Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Contains strong language

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  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    Maybe it's just me, but Cuba looked pretty ruined before Castro got anywhere near it, unless you were a Mob stooge or part of the dictatorship's apparatus.

    Indeed - Cuba ain't perfect but then you compare it with it's regional neighbours - Haiti, Honduras, the Dominican Republic - it starts to look pretty good.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 902 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    <quote>I don't like Chavez much either but I wonder why all the attention is given to him when Columbia's much nastier boss man enjoys the Bush arm around the shoulder.<quote>

    Wonder no more.

    There are no good sides in the Colombian conflict, just the most popular bad guy. But Chavez has troops attack peaceful protests with teargas and rubber bullets, so it is a very easy call as to who are the good guys - hint: not Chavez.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    There are no good sides in the Colombian conflict, just the most popular bad guy

    Ahhhh...the good right wing death squads.....not the first time the USA has found those in Latin America....our death squads are better than your death squads

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3209 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    it is a very easy call as to who are the good guys . . .

    Best you don't ruin a good bedtime story by following up on the BoingBoing link provided in Russell's piece.
    Hint - informative, messy & complex.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3595 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    our death squads are better than your death squads

    Yes, the great charm of Venezuela is there are no death squads, just Chavez smashing the press & beating up peaceful protesters in the street - so marvellously free of ambiguity.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    Mrs. Thatcher effectively shut down the independent Thames TV by refusing to renew there license.

    The licensing process was in the hands of the Independent Broadcasting Authority, not the Government. This story is a media myth with no evidence to support it.

    In any case, what of it? In what way could it be relevant even if it were true? The fact is that Chavez is closing down a TV station which disagrees with him. Rather than protest against this censorship and oppression, people of the left are rushing to find excuses for him. Nothing new there, of course: we have been ignoring Castro's oppression of his critics for years.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    __pointing out, among other things, that the station urged the violent overthrow of an elected government in 2002),__

    And the evidence? And if this were true why wasn't the station shut down then rather than now?

    Chavez has now turned his attention on another independent media voice. Of course Chavez and his apologists are alleging much the same sort of thing.

    I don't claim to be an expert, I don't like Chavez and I'm astonished at the way the likes of Matt Robson cheerlead for him, but there seems to be quite a lot of evidence that RCTV abetted the overthrow of a legitimately elected government. And then, when the government was restored 48 hours later, RCTV refused to report the news, rather undermining its journalistic claims.

    I don't think what happened in 2002 is a matter of clearly identifiable good and bad guys.

    FAIR has a backgrounder.

    And the BBC screened a documentary made by some young Irish film-makers who got caught up in it:

    When a coup was launched in April 2002 against Hugo Chavez, the elected President of Venezuela, some young Irish filmmakers were lucky enough to be on hand to witness the events.

    They were actually inside the Presidential Palace - a filmmakers' dream - when the soldiers came to take Chavez away. But they were also there 48 hours later when the same soldiers switched sides reinstalling the president.

    The result is a brilliant piece of journalism but it is also an astonishing portrait of the balance of forces in Venezuela. On one side stand the Versace wearing classes, rich from many decades of oil revenues, and on the other the poor in their barrios and those within the armed forces who support Chavez.

    The media, who ought to be merely reporting the conflict splitting the country down the middle, are in fact adjuncts of the coup-makers.

    Watch this film and you may truly for the first time in your life understand the term media bias.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    It's clear from today's Public Address that while David Slack has realised that television news is actually a communal ritual celebrating shared mores - like medieval morality plays - Russell still clings to the outdated notion that because it is called news, it is news.

    The sooner you accept that its function is emotional and its information content a happy accident, the more at peace you will be.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2972 posts Report Reply

  • James Bremner,

    For all those under the misapprehension that Cuba was a mess before Castro came along, the following article will put you right ...

    http://www.hispanicbusiness.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=6082

    And really, please, Cuba's free healthcare, blah blah blah. If you want to get a flavor for what hospitals are really like for Cubans (as opposed to Fidel and his henchmen), follow this link... Make sure you scroll down to see all the photos (don't look at this if you are having lunch, it is not pretty)

    http://www.therealcuba.com/Page10.htm

    If Cuba under Castro is so great, why have so many people over the decades risked death to get away? I think Cuba is now the second poorest country in Latin America, presumably after Haiti. Pre Castro it was one of the richer Latin countries.

    And to read about how successful Uribe has been in Colombia, follow this link... Amazing stuff, Uribe has really turned Colombia around.

    http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/07_22/b4036001.htm?campaign_id=nws_insdr_may18&link_position=link1

    And Chavez is taking Venezuela on the path that leads to Cuban style oppression and poverty, and closing the TV station was just one step on that sorry path.

    NOLA • Since Nov 2006 • 341 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    The sooner you accept that its function is emotional and its information content a happy accident, the more at peace you will be.

    Delete the word happy and I'll buy that.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3595 posts Report Reply

  • James Bremner,

    Paul wrote

    "Rather than protest against this censorship and oppression, people of the left are rushing to find excuses for him. Nothing new there, of course: we have been ignoring Castro's oppression of his critics for years."

    Way to go Paul, tell it like it is right at them!!

    Add North Korea to list of left wing hell holes that the "human rights" and various leftist activists have completely ignore for decades, because it doesn't fit their preferred narrative of the world.

    NOLA • Since Nov 2006 • 341 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    No Joe it was once complex, but now it is not. A complex situation can be solved peacefully through debate & democracy in an open forum. Preventing debate from happening reduces the chances of peace and thus the stiflers of debate are easily seen as in the wrong - as Chavez is here.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    And to read about how successful Uribe has been in Colombia, follow this link... Amazing stuff, Uribe has really turned Colombia around.

    Yep, if you ignore the part about how right-wing death squads met at his farm to plan the assasinations of trade union leaders and other people they didn't like, it probably looks great. Honestly James, this is very disingenuous.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • stephen walker,

    more garbage news...

    from stuff.co.nz (NZPA) yesterday:

    Dr Darby said Taranaki had been estimated to have potential to generate 2000 billion barrels of oil, of which only 1000 billion barrels has so far been found.

    and from today's herald (reuters):

    Babies who are born heavy and grow fast have a 150 per cent chance of being overweight or obese by the time they are 7 years old, a survey of more than 8000 children in Hong Kong has shown.

    such reliable news sources, eh?

    nagano • Since Nov 2006 • 634 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Add North Korea to list of left wing hell holes that the "human rights" and various leftist activists have completely ignore for decades, because it doesn't fit their preferred narrative of the world.

    Um, really? Examples, please.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2972 posts Report Reply

  • Kris W,

    With regards to our nightly-communal/ritual-fix of TV c*nt-watching, might I suggest that the Repeal of Section 59 debate highlighted a recent (below-normal) dip in objectivity?

    I also wonder if John Campbell is getting a proper nights kip at present? His script/segueways have been kinda wierd (self-acknowledged), and CampbellLive's agenda seems to be a delayed mirror of Hard News'.

    Perhaps Russell could sell Carol and Mark Jennings a Simpsons-esque tabloid-concept Hard News. Or is that kinda what Eating Media Lunch is trying to achieve?

    Cook Strait • Since Nov 2006 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Like I said James, the good death squads.....Suharto turned Indonesia around too but was responsible for god knows how many deaths.......money is no absolution. There are plenty of questions about the man, all of which are handily ignored because it politic suit Washington.

    I'm sitting with my father in law who spent a week in a Cuban public hospital two years ago (his third visit there) and he would ever so politely like to suggest that you look beyond the disinformation out of Miami........but there is lots of it no? And a willing audience stateside.....

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3209 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    but there seems to be quite a lot of evidence that RCTV abetted the overthrow of a legitimately elected government.

    I'm not an expert either but all that evidence suggests is that RCTV supported the anti-Chavez protests, not any violent coup.

    Compare the allegations against RCTV with Chave's latest evidence against another TV channel as reported in the - Guardian

    Communications minister Willian Lara asked prosecutors to investigate Globovisión for inciting attempts to kill Mr Chávez, citing its airing of footage of the 1981 assassination attempt against John Paul II in Rome accompanied by This Does Not Stop Here, a salsa song by Ruben Blades, now Panama's tourism minister.

    In Venezuela's political climate this was a coded message to kill Mr Chávez, said Mr Lara, adding that he had consulted semiologists. "The conclusion of the specialists is that [in this segment] they are inciting the assassination of the president," he told a press conference.

    It's all made up and a bit crazy.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Juha Saarinen,

    I note that Nat is a fellow victim of Derek and Clive Possession Syndrome (DCPS). Happened to me once while writing the Computerworld FryUp newsletter, with some interesting feedback as a result.

    As for censuses and registration of the populace, my advice, as someone who lived with all that for a long time in the Nordic countries, is... don't. Don't do it, drop the ethnicity questions in the census, and if you must have such a thing, just count people and keep questions to a minimum.

    You can rest assured that the data collected will be abused at some stage or the other, like ending up overseas for marketing purposes.

    Sweden like other Nordic countries use a "personnummer" or a Civic Registration Number, comprising your birthdate plus a check sum. Without such a number, you are nothing. Everything is tied to it, from your social security to tax to bank accounts, the lot. You are not a person, but a number. With that number, you can find out all you want about another person; you can even be another person, like I did when I got fake ID to get into bars that I was too young for. Oh, ID cards with the number are compulsory in Sweden too.

    The Soviets managed to siphon off full copies of the personnummer databases early on. When they boarded Swedish fishing vessels, they simply checked the fishermen's ID cards, and punched in their numbers into handheld terminals sourced from Germany, to get full details of the people onboard.

    By using personnummer and a bit of creative database mashups combined with old-fashion manual spying, the Soviets were also able to map out where Swedish air force pilots lived in preparation for assassination by Spetznaz troops prior to invasion.

    Since Nov 2006 • 525 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    If RCTV really supported the coup, then I am sure the government would have closed it down and imprisoned its directors for treason back then. Instead, they wait until its licence comes up for renewal, refuse the application and replace it with a government channel. According to the BBC

    "The new state-sponsored channel TVES launched with programmes that Mr Chavez said would better reflect society, including a film about independence hero Simon Bolivar."

    I expect they will also have martial music and scenes of happy peasants in the communal farms singing folk songs praising the President.

    Meanwhile, Chavez is threatening a second TV channel which dared to show pictures of the protests about RCTV:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6699383.stm

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    The licensing process was in the hands of the Independent Broadcasting Authority, not the Government. This story is a media myth with no evidence to support it.

    Crap. The Government first tried to suppress the program and failed. Then they changed the rules for bidding for licenses and put in a closed system for bids in which the criteria for "wining were obtuse to say the least. Thames didn't stand a chance.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1616 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    __Vulunteer__ being the operative word. I'm job hunting at the moment, and I don't see either subject coming up in interviews, and I certainly won't be volunteering or answering any questions along those line. Not that I think any prudent employer would ask.

    I might be wrong but the ethnicity question is optional isn't it? I know that the religion question is and that there is no sexual orientation questions in the census.

    But please, when answering ethnicity, do not put "mongrel" or "New Zealander" as it really really doesn't help. Try figuring out which demographics in the country need help through policy when ll you've got to go on is "New Zealander". It's not racist it's just dumb.

    If you are a "mongrel" tick as many boxes as apply to you, StatsNZ encourage you to.

    As for Cuba...I like their rum.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2081 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    Crap. The Government first tried to suppress the program and failed. Then they changed the rules for bidding for licenses and put in a closed system for bids in which the criteria for "wining were obtuse to say the least. Thames didn't stand a chance.

    Evidence please, and try laying off the abuse while you are at it. You don't win arguments that way. The rules for bidding were changed but why should that have had anything to do with Thames? That is an inference you have drawn, not a fact supported by evidence.

    Second, and more important, what has this to do with Venezuela?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    As for Cuba...I like their rum.

    And their cigars.... thighs or not

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3209 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    A little more on that nice Mr Uribe in Colombia, James:

    Congress is rightly putting the brakes on the unconditional US support that Colombia has been getting from the Bush administration. The administration wants to rush into a free-trade deal with Colombia, even though that country has allegedly been using "systemic, persistent violence against trade unionists and other human rights defenders," according to a joint letter by Rep Charles Rangel, and Rep Sander Levin, the top two House Democrats on international trade.

    Members of President Alvaro Uribe's administration are accused of aiding right-wing paramilitary squads that have massacred thousands of civilians. At least eight Colombian government officials and politicians have been arrested for having ties with the paramilitary, and investigations into collusion of many others are pending. Since Uribe took office in 2002, the paramilitary forces have assassinated 400 union leaders and their supporters, according to the AFL-CIO. Only a dozen of their killers have been convicted.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

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