Linked with Luis Macas Ambuludí – Ecuador.

Published on the Guardian, by Mark Weisbrot, July 26, 2007.

2 excerpts: In his recent book The Assault on Reason, former vice-president Al Gore describes how “the potential for manipulating mass opinions and feelings initially discovered by commercial advertisers is now being even more aggressively exploited by a new generation of media Machiavellis.” The concentration of broadcast media ownership is indeed a real threat to democracy, as we learned the hard way when more than 70% of Americans were convinced, falsely, that Saddam Hussein was involved in the attacks of September 11 – thus enabling the launch of a disastrous and unnecessary war in Iraq …

… In fact he (Ricardo Patino) states that it would be wrong to manipulate the market. The meeting ends with one of the investors stating that nothing would be done regarding the current debt payment – which was due three days after the videotaped meeting – but that they could think about what to do in the future.

But the TV media’s repeated, propagandistic images – playing on people’s cynicism from decades of corrupt government – had the most influence. This emboldened the opposition to make more wild allegations of secret deals with foreign banks, and vote to censure Patino in the Congress – which they control. All of this has been done without anyone presenting evidence that the finance minister was involved in any wrongdoing.

If all this seems Orwellian, it is. Ecuador currently has the most honest government it has ever had – that is why it has had so much support from the beginning. Yet the impression that is coming across in the media – both Ecuadorian and now spilling over into the international press – is one of corruption.

Correa remains immensely popular, and he has defended Patino, who has now taken another cabinet position. The government will survive this assault, and move forward with its agenda. But the opposition, led by the traditional elite and corrupt politicians, will use this “scandal” – with the help of the media – to undermine the government and the reforms that the voters have chosen. (full long text).

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