The Listening Post

Less paper, more Maduro: Venezuela’s media crisis

Nicolas Maduro starts his second term as president of crisis-ridden Venezuela. Plus, political eulogies in the US media.

On The Listening Post this week, Nicolas Maduro starts his second term as President of Venezuela, a country with empty shelves and shuttered newsrooms. Plus, political eulogies in the US media.

Earlier this month, Nicolas Maduro was sworn in for a second term as Venezuela’s president. The election that got him there has been widely condemned as having been rigged, and opposition voices were mostly absent from the airwaves.

The case against Maduro’s treatment of the media is compelling. His critics contend that since he first took office in 2013, 33 newspapers and almost 100 radio and TV stations have been censored or shut down, while 50 journalists have been prosecuted.

Venezuelans now suffer not only under chronic shortages of food and medicine, but also of paper – adding a further barrier to the free flow of information in the country.


Bernardino Herrera, Media scholar, Central University of Caracas
Xabier Coscojuela, Director, Tal Cual
Omar Lugo, Director, El Estimulo
María Alejandra Diaz, Human Rights Commission of Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly

On our radar

Richard Gizbert speaks to producer Tariq Nafi about the Sudanese government’s efforts to muzzle media outlets covering the country’s ongoing protests, and the elaborate prank that saw the Wall Street Journal report a hoax as fact. 

‘Obit-omit’: Political eulogies in US media

Journalists occasionally serve up obituaries that are reverential. The US news media produced a few of them last year – first for the former senator and two-time presidential candidate John McCain and then for George H W Bush, the country’s president from 1989 to 1993, who died in November.

Bush’s obituary suffered from a syndrome critics call ‘obit-omit’, focusing on attributes and achievements, while controversial aspects of his record – among them alleged war crimes were omitted. In doing so, such tributes often reveal more about the news organisations producing them than they do about the deceased.

The Listening Post‘s Daniel Turi reports on the politics of eulogy and what can amount to the whitewashing of history, in real time.


Jeet Heer – Contributing editor, The New Republic
Jeff Greenfield – Political analyst & author
Vijay Prashad – Author, ‘The Darker Nations’
Amy Goodman – Cofounder & host, Democracy Now!