We recently took C-SPAN to task for running an event committed to the proposition that al Qaeda did not carry out 9/11. One panelist said the 9/11 hijackers were “fake” people. We said it was comparable to airing a seminar on alien abductions. The channel, however, is still a good source of information, particularly when it airs a presentation by someone familiar with evidence and history. The recent presentation by Jeffrey Herf on his book, The Jewish Enemy: Nazi Propaganda during World War II and the Holocaust, was interesting not only for what he said about the past, but what he said about the future.
In light of the fact that some people did not address the threat posed by Hitler, he was asked for his opinion about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who wants to eliminate the state of Israel. Without getting into the realm of policy, Herf said it was necessary for people to take such a leader and his statements seriously.
By extension, Ahmadinejad’s allies have to be taken seriously as well. And one of them, Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela, was recently given Iran’s highest national award. According to an official release from the Iranian regime, Ahmadinejad “named Chavez as his brother as well as that of the Iranian nation and all the world freedom and justice seeking nations.” Shortly thereafter, Chavez announced he was withdrawing his ambassador to Israel, in protest over the Israeli response to aggression from Hezbollah in Lebanon. Chavez compared Israel’s bombings in Lebanon to Hitler’s actions in World War II during an interview with-what else?-Al Jazeera television.
On July 28, Chavez visited the Al-Jazeera offices in Qatar and described the operation as a media organization that broadcasts information based “on a real freedom.”
Fortunately, the general counsel of the Washington Post doesn’t seem to buy it. In a July 29 column in the Post, Diana M. Daniels accused the Chavez regime of intimidating the independent media by issuing threats to take back radio and television licenses if they publish or broadcast information that annoys the government. She cited the specific case of the regime threatening to close down the Venezuelan daily newspaper Correo del Caron?. Daniels, president of the Inter American Press Association, wrote the column after returning from a trip to Venezuela accompanied by newspaper representatives from Chile, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic.
However, Jeff Cohen, founder of the left-wing Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting, thinks the media in Venezuela are doing just fine. During a trip down there he said he found dissent flourishing all over, including in the media. “Dissent is alive and well in Venezuela,” he said, making no mention of threats against the independent media.
On the other hand, Cohen made headlines in the New York Post, of all papers, by expressing his disenchantment with rock star and political activist Bono for allegedly being connected to a video game that depicts a “power-hungry tyrant” leading Venezuela. Bono’s private equity company reportedly invested $300 million in Pandemic Studios, the maker of Mercenary 2: World in Flames, in which players try to challenge a dictator running an oil-rich country in South America.
These are the priorities of the political left-wing these days. A dictator who threatens the media if they don’t toe the government line is to be ignored. But releasing a video game about challenging a ruler like that is beyond the pale.