Media Takes Party Line From the Kremlin on Venezuela

Juan Guaido

Juan Guaido / Getty Images

Does the mainstream media take its marching orders from the Kremlin?

The description of Venezuela's interim president Juan Guaidó throughout the mainstream press is eerily similar to Sputnik news. The Kremlin refuses to recognize Guaidó as president, even though any fair reading of the Venezuela

Constitution would determine socialist dictator Nicolas Maduro illegally tried to hold onto power.

Maduro circumvented the National Assembly with a sham election, leaving the office vacant. Under a vacancy, as the president of the National Assembly, Guaidó can constitutionally assume the presidency on an interim basis under article 233.

Led by the United States, over 50 democratically allied nations have correctly identified Guaidó as what he is. But to the socialists and authoritarians of the world, Guaidó is a "self-proclaimed" "opposition leader," while Maduro is the victim of a "U.S.-backed coup."

Of course this is confusing to the Washington Post, which recently asked, "Juan Guaidó, interim president or opposition leader?"

I understand. It's tricky for the media when the default anti-Trump position also puts you on the same side as (gasp!) Putin.

The Post quotes Robert Palladino, deputy spokesman for the State Department, who said not calling Guaidó the interim president puts you in Maduro's camp, and falls into the "narrative of a dictator who has usurped the position of the presidency and led Venezuela to the humanitarian and political and economic crisis that exists today."

The Post added the Trump administration said this "sternly." (You wouldn't want to be stern when discussing societal collapse and chaos of mass starvation, violence, and protests as a direct result of failed socialism, of course.) RT didn't approve of Palladino's comments either.

The Post assures us "there are complicating factors" that prevents the paper from calling Guaidó, who wants to restore democracy to Venezuela, the interim president.

"While 54 countries have recognized Guaidó as interim president, that is less than a third of the world's 190-plus countries," the Post contends. Pfft! That's not enough to pass a resolution at the UN, which, you may not know, is full of peaceful, freedom-loving democracies.

But it's even more complicated than that. "Maduro can summon masses of supporters to his rallies," the Post writes. "And Venezuela's military command still backs Maduro, even though some security forces have abandoned him in the face of the country's economic collapse and political crisis."

Get it? It's better to characterize Guaidó the way Maduro (Russia, China, and every other American geopolitical foe) wants us to, because Maduro still controls the military, which also has been opposing the Trump administration lately. If it's anti-Trump, it's good enough for the U.S. media.

It's good enough for the Kremlin, too. The official line is Guaidó is the "opposition leader." State-run media in China are on board as well. Xinhua calls Guaidó the "opposition leader" in a piece praising Maduro's call for mass demonstrations to "protest U.S. imperialism." So does the South China Morning Post.

Virtually every mainstream American outlet is following suit: Reuters, CBS News (which also calls him Maduro's "foe"), the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and NPR all refer to Guaidó as the "opposition leader." At least USA Today describes him as the "U.S.-supported opposition leader."

Let's see if we can spot the difference between CNN and Sputnik.

"Opposition leader Juan Guaidó returns to Venezuela, risking arrest," a recent CNN headline reads.

"Venezuela's self-declared interim president, Juan Guaidó, returned to the country on Monday, risking arrest for violating a travel ban in his bid to oust embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro," the report reads.

"Self-declared." "Opposition leader."

CNN continues: "Most Western countries and regional neighbors now recognize Guaidó as Venezuela's leader and have been working with him to bring aid into the country."

But not CNN.

Sputnik's lede on the same news: "The self-proclaimed interim president of Venezuela Juan Guaidó crossed into Colombia in late February in defiance of a Venezuelan Supreme Court order barring him from leaving the country due to an ongoing investigation."

Maybe there is state-run TV. Just not the network, or the state they had in mind.