Sunday, December 2, 2007

Language and Class Struggle: How to Frame A Win

By joe sims

A better glimpse of class prejudice in news coverage could not be seen than how the capitalist press is handling the elections in Russia and Venezuela. In Russia, if Putin’s United Russia gets over 50 percent it is being heralded as a “landslide” or an “overwhelming” mandate (though some this morning say he'll need 60 percent). If Hugo Chavez’s referendum should realize the same numbers it will be termed a “victory,” a grudging term by comparison.

However, exceptions do exist. In contrast to rather insipid coverage in the US press focusing narrowly on the issue of term limits an article in today’s San Francisco Chronicle paints the Venezuelan contest rather honest class terms. The Chronicle reporter writes that inside Venezuela, "the lion's share of attention has been on proposed reforms to property rights." This is in keeping with General Baduel’s great fear as indicated by his New York Times op ed in Saturday’s paper. In Venezuela, the bourgeois opposition (which Baduel is not a part of) are staging a last ditch effort. "For the opposition, most of whom are from the middle and upper classes, the referendum is seen as their last chance to maintain political relevance and keep Chavez from implanting his revolution," writes the San Francisco Chronicle.

Yesterday’s polls show the Bolivarian revolution winning the referendum by 60 percent, a veritable landslide if only it were in Russia. (It just occurred to me that the last phrase could be taken in two ways).

1 comment:

Joel said...

The Chronicle however cites an incorrect statement by Human Rights Watch which claims that the reforms would give the president power to strip due process rights in the event of a state of emergency.

That provision is no longer part of the reforms and was dumped after a huge uproar from all kinds of Venezuelans.