Thursday, September 18, 2008

Making a dent

I have to say I was a bit shocked when I read this latest article by Simon Romero in the NYT, "Bolivian Troops Arrest Governor of Rebellious Region". While it still describes the Pando Massacre as a "violence last week between antigovernment and pro-Morales protesters", it first tells the reader what Leopoldo Fernández has actually been accused of, "overseeing a massacre of peasants." So I guess it's "official" record now.

Also Romero gives us this perfectly decent statement concerning background, "The divisions that led to the violence involve disputes over petroleum royalties and Mr. Morales’s efforts to overhaul the Constitution to empower the impoverished indigenous majority." While there is plenty omitted there (and in the rest of the article), at least on the surface it is totally factually correct. I didn't think they could do it. The big improvement rests in Romero's description of the constitution, noticeably lacking the regular bullshit about increasing Presidential power and the supposed "dubious legality" of the proposed text. Did someone do their reading assignment?

So congratulations Simon, you've written your first article on Bolivia meeting the most basic standard of "balance" for semi-decent journalism. I really wonder what kind of recent "internal coup" has been going on in the NYT or Simon's head to actually publish these lines.

Then yesterday, Reuters publishes an article that reads as if it was written, well, for/by this blog. "Morales emerges stronger from crisis". It interviews Mark Weisbrot and makes the same points I made several days ago about the political failures of the opposition coming out of this crisis, even citing the exact same sources I used. Funny... I have to say Reuters coverage has markedly improved in the last couple weeks since the out break of opposition violence. I am not quite sure what to attribute this to, I haven't been paying enough attention to the bylines to say if they've changed staffing or what. But whatever it is (even plagiarism), please keep it up!

So I would like to say that it appears, for at least the moment, that the work this blog, all its friends, and affinities (and anyone else out there!) are doing to propagate a reality based understanding of Bolivia are making moderate inroads with 'mainstream' press. Let's keep it up!


Charles said...

Just a quick thank you for all your work on this blog recently. You and ottorock have done a fantastic job of reporting developments in bolivia. When I looked at the reuters article I had the same thought, that much of it seemed very familiar. hmm

Bina said...

Simon Romero committed JOURNALISM for a change? Better double-check with the Google to make sure it's not plagiarism. BoRev found he cribbed a Spanish piece, merely translating it into English and then passing it off as his own.

El Duderino said...

good point bina. Er, I don't really feeling like wasting the time on him.

Bina said...

LOL--Can't say I blame you. He's a parasite, there's no doubt about it! But unless he's caught with his pants down (perhaps literally), it's unlikely that the NYT will do anything about him. I've noticed that about 99% of the time, honest reporting is just too much to ask of them. They, like many of the major papers in the US, are stuffed with CIA plants and stenographers for the State Dept. They have an agenda, and actually reporting the news is very, VERY low on it, if it even figures at all.