The Media’s Double Standards.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP is in Hanoi, talking peace with Kim Jong Un. The “Supreme leader” of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) who has, for the past two days, been sitting across the table from the American President, has never faced any kind of election that would be recognised as fair and free – let alone democratic – by the United Nations. Indeed, the totalitarian Workers Party regime presides over a vast network of concentration camps teeming with political prisoners.

Economically speaking, the DPRK is fragile. In recent decades, its people have suffered a succession of devastating famines during which thousands of men, women and children are reported to have died of hunger and hunger-related diseases.

In marked contrast to the Islamic Republic of Iran, the DPRK possesses multiple nuclear warheads, and claims to have tested missiles capable of raining down devastation on the United States of America.

None of these facts have dissuaded President Trump from praising Kin Jong Un or, indeed, referring to him as his friend.

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This should not be construed as a condemnation of the US leader. In the memorable words of Winston Churchill: “Jaw, jaw is better than war, war.” If the meeting in Hanoi between Trump and Kim leads to an easing of military tensions on the Korean peninsula, then the world will be mightily relieved and both men will fully deserve the international praise which will undoubtedly be heaped upon them.

The questions that arise from the Hanoi Summit are all about diplomatic and journalistic consistency. The United States and the Western news media both need to explain why the measured diplomacy and largely accurate reporting on display in Hanoi, has been so conspicuously absent with regard to Venezuela. The naked diplomatic aggression and outright lies which have characterised the West’s treatment of the Venezuelan Government could hardly be more different from its handling of the DPRK’s “Supreme Leader”.

The President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro and his fellow Chavistas have, since coming to power in 1998, submitted themselves to – and won – a plethora of democratic elections and constitutional referenda. These have all been confirmed as fair and free by no less an observer than the former US President, Jimmy Carter.

Venezuela, unlike the DPRK, is not studded with concentration camps teeming with political prisoners. On the contrary, the streets of Venezuela are teeming with Maduro’s political opponents. Many of these, supported by the United States, have engaged in acts of extreme violence against the Venezuelan Police and National Guard. Rather than respond with deadly force, however, the forces of law and order have consistently restricted themselves to non-lethal means of dispersing these far-right protesters.

Where comparisons with the DPRK can be drawn is in relation to economic management. Maduro’s period in office has been marred by runaway inflation and severe shortages. These have given rise to widespread economic hardship and political frustration. Unlike the DPRK, however, Venezuela’s economic difficulties were driven by falling oil prices and the deliberate economic sabotage instigated by Venezuela’s capitalist elites and their US backers. They are not the result of diverting all available resources to the production of a deadly nuclear arsenal. The only diversion of resources of which the Chavistas are guilty is from the state’s oil revenues to the Venezuelan poor.

The explanation for the United States oppressive behaviour towards Venezuela is readily available in any reputable history of the USA’s tutelary relationship with the nations of Latin America. Perceiving itself as the benevolent guardian of all those peoples unlucky enough to live south of the Rio Grande, the United States has intervened again and again. Refusing to sit idly by while its diplomatic wards embraced to the evils of “communism”, due to, in the words of the former US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, “the irresponsibility of their own people”.

But if the American state is straightforwardly imperialistic in its motivation, what is the Western media’s excuse? Why do the editors and journalists of not only the United States and its Nato allies, but also of supposedly free and independent nations like New Zealand, abandon all pretence of discovering and disseminating the truth to parrot the blatant lies of Venezuela’s enemies?

What would happen if One News or the Herald decided to see for itself what was really happening inside Venezuela and along her borders? What would befall the Kiwi journalist who made a point of speaking to the politicians of both the Left and the Right; to the inhabitants of the wealthy suburbs above Caracas, as well as those buried in its overcrowded slums; to police officers and national guardsmen as well as right-wing student protesters; to workers as well as peasants? Would he or she emerge from the exercise spouting exactly the same lines as the US State Department?

If the answer to that question is “Yes”, then we have a very big problem. If professional journalism, undertaken with courage and diligence, produces only what the powerful want us to hear, then our journalists are truly lost. In spite of their education and training, they have so profoundly internalised the values and expectations of their masters that their journalism almost always reflects the interests of the people who pay them.

That’s a very grim conclusion, but what other is possible? When the American President can smile benignly at the “Supreme Leader” of a brutal totalitarian regime with nary a word of condemnation from our mainstream news media; but, in the first item up after the ad-break, the democratically-elected leader of a free, if bitterly divided, country is dutifully denounced as a brutal dictator?




  1. The War on Venezuela Is Built on Lies John Pilger

    The former United Nations Rapporteur, Alfred de Zayas, has likened this to a “medieval siege” designed “to bring countries to their knees”. It is a criminal assault, he says. It is similar to that faced by Salvador Allende in 1970 when President Richard Nixon and his equivalent of John Bolton, Henry Kissinger, set out to “make the economy [of Chile] scream”. The long dark night of Pinochet followed.

    The Guardian correspondent, Tom Phillips, has tweeted a picture of himself in a cap on which the words in Spanish mean in local slang: “Make Venezuela fucking cool again.” The reporter as clown may be the final stage of much of mainstream journalism’s degeneration.

    Should the CIA stooge Guaido and his white supremacists grab power, it will be the 68th overthrow of a sovereign government by the United States, most of them democracies. A fire sale of Venezuela’s utilities and mineral wealth will surely follow, along with the theft of the country’s oil, as outlined by John Bolton.

    Under the last Washington-controlled government in Caracas, poverty reached historic proportions. There was no healthcare for those could not pay. There was no universal education; Mavis Mendez, and millions like her, could not read or write. How cool is that, Tom?

      • Chris;

        It seems that those most small countries are the ones that wind up losing everything or are now in the process of losing all have been systematically rorted by the most powerful, US/China, and NZ is next I fear.

        • Acquistion of those countries natural resouces same thing here in NZ, selling our Aquifiers ie Belfast Christchurch, for the cost of the Resource Consent $1000.00

    • Look what happened to Libya when they agreed to get rid of their Nuclear Warheads the USA went in and trashed the place. Kim is not so stupid, the USA dropped more bombs on North Korea in the Korean War, than the total amount of bombs dropped in WW2 by the Allied Forces.

  2. You know all about double standards Chris. You know its about culture and entitlement and greed. Your own is over CGT, the tax every real democracy has. For no real democracy allows some to escape tax on their income but not others, that is not equality before the law.

    There should have been peace with North Korea upon China joining the UNSC to prevent the nuclear arms drive. And if one wanted to make a comparison between the US position on one nation and another, the comparison should be Iran.

    Venezeula is just one of those leftists unite on some foreign issue causes (magicians call it diversion), while the right wingers shaft us on domestic economic policy as they did back in the 1980’s.

    • That’s a little harsh, SPC.

      My opposition to the CGT is based on the likely economic and political consequences of such a tax.

      I lived through the Rogernomics era, which was also sold to New Zealanders as a way of restoring fairness and efficiency to a hopelessly compromised economic regime.

      We got neither fairness, nor efficiency. Rogernomics tore NZ society apart.

      I don’t want to see the same thing happen with the CGT.

      • You’ll have to suck on that lemon Chris. I’ve heard too much fake news from landlords on rental standards and now the CGT to remain polite, because there is gross injustice involved.

        This is the issue where the classes clash, and you would rather perpetuate the appeasement of the Rogernomics consensus that has gone on for far too long … .

        I remember writing to RD back in 1983 and asking him what his plan was, he outlined his intended betrayal of Labour honestly enough. But he prevaricated on a CGT saying he preferred an assets tax, his way of refusing to admit he was not going to bring a fair regime. It’s long past time for a reckoning over this.

        For mine the CGT should include historic CG as income is taxed in the real it is realised – so all CG after 1 April 2021 (I would allow inflation adjustment and any historic capital improvements at current value cost). They can sell off all their housing before then to avoid liability for all I would care.

        20% pay more tax than the rest of us, and this is despite the fact they avoid tax on their CG. We are a very unequal and unjust society – but we can and should at least make the tax system fairer.

      • Governments both National & Labour have sold $26.5 Billion of strategic State Assets and squandered the money.

        The Bank of New Zealand our 150 year old bank was sold for loss by Jim Bolger and the National Government to National Bank of Australia.

  3. Hate to sound like a boring old fart, but in the “old days” journalists were allowed to do their job. I took a NZ TV doco crew to Chile a year after the Pinochet coup. It was pretty hairy at times (mysteriously smashed camera, arrested at gunpoint on the Valparaiso docks etc), but we told it like we saw it – US involvement and all.
    But that was 40-odd years ago. I suspect that today we’d be expected to toe the party (i.e. US) line.

  4. Chris, I’m learning a lot of stuff reading this blog, however the reason for different media reporting tween Vz and NK has gotta be same as here NZ. This blog is forever goin on about biased msm, and is/must be same worldwide, surely. Don’t wanna get offside wid uncle sam do we? Imagine if they parked one or two massive plane carriers off our coast, I’d be friendly just for starters. Good article.

  5. That’s a good article, Mr Trotter.

    I like how you also gave credit where credits due to Pres Trump. And in a way… to his new mate. Which brings me to an inverse point inadvertently made in this article ; the global news media and its continual fault finding with Trump. It is an orchestrated thing and we are saturated with it constantly. And a lot of it is sheer womans weekly drivel. Absolute drivel.

    Enter George Soros and his machinations in manipulating global opinion through his vast media campaigns and networks. And his globalist mates that hate Trump.

    Enough said.

    But moreso, the imbalance and downright dishonesty of the global media NOT reporting the true story behind Venezuela. It is criminal in its negligence. I don’t claim to know that much about all the wheres and wherefores, … but I do know enough of American interference in its southern neighbors over the long decades. But I think its unfair to lay all of that collective negative history solely at the feet of Trump .

    The USA has some very powerful lobby groups and influencers – such as the military , the CIA [ among the worst offenders in fomenting insurrections and assassinations on foreign soils ] , its industrialists and those who govern its economy. There’s four powerful camps right there.

    And when these far right wing goons constantly bring up Venezuela as some kind of warning or example as to the evils of socialism,- [ as they always love to do …] … one only has to remind them of Scandinavia and the socialistic type govts they have had for decades – along with the highest living standards globally , – to shut them the hell up.

    You made some great comparisons between North Korea and Venezuela … such as the oil money that was diverted by the Venezuelan govt to feeding the poor, – and the corresponding comparisons of funds being diverted by North Korea in building a bigger , better , brighter nuclear warhead to give us all nightmares.

    Good article.

  6. Kim has had to get nukes to stop the US moves to annex all of Korea.

    Kim failed in these talks, to get the USA to de nuclearise the US arsenal.

    The US talks up de nuclearising but alas does not show what it means to do so. they must be thick.

    What a shame for the world. KIm could have performed a service to mankind.

  7. You could sub the word Ukraine for Venezuela and the article would read just about as well.

  8. One small difference between North Korea and Venezuela on strategic aspects is the fact, that the North Korean regime has nuclear bombs, which can possibly be sent as far as to the USA West Coast.

    Venezuela has NO nuclear capability.

    Also, North Korea has a very powerful ally north and west of its border and shores, it is Mainland China, the second most powerful economy and military power on earth. Even though the Chinese are not happy with some things Kim has done, they consider him a useful ally, who is used as a tool to keep the US off their own shores, so to say.

    Venezuela lies in the midst of Latin America, which the USA have long considered to be their ‘backyard’.

    We know about the many regimes and dictators they supported, about past regime change assisted by the CIA and so in Chile and other places.

    If the US would dare do that in North Korea, they risk war with China, possibly also Russia.

    And re the useless NZ media clowns, is Chris serious, that he thinks they would ever report in a balanced and truly informative manner? TVNZ, the Herald, Newshub and the rest, they are mostly following the commercial dictate of the private media, to which some of them belong anyway, it is all about selling advertising, selling dreams, selling BS and lies, and to not disturb the deeply brain washed NZ public in any way, as they are not supposed to be woken up from their stupid slumber.

    Every day I see and hear the stupidity of so many people, making me ask, where the hell have I ended up here?

    Morons is a compliment to the ones I mean, as they are far worse than such.

    These isles are mostly populated by people who only gaze at their own navel, and who do not give a hoot about what happens overseas, apart perhaps in Australia.

    • Russian rocket scientists helped North Korea on it’s rocket technology 30 years ago, when the breakdown of the Soviet Union occurred, many Russian scientists in the space industry were made redundant.

      I can remember being in Japan in 1997 flying from Kansai to Sapporo in Hokkaido when the North Koreans sent a missile over the top of Japan, it landed about 200km into the Pacific Ocean past Japan.

  9. Yes, Chris this is a good article, that exposes the NZ Media as a corporate controlled propaganda today in NZ.

    • Russian rocket scientists helped North Korea on it’s rocket technology 30 years ago, when the breakdown of the Soviet Union occurred, many Russian scientists in the space industry were made redundant.

      I can remember being in Japan in 1997 flying from Kansai to Sapporo in Hokkaido when the North Koreans sent a missile over the top of Japan, it landed about 200km into the Pacific Ocean past Japan.

    • NZ Government has no control over the media, they are free to promote whatever agenda their owners want.

  10. Labours new budget this year of 2019 hinges on being “The wellbeing budget”.

    So this is now your time to honour this promise made to Gisborne/HB communities 6 years ago and honour the ‘Labour, Greens pledge to reinstate Gisborne rail line’ for our communities “well being”

    Labour, Greens pledge to reinstate Gisborne rail line
    By Phillipa Webb of the Gisborne Herald
    5:31 PM Tuesday Jan 22, 2013


    The Napier-Gisborne rail line. Photo / Supplied
    Labour and the Greens vowed at a public meeting in Gisborne last night that they would reinstate the Gisborne to Napier railway line if they won the 2014 election.
    East Coast National MP Anne Tolley’s absence from the meeting about the mothballed line was noted, with most of about 100 meeting-goers giving her a vote of no confidence.
    KiwiRail chief executive Jim Quinn offered no hope for the line and said the ongoing costs of repair and maintenance meant it would not be reopened.
    The meeting was held to discuss the release of the recent Berl report – an independent economic analysis of the KiwiRail report that led to a decision to close the line in November.
    Berl said there were “serious inconsistencies” in the KiwiRail report and there was a need for a comprehensive cost:benefit analysis of the line – a process that could cost around $500,000 and take up to 12 months.
    Gisborne District Mayor Meng Foon said the meeting was an opportunity to gain feedback from the region to take to Minister of Transport Gerry Brownlee when they met to discuss the future of the line.
    No date for a meeting has been set.
    John McLean, from Roger Dickie Forests and the Rail Action Group, questioned the need to close the line from Wairoa to Napier when there were opportunities for forestry in that area to use the line.
    Forestry investor Roger Dickie said of the 18 million tonnes of logs they hoped to produce in the next 10-15 years, he saw potential to send 7.5 million tonnes of that south by rail.
    Richard Burke from crop grower LeaderBrand said they were not given enough time to see how they could grow the use of the line before it was mothballed.
    Labour list MP Moana Mackey said the line had to be reinstated now for a cost of $4 million because that was the cheapest it would ever be.
    Rail advocates needed to lobby government politicians to “keep the pressure on”, she said.
    Mr Foon said he appreciated Mr Quinn for “fronting up” to tough questions but at the end of the day Gisborne needed the line.
    “We deserve good schools, good hospitals, good roads and good rail.”
    KiwiRail have been looking to mothball the Gisborne to Napier line for the past decade, saying it is unprofitable.
    In March a storm swept through the Whareratas in the Beach Loop area and huge slips, one 100 metres by 100 metres, closed the line.
    KiwiRail estimated the line would cost $4.3 million to fix but there was $30m-worth of other maintenance required on the line.
    In October the Government finally made its decision to shut the line.
    This was quickly followed by a fundraising drive to raise about $15,000 required for an independent economic analysis on the KiwiRail report that closed the line.
    This report released last week highlighted inconsistencies and flaws, refuted by KiwiRail.
    – The Gisborne Herald
    By Phillipa Webb of the Gisborne Herald

  11. NZ Government has no control over the media, they are free to promote whatever agenda their owners want.

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