Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Misleading Headline, Missing News

What’s missing from this USA Today headline from yesterday?


Answer: Four Marines were killed.

(Journalists used to be taught that the most important facts go in the headlines.)

I heard on television last night that a new blog is created every second, and that each blog has an average of one reader. Not very encouraging, especially when I add my own impression that most of the blogs which aren’t of the “washed my hair this morning” or “fuzzy photos of the Barfs’ concert” varieties are for the purpose of commenting on the news, thus putting them in competition with me.

Well, maybe not, since I’m trying to focus on what is NOT in the news, while many of the “current events” blogs I’ve seen just copy and paste other people’s published columns and make fun of them. Let somebody else do all the work, add a couple of smart-alecky comments at the end, and – voila – you’re right up there with Jon Stewart.

My eagle eye for what’s missing from the U.S. news has come up with this: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez – who endeared himself to me with his U.N. “smell of sulfur” speech in which President Bush was appropriately cast as the devil – has done some newsworthy things with Venezuelan oil during the past year or so . . . either giving away oil to the needy or selling it at a discount.

Those stories are pretty easy to avoid reporting in the United States as long as U.S. citizens aren’t the objects of Chavez’ bounty. It seems they’re also pretty easy to avoid reporting even when U.S. citizens are the beneficiaries. When I tried to educate myself about Chavez’ oil generosity toward North Americans with a Google search, I found not one U.S. news source in the first two screens of search results.

What I could learn about Chavez selling cut-rate oil to Americans in 2005 came from Australia and England.

“Venezuela's President, Hugo Chavez, has pulled off his greatest public relations coup yet in his campaign to irritate the Bush Administration with a deal to supply cheap fuel to thousands of poor residents of Boston and New York. To the anger of many in Washington, Citgo Petroleum Corporation, a company controlled by the Venezuelan Government, will supply more than 45 million litres of oil at 40 per cent below market prices. The deal is one of the most spectacular moves yet in Mr Chavez's attempt to market his '21st-century socialism' using his country's oil wealth.”

Would Washington have been happier if Venezuela had raised the price of oil? Some people you just can't please.

I thank President Chavez not only for angering many in Washington by helping poor people, but also for holding up a copy Noam Chomsky’s “Hegemony or Survival” in the U.N., leading me to read some of Mr. Chomsky’s books and watch some of his DVDs for the first time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Increase your readership by adding links to other blogs and having them list your blog. Go to the Daily Howler and Think Progress and see if you can link with them for starters. Good luck!