by Gene Callahan
The kind of writing that craftily describes political situations, not in order to get at the truth of what is going on, but in order to bolster some party platform, always upsets me. The kind of moves made are similar no matter what party is writing the propaganda, so analyzing a sample from one side of an issue — like the one found here — is useful for tuning one’s “propaganda radar” to detect BS coming from the other side(s) as well.
Mr. Avni’s editorial is purportedly about the situation in Honduras, but it’s true purpose is to paint President Obama as being an enemy of the US. Let’s take a look at the kind of underhanded writing techniques that can be used when all one cares about is scoring points for one’s own side:
“Obama threw his lot in with deposed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya…”
Well, Obama “threw his lot in with” the idea that democratically elected leaders shouldn’t be deposed by military coups. How much he likes Zelaya himself may have nothing to do with that lot throwing.
“If Venezuelan forces try to impose Zelaya against the wishes of every other democratic institution in Honduras…”
So, now constitutional government is run according to the “wishes” of political actors, and not according to a set of rules that call for a presidential election in Honduras in November of this year? And if the democratically elected president and congress in the US decide, say, to cancel the Bill of Rights, will that be fine with Mr. Avni?
“Announcing his plan to return to his country tomorrow to resume the role that ‘the people’ chose him for, [Zelaya] broadly attacked the Honduran ‘power elite’ that just exiled him.”
Notice the scare quotes around “the people.” Well, Zelaya was elected president of Honduras, wasn’t he? And wasn’t that done by “the people” of Honduras? So isn’t Zelaya’s statement simply a matter of fact, and the scare quotes simple propaganda?
“After he was sworn in Sunday, Micheletti [the current, acting president] called it all an ‘absolutely legal transition process’…”
Well, I’m sure he does. But does the Honduran constitution really have a proviso about removing the president through military force if you don’t like his decisions? Wouldn’t a little independent analysis of the legality of the manuever carry a bit more weight than a declaration from a president appointed by the rebels?
“But the military’s involvement leads many in Europe and the United States to think ‘coup.'”
So, when the military deposes the democratically elected head of a state, many in the US and Europe are led to “think” coup. Maybe that’s because that’s the definition of a coup?! Could that be what’s leading them to “think” coup?
And, finally, Mr. Avni’s thrilling conclusion:
“Hmm. Obama very publicly refrained from intervening in an internal Iranian affair earlier this month. Yet, in the more complex Honduran crisis, he resolutely and rapidly took a side — and not our side.”
A few points:
1) Why is “Iranian” in italics? The point seems to be that the reader should be thinking Obama = Iran, or something of the sort.
2) “The more complex Honduran crisis..” What’s that about? Avni just got done explaining to us how very simple and straightforward all of this is — Zelaya is a socialist creep who was about to seize power, and some virtuous democratic institutions rose and saved the Honduran republic. Where did this complexity suddenly come from?
3) “[Obama] took a side — and not our side.” Yes, of course, Obama is secretly a Muslim and he choose “their” side because he’s a traitor to the US and is promoting jihad.
In closing, let me note that I have no horse in this Honduran race. Perhaps Zelaya was a real bastard — I don’t know. Perhaps he himself was going to illegally seize more power than the constitution gives him. Perhaps the situation is more ambiguous than the Obama administration is portraying it to be. But I do know this op-ed is not designed in the least to enlighten us about the complexities of Honduran politics, but only to make Obama look bad regardless of the facts.