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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 8/5/19

NPR Shreds Ethics Handbook to Normalize Regime Change in Venezuela

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Reprinted from by Lucas Koerner

The Reagan administration in 1982 coerced National Public Radio (NPR) to cover more favorably the US terrorist war then being waged against Nicaragua.

As Greg Grandin writes, Otto Reich, head of the administration's Orwellian propaganda outfit known as the Office of Public Diplomacy, informed the public network that his office had contracted "a special consultant service [to listen] to all NPR programs" on Central America. Dependent on state funding, NPR promptly buckled under pressure, reassigning reporters viewed as "too easy on the Sandinistas," and hiring conservative pundit Linda Chavez to provide "balance."

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NPR (5/30/19) says Juan Guaidó is "recognized by dozens of countries as Venezuela's rightful head of state"-without mentioning that he was unknown to most Venezuelans when he proclaimed himself president.

Today, NPR needs no state coercion to toe Washington's regime change line on Venezuela.

NPR published an exclusive interview on May 30 with Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó, in which the self-proclaimed "interim president" was described as "a fugitive in his own country" confronting "authoritarian President Nicola's Maduro."

The article went on to state that Venezuela "is suffering from hyperinflation, power outages, and chronic shortages of food, medicine and fuel." Strangely absent is any reference to illegal US sanctions, which have played an indisputable role in severely exacerbating the country's crisis to the detriment of ordinary Venezuelans.

Additionally, the exclusion of Chavista voices is likewise endemic to NPR's coverage of Venezuela, in gross violation of the outlet's own ethics handbook.

An abused adjective

When it comes to covering Venezuela's elected Maduro government, it appears that NPR's favorite adjective is "authoritarian."

The public news network has referred to President Nicola's Maduro and his administration as "authoritarian" and/or a "regime" no less than 26 times since December, with no explanation why the Venezuelan government merits an editorialized moniker that ideologically justifies US intervention.

Moreover, when the fact that Maduro was reelected last year is mentioned, it is generally accompanied by a vague reference to "fraud."

Usually no effort is made to elaborate on the fraud allegations-which the opposition never presented substantive public evidence to support-and when additional context is provided, it generally amounts to a reference to NPR's mendacious 2018 election reporting.

At the time, NPR's Phillip Reeves (5/20/18) denied the legitimacy of the vote by claiming, "Nicola's Maduro controls most of the media, the electoral authorities." He ignored the fact that most Venezuelan media is private and pro-opposition, while the National Electoral Council is headed by the same officials who oversaw the opposition's 2015 landslide parliamentary victory.

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NPR's headlined claim of "fraud" (5/21/18) rests heavily on the unsubstantiated assertions of "many independent observers." The 6 million votes received by President Nicola's Maduro are in line with the support found for the government in independent polling.

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FAIR, the national media watch group, has been offering well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship since 1986. We work to invigorate the First Amendment by advocating for greater diversity in the press and by scrutinizing media (more...)

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