Several readers were ticked off at this morning's Venezuela report on NPR. I want to look closer at this report because I found it interesting for how incredibly hard Inskeep worked to get Forero to spin the story to the right, and how - to my surprise - Forero resisted, and actually seemed to try to do a decent job. Readers of this blog know I'm no fan of Forero, but consider the interchange:
Inskeep: "This is May Day, International Workers Day, not a huge holiday in the United States, but a big one in socialist countries."
(Spoken like a wannabe Fox in NPR clothing!)
Forero: "...nationalization, not a seizing of property, but rather the state exerting control over it resources...multinationals that came here years ago...lured by what was considered very low royalty rates, virtually no taxes....Chavez has seen these companies rack up record profits...Venezuela should get a bigger and bigger piece of the pie. In this way he’s not all that different from Putin and...or from other governments around the world..."
(I think Forero is actually trying to normalize the actions of Venezuela and put it in the context of the predatory practices of the multinationals. Now watch where Inskeep tries to take it.)
Inskeep: "...the oil companies get to stay...they are essentially put on notice they could be kicked out at any time, is that right?" (Well Steve, if you are a tool of the oil companies that's right.)
Forero: "Well, they’re not really..." He then points out that they are taking 60% controlling interest in oil projects.
Inskeep: "Could any of this affect the oil supply to the United States?" (Inskeep plays the fear card.)
Forero: "Chavez blames the US for trying to oust him in a coup a few years back..." (This is the worst part of Forero's report. It's not just a matter of "blame;" the US did back the coup-and the mainstream press in the US too). Then Forero makes a great point, "Venezuela is interested in sowing the oil, as they call it here, and so what they want to do is spend it on social programs: literacy programs, health care, and so on..." (He reports this as a decent, reasonable goal, and then Inskeep - like Dick Cheney's wooden dummy - comes back with what follows).
Inskeep: "Could some of this money be used to spread Venezuela’s power through the region and effectively cause trouble for the United States. " (Unbelievable. Even Forero can't go there and points out that Inskeep's position is the Bush viewpoint.)