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There’s very little truth to anything you’ve read about the coup in American newspapers.
President Manuel Zelaya is no radical. He approved a big minimum wage increase, which was desperately needed in a country where so many workers are poor, but he otherwise has been a very cautious, ineffectual reformer. The intensity of the reaction against him by the Honduran elite — as seen in the coup — reflects the feudal mentality of the traditional economic and political leadership, not Zelaya’s politics.
Zelaya was not seeking to stay in power by unconstitutional means; even if his political reforms had succeeded, he would have been out of power within the year. The only side guilty of unconstitutional action is the coup plotters.
Based on his response to events in Honduras, Barack Obama may as well be Ronald Reagan or George Bush when it comes to coups in Latin America. The Obama administration initially managed to muster “concern” about the coup, and has been acting in a cowardly fashion ever since. The only reason it has moved at all was that it was forced by the united front by Latin governments of left and right. If Zelaya is returned to power, it won’t be because of anything Obama did.
The American media does not believe in democracy, as seen in the routine portrayal of a moral equivalence between the elected government and the coup plotters. The Washington Post is the worst of the pack. For its editorial page, “democracy” is strictly utilitarian; it’s OK when our side wins; otherwise, we will justify vote-rigging or military action by the other side, even while pretending we support constitutional order.
But what else would you expect from a newspaper that fired its only opinion writer who was right about Iraq and that has offered to sell its reporters to the highest bidder? Maybe the Honduran military is buying up advertising space in the Post in order to ensure favorable treatment from Fred Hiatt & Co.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”