As a careful examination of the language and coverage of nearly four years of New York Times articles reveals, concern for freedom and democracy in Latin America has not been an honest concern for the liberal media institution.
The New York Times reinforces attitudes that Latin American politics can be little more than a primitive charade, starring authoritarian leaders and a hoodwinked public, punctuated by laughable distractions. Thankfully—at least within the paper's coverage—this "political theater of the absurd" isn’t commonplace here at home.
The media's behavior in the lead-up to Venezuela’s elections has been overwhelmingly disgraceful. The Hall of Shame that follows is a sampling of some of the most typical distortions, gratuitous slurs, and incorrect predictions that readers have been exposed to over the past few weeks.
The mainstream media have falsely portrayed the exploration of the neoliberal charter cities idea—privately owned municipalities dedicated to producing exports—as if a sovereign, democratic government were undertaking the project with the consent of the population.
When Ecuador granted asylum to Australian journalist Julian Assange in mid-August, and then, two weeks later, the United States provided asylum to Ecuadorian journalist Emilio Palacio, the two cases threw the hypocrisy of the establishment press into stark relief.
A new report on the U.S. role in a lethal raid that killed four civilians in Honduras has received zero coverage in the corporate media. At the very least, in light of new eyewitness testimony, news organizations should revisit the thoroughly accepted view that U.S. forces played only a support role in the May 11 raid.
Geographer and author Jared Diamond seems oblivious to the corrosive role of outside interference in modern Haitian history. In his recent op-ed in The New York Times, Diamond focuses on Haiti’s supposed cultural defects as an explanation for its lack of development, rather than the crimes of foreign powers.
The New York Times recently published concerns over Venezuela’s entry to Mercosur, Latin America's largest trade bloc. Mercosur purportedly “sets a terrible example for the region” by allowing in a country with “precarious protection of democratic rights,” according to those quoted by the Times. In contrast, the newspaper uses no space in its article to explain the background behind the antidemocratic ouster of Paraguay's president, Fernando Lugo, a reason behind Mercosur's inclusion of Venezuela.
A New York Times article indicates an outsized role of U.S. forces in Honduras, but does not utilize relevant information from previous reports; progressive news and commentary highlight the alarming decline of Honduran sovereignty.
A June 20 blog post by Harvey Morris, featured on the website of The New York Times, pointedly asks in its headline, “Asylum for Assange: What’s in It for Ecuador?” Writing for the paper of record, Morris understandably looks at Ecuador's policy considerations through the lens of that government’s own self-interest. But the Times selectively applies this kind of examination.