Political Editors / June 21, 2016

NYT Careful to Avoid the ‘S’ Word in Venezuela Coverage

Talk about burying the lede.

The chaos inflicting poverty-stricken Venezuela is escalating by the day. As headlined by The New York Times over the weekend, “Venezuelans Ransack Stores as Hunger Grips the Nation.” The country is looking increasingly more like a third-world nation, particularly ever since the price of oil — the country’s economic cash cow — began imploding several years ago. After recounting recent food riots, the Times says, “This is precisely the Venezuela its leaders vowed to prevent.” That’s true, but as the ensuing coverage demonstrates, it’s also shortsighted.

As Thomas Lifson at American Thinker observes, the term “Socialism” is inconspicuous in the Times’ coverage: “Yet, oddly enough, in over 1,500 words on the situation, there is no mention whatsoever of socialism as a root cause. Instead, low oil prices are blamed, and the only mention of a word related to socialism was this: ‘[1989 riots in Caracas] seared the memory of a future president, Hugo Chávez, who said the country’s inability to provide for its people, and the state’s repression of the uprising, were the reasons Venezuela needed a socialist revolution.’”

And a “revolution” is exactly what Bernie Sanders wants to bring here. The Times editors are attempting to pin the blame on leaders who just so happen to claim the socialist label while exonerating their ideology — socialism — that’s driving the nation deeper into poverty. The same goes for other countries around the world. The Times is right in that leaders failed to fulfill their promises. But we can’t render an effective treatment if we refuse to accurately diagnose the underlying disease. That’s why a more accurate statement would be: “This is precisely the Venezuela its Socialist leaders vowed to prevent.”

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