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Home Publications Blogs CEPR Blog BREAKING NEWS: LA Times Accurately Describes Globovision as “Obviously Slanted” With “No Pretense of Impartiality”

BREAKING NEWS: LA Times Accurately Describes Globovision as “Obviously Slanted” With “No Pretense of Impartiality”

Written by Jake Johnston   
Friday, 30 July 2010 13:50
It has been generally standard fare in the media to refer to Venezuela’s Globovision as the “sole opposition-aligned television channel,” as the AP has put it.  Rarely, if ever, is the actual reporting of Globovision put into context, which makes yesterday’s Los Angeles Times article all the more amazing.  Chris Kraul and Mery Mogollon write:
The Caracas-based opposition news and opinion channel's newsreaders and reporters — who make no pretense of impartiality and remain undeterred by harassment and threats of a takeover — regularly blast the president with obviously slanted coverage while giving opposition politicians free and usually unchallenged rein to vent.
The article goes on to mention some of the regular fare that a viewer comes across while watching Globovision. An opposition leader calling for Chavez to be “investigated for treason”, or equating the exhumation of Simon Bolivar last week to witchcraft, and calling it a "pornographic spectacle." Even broadcasting calls to “rise up against the government.” 

While the article is impressive for its accurate description of the bias and slant in Globovision’s coverage, it could be strengthened by adding more historical context, and by pushing back on the myth that it is the “last independent,” or “only opposition” TV station in Venezuela.

During the coup in April 2002 almost all of Venezuela’s private media actively participated in overthrowing the democratically elected Chavez. This included manipulating footage to make it appear as though Chavez supporters were responsible for the killing of innocent civilians, and airing cartoons rather than covering the mass mobilization that brought Chavez back to power. In fact, the day after the coup on the opposition station Venevision, a number of coup supporters appeared, with one explicitly thanking the media, including Globovision and other private stations for their role in overthrowing Chavez.

Globovision is frequently referred to as the last independent television station that is critical of Chavez and, though the LA Times doesn’t state this explicitly, it does leave the reader with the sense that Globovision is the last remaining independent station.  However, there are a number of other independent stations both local and national and these account for a much larger share of the overall market than the country’s state owned television and radio. Nationally there is Venevision and Televen, for example.

Although the Los Angeles Times article is a real breakthrough in the coverage of Venezuelan media, it only scratches the surface of some of the broader issues around the behavior of the private, opposition media in Venezuela

Comments (6)Add Comment
"the last independent TV station"
written by Utpal, August 07, 2010 6:42
Actually, calling Globovision "the only opposition" TV station in Venezuela is probably technically true, exactly in the sense that FOX News can be said to be "the only opposition" TV station in the US when a democrat is in power (presumably there are no "opposition TV stations" in the US when a republican is in power), and in the sense in which the UK can be said to have no "opposition TV stations". It seems that Venevision and Televen no longer count as "independent" TV stations simply because they give roughly equal time to both sides. (Most measures I have seen in preelection coverage class them as slightly slanted in favor of the opposition, VV a little more so than Televen, but both can be said to be roughly "balanced"). In fact, the reporters in both stations are the same ones that worked there in 2002-2003. Televen's morning show "Entre Periodistas" is conducted by reporters who interviews people from both sides of the political divide, either in the same program or alternately; but their own political sympathies are obvious to anyone who sees the show (you have to see them when they interview oppo sympathizers). Televen does carry a weekly show by Jose Vicente Rangel, which is largely pro-govt., but hardly enough to make the entire TV station pro-govt.

There is something else about Globovision, though that is worth mentioning. Most measures of market share I have seen in recent years put Globovision's market share as in decline, in fact, below that of VTV. News/opinion-only channels tend to have lower market share anyway, but GV used to have a ms of about 10-15% a few years, ago, now it is around 7%, below VTV's 8-9%. I suspect this is to some extent because most Vzlan's prefer watching more "balanced" sources (something similar has also been true in the print media: whereas El Universal and El Nacional have lost audience, Ultimas Noticias has gained audience over the last few years for the same reasons). In fact, there have been worries for quite sometime that GV may have problems for simple commercial reasons; it had apparently started alienating even moderate oppo sectors (Reuters actually reported on this point when Alberto Federico Ravell was let go).
written by Utpal, August 07, 2010 6:45
Also, Ravell of GV is claimed to have been the person who organized the media blackout during the coup in a meeting with Carmona and the chiefs of the different TV/radio stations and print media. (Ernesto Villegas' book "Abril: Golpe adentro" has a section on this)
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