Kew: 5 Misleading Mainstream Media Headlines on Venezuela’s Sham Election

Venezuela's Maduro eyes second term despite economic woes

Multiple Western media outlets falsely represented Venezuela’s presidential election Sunday as representative of the will of the people, downplaying the banning of opposition candidates and widespread reports of fraud.

On Sunday evening, the National Electoral Commission (CNE) – controlled by socialist dictator Nicolás Maduro – announced that he had been “re-elected” with 67.6 percent of the votes.

Barring left-wing allied regimes such as that of Cuba, Bolivia, and North Korea, nearly all international bodies condemned the election as fraudulent. Even candidates running against Maduro, who were largely socialist chavistas running to the left of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) candidate, alleged to have collected widespread evidence of electoral fraud and voter intimidation. Maduro openly banned credible opposition candidates from participating.

However, many mainstream media outlets used headlines gave the impression that Maduro had “won” a legitimate election, while carefully caveating the undisputable evidence that Maduro had stolen it.

Many also followed the line provided by the government-controlled electoral commission that turnout was around 48 percent, despite evidence from electoral observers that 82.96 percent of eligible voters did not participate.

The New York Times – Venezuela Election Won by Maduro Amid Widespread Disillusionment’
“President Nicolás Maduro won a second term as president of Venezuela, a country in the midst of a historic economic collapse marked by soaring prices, widespread hunger, rampant crime, a failing health system and a large-scale exodus of its citizens,” the article’s lede reads.

Alongside their electoral coverage, the Times also produced a film explaining how Maduro had won the election by “controlling the food,” suggesting that Venezuelan voters were bought off. Instead, the over 80 percent abstention rate from voting shows that most of the country disregarded the incentives to participate in Maduro’s fraud.

The newspaper has a history of taking large sums of money from the Maduro regime in the form of advertisements promoting itself to the Times’ leftist American audience.

CNN – ‘Venezuelan President Maduro Wins Reelection’
Despite their misleading headline, CNN announced that Maduro had “won another six years in power in crisis-hit Venezuela,” but did also acknowledge that it was an election that “political opposition and foreign powers have denounced as a sham.” A casual observers reading the piece in passing could be forgiven, however, for interpreting this coverage as a legitimate ruler being voted into office once again.

The Guardian – ‘Venezuela Elections: Maduro Wins Second Term
British newspaper the Guardian claimed that Maduro “shrugged off international condemnation and allegations of vote buying and electoral fraud to claim a second six-year term at the helm of his crisis-stricken nation.”

Associated Press – ‘The Latest: Maduro Celebrates Re-Election, Urges Dialogue’
The supposedly neutral Associated Press reported on how Maduro began “celebrating his re-election in an energized speech inviting his defeated challengers to join him for a dialogue about the country’s future.”

“Maduro spoke late Sunday to a crowd of cheering supporters at Venezuela’s presidential palace in the capital of Caracas,” the report continues. “Election officials say he won nearly 68 percent of the votes, beating nearest challenger Henri Falcon by more than 40 points.”

The Financial Times – Venezuela’s President Maduro wins controversial election
Despite having their own correspondent in Caracas, the FT falsely claims that Maduro achieved a “victory despite hyperinflation, corruption, plunging oil output and food shortages.”

“Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro won another six years in office on Sunday in an election that has been criticised as a farce and that is likely to prompt further sanctions from the US and condemnation from the EU and Latin American countries,” the article reads, adding that “Mr. Maduro garnered 68 per cent of the votes cast.”

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