"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum." – Noam Chomsky
By Manmeet Sahni
Part 2 - Power of Suggestion
Words are powerful: they suggest, and help shape public opinion. Used the wrong way, they can prove extremely damaging. For instance, while Chavez was in power, Western media frequently described him as a 'quasi-dictator' and 'strongman.'
Jonathan Cook is a senior policy officer with the World Wildlife Fund. He says: "Columnists like the Washington Post's Jackson Diehl and the Miami Herald's Andres Oppenheimer have wielded the sharpest hatchets. Diehl, for instance, labeled pro-Chavez social movements 'anti-democratic' while lauding the anti-Chavez opposition, which used such tactics as distributing false exit poll results during the 2004 referendum.
"Washington's hostility toward the recent changes echoes a wave of earlier suspicion of the likes of Cuba's Castro, Nicaragua's Ortega and Chile's Allende. It also reflects unease at declining U.S. influence in the region.
"The Post's Diehl gripes about Venezuela 'buying the support of' other Latin American governments with subsidized oil, and an April 4 article in the New York Times prods Chavez for 'spending billions of dollars of his country's oil windfall on pet projects abroad.' Nothing is said about Uncle Sam's own long history of handing out carrots and wielding sticks in the region."
Now, words such as 'dictator,' 'extreme' and 'radical' are being deployed by Western media to describe Maduro and other left-wing governments in the region for one reason alone: to stoke fear.