BBC Guilty of Venality in Its Misreporting on Venezuela

Listeners and viewers expecting to find a safe alternative to the corporate-controlled media by turning to the BBC better reconsider their choice based on the vaunted news organization’s reporting on Venezuela and specifically on the misinformation it put out in an online piece on October 8 titled – “Mass Venezuela opposition rally.” It claims “Tens of thousands of people have marched through the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, in support of the main opposition candidate, Manuel Rosales.”

If readers of this piece just went to, they’d have gotten a much different picture – from the actual photo of those “tens of thousands” that, in fact, may have been all of a single ten thousand or so in the streets in a show of tepid support at best and not what anyone would call “mass.” Shame on BBC and its reporter in Caracas Greg Morsbach for lying for the power interests he serves, so he reports what they want put out even if it’s not true.

Based in Caracas for the BBC, correspondent Morsbach must knows a massive crowd when he sees one as Hugo Chavez draws them every time he addresses a rally that routinely turns out en masse in a tsunami of red-shirted supporters to see, hear and cheer him. He surely can tell the difference between a huge Chavez crowd and the puny one for Mr. Rosales on October 8, many of whom were likely just on the Caracas streets and curious to see what was going on. BBC must think this kind of misreporting is the way to maintain a gilt-edged reputation as a reliable news service. The sad truth is that reputation got tarnished many years ago and went to pieces in the shameless reporting the UK-based news organization did in the run-up to the Iraq war when it’s entire news operation went into overdrive functioning as a state propaganda service for our government and theirs.

But back to the Morsbach report in which he claims the so-called mass rally “filled the main avenues of the city centre (and) was the biggest opposition rally Venezuela has seen since early 2004.” It may have been about the only one of any size seen, and it may have partially filled a single avenue, but as the actual photo on’s site shows, it thinned out fast after moving away from its small core center. Correspondent Morsbach may be nearsighted and failed to notice. Surely on BBC pay he can afford to correct that impediment so he can see more clearly and report more accurately in the future.

Morsback shamelessly continues: “Young and old (how could he tell even in a smallish-sized crowd) took to the streets to throw their weight behind the campaign of Mr. Rosales…..Many claim they were seeking liberty and democracy (did he wade into the “crowd” and interview large numbers them) and that made Mr. Rosales their only option.” Mr. Morsback needs a reawakening to reality. All reliable opinion polls show Hugo Chavez’s popularity is overwhelming making him unbeatable in the upcoming December presidential election short of another US-directed coup against him which is very possible. Zulia Governor Rosales, on the other hand, is a US picked oligarch stooge whose role in the election isn’t to win but to cause enough mischief in an attempt to discredit Chavez and create a staged uprising to unseat him. Correspondent Morsback doesn’t explain this because if he dares to BBC will replace him with someone else who’ll suppress this ugly truth and stick to the black propaganda party line.

BBC does let Morsback report something factual at the end of his article though it’s hardly newsworthy: “For some (maybe most) it was simply a day out to enjoy the sunshine….” But he quickly reverted to his assigned role as a propagandist claiming: “If Mr. Rosales can keep up this kind of pressure against his rival, the election results may not necessarily be a foregone conclusion.” Pressure? The only kind he cites in his piece is Rosales’ weak-kneed comments that Venezuela was “at (an unexplained) crossroads,” and Mr. Chavez was “giving away Venezuela’s oil wealth to foreign powers (absurd and false as anyone understanding Chavez’s enlightened ALBA initiative knows.)”

Morsback ends his piece on a high note though as he may have had a pang of conscience (and BBC’s permission) in his otherwise shameless piece of black journalism. It forces him to admit that “Mr. Chavez still enjoys a clear lead in opinion polls because of a sense of loyalty that poor and working class voters feel toward him.” But Morsback’s conscience pangs weren’t strong enough to get him to try explaining why.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected] Also visit his blog site at

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Articles by: Stephen Lendman

About the author:

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III." Visit his blog site at Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

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