Barbara Walters Drops Another "Infotainment" Bomb

Por Venezuela Real - 20 de Marzo, 2007, 10:59, Categoría: Imagen gobierno / Chávez

Es un término que se le invento a Walters hace ya algun tiempo... Una combinacion entre: " Info": de noticias e información y "Entertainment": de entretenimiento.
"Info-tainment", hace burla al tipo de periodismo que esta mujer realiza, y se refiere a la falta de seriedad y de analisis de sus entrevistas.

Maritza Agena
March 2007

During an interview with Venezuela 's Hugo Chavez, and even more so, during her short commentary before airing the interview on Friday, March 16, 2007 on ABC's "20/20", Barbara Walters fully displayed not only her well known disgraceful approach to journalism, but also her absolute lack of knowledge about the Venezuelan situation.

Mrs. Walters had the opportunity to interview one of the most controversial political leaders in the world, and what seemed to impress her most was that Chavez wore a navy blue suit (instead of his trademark red shirt), that he drinks 26 cups of coffee a day, and that he sang to her. I wonder, had she decided to ask Hugo Chavez if he was planning to re-marry before or after the President serenaded her.

Mrs. Walters was equally impressed that Chavez is selling cheap oil to the "poor" of the United States of America, as she said herself, "it could be PR, but oil is oil… and that is good news". How sad that Mrs. Walters is no different than all those from whom Chavez has bought political support thanks to Venezuela's petrodollars.

Mrs. Walters ignores that she embodies everything Hugo Chavez is destroying in Venezuela. She is what in Venezuela would be considered by the revolution, a member of an "elite" group that has to be destroyed to bring about "social justice." On top of which, is the fact that she is a "journalist". Given her pandering to Chavez, I suspect Mrs. Walters, has not taken the time to read the numerous reports written not only by international human rights organizations, but also by the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) and the U.S. State Department's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.

Those documents describe in detail how Venezuelan journalists are the victims of political persecution – to the extent that many have been physically abused or even assassinated in the line of duty. They also make reference to the presidential actions that have contributed to the deplorable lack of freedom of expression in Venezuela, such as the amendment to Venezuela 's country's penal code that has broadened the law against insulting government officials and a "content-regulating" law on "social responsibility in radio and television". A law created with the sole purpose of extending media censorship.

My conclusion after listening to Mrs. Walters is that we would be wasting our time trying to explain to her why Chavez's power to govern by decree is anti-democratic and how it reflects the absolute lack of independence of the Venezuelan legislative and judicial institutions. She would probably want to know how many single Venezuelan Congressmen there are and if they drink as much coffee as President Chavez.

Even more absurd, would be to try to explain to her why populists and dictators destroy a country's economy and liberties and with them, all prospects of foreign investment, sustainable growth, commercial competitiveness, political stability and ultimately economic development.

Had we tried to explain to Mrs. Walters that Chavez has spent indiscriminately Venezuela's oil revenue on domestic and international political propaganda and that now he wants to put his hands on the Central Bank's international reserves for the same purpose, may have most likely resulted in Mrs. Walters arranging an interview with the president of the Venezuelan Central Bank to ask him what kind of tree he would like to be, as she did with Katherine Hepburn in the past.

In my opinion, the only chance, slim if any, that we have to get to Mrs. Walters, is by talking to her about a topic to which, at least in theory, she should be sensitive as a "journalist". Something she should be able to understand.

Let's give Mrs. Walters some guidance as to what to research post interview. Of course, it would have been wiser to have done the homework before going to Caracas:

    * Hugo Chavez's announcement to revoke the broadcasting concession of one of Venezuela's longest running TV networks?
    * Amendment to the penal code that exposes Venezuelan citizens to months of imprisonment if they express disapproval of their government officials.
    * It may also be helpful to investigate why Venezuelan TV broadcasting networks cannot transmit live and why they require a permit granted by the government.
    * Read some of the reports written by international groups that advocate for freedom of expression.

Probably, most of you caught the fact that Hugo Chavez tried, very elegantly, to disentangle himself from a person he once called "his brother", former dictator Saddam Hussein. I think this should be enough warning for all those who may believe Chavez is a man of his word and someone who will stand up for them when the time comes, and it will come!

To finish, I would like to reflect on what Chavez said at some point between taking the cold cup of coffee from Mrs. Walters and saying he shares Martin Luther King's dream. Chavez said were he able to run, he would be elected President of the U.S.A. There is no way that a person who led an attempted coup d'etat, a felon, could ever run for President in the United States of America. Thankfully, were this to come to pass, the balance of power between the three branches of government and our deep rooted rule of law would not allow a dictator like Chavez to remain in power.

Barbara thank you, info-tainer as always!

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