With the death of Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, the left-wing mainstream media and a few Democrat allies came out of the woodwork to mourn the human rights violator extraordinaire. Democrat Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY) led the way with a tweet suggesting that Chavez “was a leader that understood the needs of the poor. He was committed to empowering the powerless. R.I.P. Mr. President.”
Former President Jimmy Carter followed suit, mourning Chavez’s “commitment to improving the lives of his fellow countrymen,” and stating that he would “be remembered for his bold assertion of autonomy and independence for Latin American governments and for his formidable communications skills and personal connection with supporters in his country and abroad to whom he gave hope and empowerment.” As for his Chavez’s destruction of freedom of the press, nationalization of industry, and alliances with murderous dictators like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Carter had nothing to say.
Sean Penn, of course, spoke up to praise Chavez as a “great hero.”
It wasn’t just the most extreme Democrats and their idiot actor friends pushing the Cult of Chavez. The mainstream media quickly jumped on the bandwagon. The Associated Press ran a fawning obit for the authoritarian, leading with the droolingly ugly line, “President Hugo Chavez was a fighter.” Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post sounded off to call Chavez, “quick,” “popular,” and funny. Larry King, formerly of CNN, called in to say that Chavez was “effusive,” “huggable,” and “larger than life.”
The Atlantic wrote, presumably while weeping openly, “Passionate and charismatic, Chávez slipped comfortably into the role of romantic Latin American revolutionary, championing the poor against an unfeeling local oligarchy and its imperial paymasters....Today millions of Venezuelans will weep tears of genuine anguish at his passing.” Foreign Policy magazine ran an op-ed calling Chavez “another heroic martyr in the vein of Guevara or Chile’s Salvador Allende,” stating that Chavez might even reach “Bolivarian proportions.”
ABC News and Univision said that Chavez “was revered by Venezuela’s poor, who considered him one of their own.” Their obituary hailed him as a hero attempting “to fight poverty and high inflation” but alienating “Venezuela’s business elite.” CBS News tut-tutted Chavez as “full of bravado and revolutionary rhetoric,” but said “Chavez’s early policies could be described as moderate, capitalist and center-left.”
The New York Times pointed out the problems with Chavez’s rule, but not before terming Chavez a “polarizing” figure who consolidated power and used Venezuela’s oil “as a tool for his Socialist-inspired change …. He was a dreamer with a common touch and enormous ambition. He maintained an almost visceral connection with the poor …. He was not a stock figure.”
Bloomberg TV’s obituary sounded like it was written by Chavez’s press agent: “He rode a wave of revolution into power, and over 14 years would transform his country’s place on the world stage …. It was oil revenues that allowed Chavez to pour money into food and education programs in Venezuela.”
The moral of this story: if you’re going to die after committing decades of human rights violations, try to be a leftist dictator when you do.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the book “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).