Accuracy in Media

The mainstream media covered the Central American refugee crisis over the past several years, sending television crews and reporters to travel with migrant caravans and stirring up anti-Trump sentiment by blaming him for the refugee crisis. The media also stumbled into several news controversies, such as promoting a photograph of a child in a detention facility as a Trump administration policy when it was a photograph from the Obama administration. But when it came to the Venezuelan refugee crisis, the mainstream media was mostly silent on the issue despite their dedicated coverage to Central American refugees the past several years.

NBC News was the sole mainstream media outlet that covered Venezuela’s refugee crisis. NBC News’s article on the issue, entitled, “Venezuela will be world’s worst refugee crisis in 2020 — and most underfunded in modern history,” outlined the funding problems facing Venezuelan refugees.

The article was based on a Brookings Institution analysis, which claimed that the Venezuelan refugee crisis was the most underfunded refugee crisis. NBC News compared spending on Syrian refugees and Venezuelan refugees, which was $7.4 billion on Syrian refugees to $580 million for Venezuelans. It added that “[o]n a per capita basis, the international community has spent $1,500 to help each Syrian refugee and $125 per Venezuelan refugee.”

Not a single article on the Venezuelan refugee crisis was published by ABC News, CBS News, Politico, and alternative media sources such as BuzzFeed News and NowThis News. One of the possible reasons could be that Venezuela is on the other side of the Western Hemisphere, and whose refugees most likely would not make it to the United States-Mexico border to apply for asylum. Or, it could be that Venezuela’s refugee crisis stemmed from the country’s socialist policies, which left-leaning journalists initially supported after socialist candidate Hugo Chavez became president in 1998.

The dearth of media coverage on Venezuela’s refugee crisis called into question the biases of the mainstream and alternative media and whether they are ignoring the failures of socialism in action in Venezuela. If the media was truly a fair arbiter of the news, it should cover the Venezuelan refugee crisis to provide fair treatment and coverage for Venezuelan refugees as it treated the Syrian and Central American refugees.

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