Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Maybe we can learn something from the Venezuelans

President Bush has today dispatched top FCC officials to Venezuela on a fact-finding mission to determine whether Hugo Chavez's "media relations" techniques can be adapted for use in the United States. As reported today, Venezuela's version of the FCC, its national telecommunications regulatory commission, has revoked the license of the country's most watched and longest operating television station, a frequent critic of President Chavez, and appropriated its broadcast facilities for use by a state-run broadcasting entity.

Sources in the Justice Department reported that U.S. Attorney General Alberto R. "Judge" Gonzales has already assigned the Office of Legal Counsel to draft a memo in support of such techniques, arguing that the First Amendment applies only to Acts of Congress and does not restrict the Executive's power to limit free speech. Sources familiar with the draft stated that it further asserts that the First Amendment's provisions are limited in scope to "the press", and therefore have no application to electronic media.

According to the LA Times, Radio Caracas Television, "a powerhouse news and prime-time programmer, was replaced on the airwaves by Televisora Venezolana Social, or TVes, after the Supreme Court over the weekend gave the new broadcaster the right to use RCTV's towers and microwave transmitters."

While Reuters reported widespread protests against the move, and international media outlets cited some concern from the international community, TVes reported that protests within Venezuela were scattered and lightly attended, and that they were dwarfed by massive public gatherings in support of the government's action. Said one TVes on-air commentator, "The protesters are of weak character, and do not understand the complexities of telecommunications laws. They want the terrorists to win."


Gleemonex said...

Holy. Fucking. Shitballs.

Are you making this up??? Please tell me you're making this up.

HHL said...

Heh. Had you going there for a minute, eh?

The scary part is that it sounds just short of plausible.

It should also be pointed out that:

1. Though the politicization of the Justice Department is currently being well-chronicled, is there much doubt that the same thing is being done in other Exec Branch departments, such as the FCC?

2. And therefore, given the recent power granted to the FCC to essentially (and in actual fact) to fine individual FCC licensees out of existence, and in all reality, to do the same to entire broadcast networks, this really does loom as a possibility.

HHL said...

and just to be clear, the part about what Chavez did is all true, though the TVes quote is fictional (as far as I know!).

Gleemonex said...

Gaaah! Thank all the wee gods ... but yeah, that's what's so scary, is the possibility that it's so real. That's no further "out there" than any of the crazy shit berto and georgie boy have gotten up to in the past 6 years, and you're right that there's no doubt the FCC has been as politicized as the DOJ or any other department of this maladministration ... whoa. Daily heart attack RDA, right there ...