Rafael Correa, El Universo, and the New York Times
The New York Times, that very bastion of integrity and high minded service to Truth, is absolutely appalled at the “staggering, shameful blow to the country’s democracy” resulting from the recent criminal libel judgment obtained by Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa against the country’s largest newspaper El Universo.
Like virtually all major newspapers in Latin America, El Universo has consistently aligned itself with the ruling elites that dominate these neo-feudal societies. These corporate conglomerates are owned by the major land and commercial oligopolies and their daily output is well filtered to promote their interests along, of course, with that of their advertisers. The corporate media throughout the world operates this way; they’re little more than grotesque propaganda organs of power and should be seen as the very antithesis of democracy. They’re political institutions, and anyone who believes money should be removed from politics should agree that money should also be removed from the major institutions that have the ability to shape public opinion.
I admit the issue of how exactly the press should be regulated is difficult. But, contrary to the self serving opinion of the elites sitting at the Times, I don’t at all believe an unaccountable press owned by corporate titans is something that needs to be preserved. Exactly the opposite. The interests of true democracy would seem to require that this power be attacked, and so I’d say on balance Correa’s move against El Universo is a net plus for democracy.
As an aside, I find it interesting that the New York Times apparently has a business relationship with El Universo, as can be seen by a direct link to the Times on El Universo’s online site. Shouldn’t this be disclosed?
Update: I also can’t help but note the absurdity of the Times calling on the US government “to loudly protest Mr. Correa’s assault on a free press and his cynical hijacking of Ecuador’s judicial system“. Should we laugh? No institution on this side of the galaxy, at least since the Spanish government of a few centuries back, has so consistently attacked the interests of the South American majority as the government of the US. Such blatant cynicism!