Monday, December 17, 2007

As usual, they lie.

Or at least, they are very dishonest.

"They" refers to CanWest Global media, who, in their hysterical search for bogeymen for us to spend the Two Minutes Hate - Canadian Edition (it's Orwell week on the TheProudIslamist) with, were beating the drum two weeks ago about Hugo Chavez's impending victory to become Venezuela's Communist-Dictator-for-Life by "extending his term indefinitely." And they seemed so sure he'd win, because, they assumed, he'd fix the results, or the opposition would hold a principled boycott, and nastiness in Venezuela would triumph over the goodness represented by . . . hmmmm. . . oh right, us.

Here is the article that appeared in the Financial Post, the National Post, other CanWest newspapers, and, apparently, the New Zealand Herald. It is sourced to Reuters.

Now here is the article that appeared in most other publications, including on Reuters website.

This interesting little paragraph appears in the CanWest/New Zealand version, but not anywhere else:

"Fuelled by record oil prices, the economy is booming and consumers are flush with cash. But state controls over prices and currency exchange have distorted the free market, causing periodic shortages of basic goods such as milk and eggs."

Funny that Reuters wouldn't want to publish such an important factual observation. After all, everyone knows that it's morally unjustifiable to "distort the free market." Good thing CanWest picked up the slack to avoid embarrassing the wire service. There are other things published in the CanWest version that don't appear anywhere on the the Reuters website, or in any other reproduction thereof, besides the New Zealand one.

Chavez, by the way, lost the referendum. At which point we stopped hearing too much about the supposed communist dictator sitting threateningly perched atop our Venezuelan oil. Good thing too! Who knows what mayhem would be unleashed if a head of state were to run for re-election as many times as he . . . oh.

Even if Reuters ever published something so conveniently trite, CanWest Global have a mottled history when it comes to playing fast-and-loose with wire stories. There was, for instance, this unsettling episode from 2004 when Associated Press's own editors complained that CWG was renaming all the parties in the Middle East as either US, Israel, or Terrorist.

And who could forget the time the National Post didn't even bother with pretending it was a wire story, but essentially invented a hoax about Iran forcing Jews to wear Nazi-style yellow badges. The report was quickly dispelled by Iranian legislator Maurice Motamed, who is himself Jewish.

So next time you read a wire service story in a CanWest newspaper, assume that it has been played with. Or should I say that the editors have taken the liberty to "edit[] for style...editing so that [they] have clear consistent language to describe what's going on in the world."

It's Orwell week alright.

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