thinking that maybe the weapons that the Colombia government retrieved were taken from the ELN and not the FARC. It is difficult for me to trust anything coming from the Colombian government. I thought about calling Mr. Toothaker again to ask about that possibility, but decided not to do so because I felt I would just receive another of his beliefs.

I, too, have beliefs and I often express them in my writing. But I write commentaries. The Associated Press is supposed to present facts in their news stories, not beliefs. Unless, that is, it is a religion and its readers are supposed to accept whatever it says as an act of faith. The fact that Chávez called a special press conference to explain the source of those rockets seems to me to be a rather important fact that should have had a place in Mr. Toothaker’s article.


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