A tale of two A.P. obituaries: Thatcher and Chavez
An essay worth reading, even if you are already aware of the way in which the ostensibly "neutral" media skews perceptions towards the left while hiding behind the smokescreen of objectivity.
....and if you find these comparisons disturbing, wait till Fidel shuffles off his mortal coil and goes to his eternal reward. The list of "positive" achievements attributed to him in obituaries will be undoubtedly much, much longer than that of his sins and failures.
Associated Press: Praise Chavez, Grouse About Thatcher
by J.P. Freire
When it comes to praising free market champions like Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the Associated Press still has trouble giving them their due. In their obituary this morning, the AP leads with, and continues to harp upon, the controversy stoked during her tenure as England’s Prime Minister, instead of her actual achievements. Take the first sentence from this morning’s obit:
Love her or loathe her, one thing’s beyond dispute: Margaret Thatcher transformed Britain. The Iron Lady who ruled for 11 remarkable years imposed her will on a fractious, rundown nation — breaking the unions, triumphing in a far-off war, and selling off state industries at a record pace.
“Ruled.” “Imposed her will.” The AP’s word choice apes the old Liberal attacks on Thatcher as tyrant, taking pains to equivocate between the varying opinions people had of her.
For admirers, Thatcher was a savior who rescued Britain from ruin and laid the groundwork for an extraordinary economic renaissance. For critics, she was a heartless tyrant who ushered in an era of greed that kicked the weak out onto the streets and let the rich become filthy rich.
To the AP’s reporter, the history is apparently far from settled that her transformational role was a positive one. Contrast this to the AP’s coverage (by a different reporter, of course) of the death of socialist dictator, Hugo Chavez:
President Hugo Chavez, the fiery populist who declared a socialist revolution in Venezuela, crusaded against U.S. influence and championed a leftist revival across Latin America, died Tuesday at age 58 after a nearly two-year bout with cancer.
This breathless introduction is followed by more plaudits:
During more than 14 years in office, Chavez routinely challenged the status quo at home and internationally. He polarized Venezuelans with his confrontational and domineering style, yet was also a masterful communicator and strategist who tapped into Venezuelan nationalism to win broad support, particularly among the poor.
Yes, he was polarizing, but he challenged the status quo! He was a masterful communicator! Why, he’s almost like Venezuela’s Thatcher! Except he received broad support, unlike Thatcher who merely “imposed her will” on a “fractious nation.” Why, she seemed rather unpleasant:
Thatcher could be intimidating to those working for her
Thatcher was at her brashest when Britain was challenged.
Whereas Chavez really does sound more like a hero by AP’s telling:
Chavez used his country’s vast oil wealth to launch social programs that include state-run food markets, new public housing, free health clinics and education programs. Poverty declined during Chavez’s presidency amid a historic boom in oil earnings, but critics said he failed to use the windfall of hundreds of billions of dollars to develop the country’s economy.
Many more enlightening comparisons HERE.