Independent media outlets tend to pose alternative viewpoints that conflict with the narratives espoused by mainstream media. But when it comes to Venezuela, whose socialist government is in danger of being overthrown, they are parroting the mainstream line or ignoring the issue altogether.
by Whitney Webb
Part 3 - Zero Hedge’s flawed coverage of Venezuela
Despite the clear similarities between Venezuela and other victims or would-be victims of U.S. regime change, some alternative media sites refuse to even report on the U.S.’ role in destabilizing Venezuela, instead blaming “socialism” for all of the country’s ills. This, incidentally, is the very same pro-regime change stance taken by U.S. mainstream media and the U.S. government.
One consistent example is Zero Hedge, a respected news aggregation site in alternative media with a focus on finance and libertarian politics. Though Zero Hedge has never hesitated to point out U.S. regime change meddling in countries like Syria, Ukraine, Libya, Honduras and others, it flat out denies the other forces that have clearly had a significant role in shaping Venezuela’s current crisis.
Zero Hedge is often accurate in its analysis of why certain economic crises have begun, yet it claims that the problems of Venezuela’s oil sector are due to “mismanagement, a lack of investment and re-nationalization of foreign oil companies,” without mention of the artificial manipulation of oil prices that Zero Hedge has acknowledged was carried out covertly by the U.S. and the Saudis for geopolitical reasons.
This assessment suggests that Venezuela’s economic problems, with relation to the economy’s main driver (oil), are the sole fault of the Chavista government. While these factors have certainly played a role, the drastic decline in oil prices cannot be ignored in good conscience.
However, Zero Hedge has done just that, blaming all of Venezuela’s problems on its embrace of socialism and ignoring other factors that could debunk the “failed socialist state” narrative. It has even scoffed at the idea that the U.S. would orchestrate a coup against Maduro, despite the fact that the U.S. has targeted the Chavista government in the past, most notably in 2002.
In addition, one of Zero Hedge’s most recent articles on Venezuela began with the following: “Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has made it clear: Nothing short of the invasion threatened by President Donald Trump will stop him from holding a vote on a new constituent assembly that will officially replace the country’s legislature and likely allow the embattled president to rewrite the country’s Constitution, cementing his grip on power.”
This assessment, however, is inaccurate and buys into the depiction of Maduro as a “power hungry” president “cementing his grip on power” at all costs. Maduro is actually authorized by Venezuela’s current constitution to call for a National Constituent Assembly. On the other hand, the assembly would not replace the opposition-controlled legislature, as it is tasked solely with authoring a national constitution. This claim comes exclusively from the Venezuelan opposition, who are so opposed to the Assembly that they refused to participate in it, allowing Western media to suggest that only the ruling Chavista party would “hand-pick” the assembly’s membership.