If you want a simple test to determine if a news source is in the fake news business, examine what it writes about Venezuela. If it writes about the mass starvation, riots, and shortages with no mention of socialism's role in the disaster, then you know that it's fake news provider.
The fate of Venezuela, which has the largest oil reserves in the world, ought to be the final lesson conclusively proving that socialism is a delusion that impoverishes those it purports to help. An entire nation is starving, unable to feed itself, generate enough electricity, or produce toilet paper. In the midst of boundless opportunity, its economy is grinding to a halt because of socialism.
Yet Bernie Sanders, an explicit socialist who never even joined the Democratic Party, is the most popular figure on the left, and he enjoys huge support among the journalist class. Dishonesty about socialism's failures has led to a huge percentage of Americans (roughly 4 in ten) saying they prefer socialism to capitalism. While it is tempting to label this a failure of American education and journalism, the fact is that it represents the triumph of propaganda over reality. If people understood the fallout socialism brings as clearly as Venezuelans now do, they would reject progressives.
Investor's Business Daily has been examining the reporting of major news outlets in the United States on Venezuela and has found that socialism is escaping much responsibility:
When the New York Times wrote about Venezuela's ongoing collapse a year ago, it described how the country was suffering "painful shortages … even of basic foods," and how "electricity and water are being rationed, and huge areas of the country have spent months with little of either."Here is how the Times explained the reason for Venezuela's dire situation: "The growing economic crisis (was) fueled by low prices for oil, the country's main export; a drought that has crippled Venezuela's ability to generate hydroelectric power; and a long decline in manufacturing and agricultural production."There's no mention – not one – of the fact that Hugo Chávez tried to turn Venezuela into a socialist paradise, policies that his successor Nicolás Maduro has continued. The Times' coverage is par for the course. ...Chavez nationalized the oil industry, agricultural operations, transportation, power generation, telecommunications, steel production, banks. Today Venezuela is the third least free economy in the world, ahead of only Cuba and North Korea.As a direct result of those actions, Venezuela went from being on the wealthiest countries in South America – one rich in natural resources – to a country where people are literally fighting for scraps of food. Last year, Venezuela's economy shrank 18%. The unemployment rate is 25% and climbing. Inflation could reach 2,068% next year. Riots have become routine.
No other petro-state on the planet is experiencing anything like the devastation in Venezuela. As one of the wits at Powerline put it, North Dakota has also suffered in the oil price bust, but there is no shortage of toilet paper in the Peace Garden State. There are plenty of other journalists unwilling to consider the effects of socialism.
The Los Angeles Times says it's only "anti-government protesters" who "blame Venezuela's economic crisis on the policies of Maduro and his predecessor, Hugo Chávez." While "supporters of the government say the culprits are a drop in international oil prices as well as 'corrupt' business leaders."
There's no attempt made by the reporter to say who is right.An explainer by the Associated Press says the "oil boom and bust" is to blame for the crisis. "The plunge in world oil prices has left the government owing money across the board, from foreign airlines to oil service companies. Most of the anti-poverty gains made under Chavez have been erased and people are grappling with severe food and medicine shortages."USA Today said that the reason Venezuelans were resorting to hunting dogs and pigeons for food was because "although Venezuela has the world's largest petroleum reserves, the country has suffered from a combination of lower oil prices and tight limits on dollar purchases that have cut off vital food and most other imports. The result has been a plunging economy and the world's highest inflation rate – above 700%."Others blamed a drought for the country's problems. The Wall Street Journal reported last spring that "the newer hardships are water scarcity and increasingly critical power blackouts – a byproduct of the lack of water in a country dependent on hydroelectric dams."
If the agony Venezuela is undergoing does not teach a lesson to the rest of the world, then it will have accomplished nothing. Yet, because so few Americans care deeply about Venezuela, they may be willing to accept the excuses proffered by so many in the journalistic and academic worlds. That can only mean more suffering in the future, as socialism remains attractive for what it promises, not for what it delivers.