New York Times Coverage of Venezuelan Election Was Poor [View all]
New York Times Coverage of Venezuelan Election Was Poor
By Michael McGehee | NYT eXaminer | October 8, 2012
Hugo Chávez won his third straight presidential election this past weekend, and as the New York Times correspondent William Neumann put it in his latest article, “Chávez Wins New Term in Venezuela, Holding Off Surge by Opposition,”: “Though his margin of victory was much narrower than in past elections, he still won handily.” By more than 10 percent, Chávez defeated center-right candidate for the Justice First party, Henrique Capriles.
The problem with Neumann’s article, and his pre-election article “Fears Persist Among Venezuelan Voters Ahead of Election” is that he said nothing about Capriles’ campaign while providing considerable space to hearsay and accusations he, and Times editors, didn’t back up with examples. What resulted was clear cases of anti-Chávez hysteria and poor journalism.
In Neumann’s pre-election article he wrote that “polls diverge widely, with some predicting a victory for Mr. Chávez and others showing a race that is too close to call,” but he offers no examples of these “too close to call” polls. When the Center for Economic and Policy Research looked at available data they found that “Capriles a 5.7 percent probability of winning the election.”
And just as Neumann doesn’t provide any examples of those who have “anxiety” about ”a new electronic voting system that many Venezuelans fear might be used by the government to track those who vote against the president” there are no examples provided of “any government workers” whose names “were made public after they signed a petition for an unsuccessful 2004 recall referendum to force Mr. Chávez out of office” and subsequently ”lost their jobs.” This claim has been circulating for nearly ten years, and if Neumann has proof it occurred he should certainly share it. That would be more newsworthy than the unfounded fears of unknown persons...