Crimes Against Journalism Exist… And They Justify Crimes against Humanity

By Clodovaldo Hernández on April 7, 2019

A silly event of fake news gives us the opportunity to carry out a live analysis, with real situations, of a scenario we could call crimes against journalism – no exaggeration intended.

It is about the upheaval caused by the fake disappearance of a Venezuelan journalist and the way the wicked mechanisms of infamy worked, instantaneously as everything does nowadays.

It’s a noteworthy fact that the story, based on simulating a criminal offence (which is a crime itself) and manipulating mass media, has been devised by a young journalist. In my opinion, this shows the ethical bankruptcy that professional journalism is undergoing today because it infringes on natural laws of what is real. As a matter of fact, young people -those who recently graduated from college- are usually worried about exhaustiveness in their profession. Many people are corrupted following years of work experience; they get disappointed, they adapt and get tired of defending good behavior. It is sad, but it seems like the great majority of new professional journalists are arriving at their new profession jaded and cynical; products of a mal-functioning manufacturer of accessible news in this regard.

The journalist in question is Amanda Umek, who committed the crime of false pretense and manipulation with a plan she concocted and then tried to pass it off as truthful news. First, she deliberately self-proclaimed she was “under threat” after releasing a video where pro-government deputy Roberto Messuti was at a beach allegedly during the blackout days to show the Maduro government was insensitive to this dramatic chain of events; second, she faked her own disappearance at the same time she was planning to flee the country. Third, she fostered other journalists and Venezuela’s Press Workers Union (SNTP) to echo the false denunciation.

But beyond the ideas of this (until now) almost unknown journalist, the behavior of significant agents in the communicational and political scenario given these events is a real issue of study. This is the case of the mentioned union, famous influencers, important journalists; NGOs specializing in defending freedom of the press, international agencies and foreign governments. A giant machinery that could provoke a casus belli out of a small incident or even of a lie; this is to say, a reason for war, intervention and military aggression.

In an ordinary scenario, deeds like Umek’s would be nothing but another anecdote of fake news. But in the current situation of complete war against the Venezuelan Government, even this kind of nonsense is part of a fierce and never-ending smear campaign. In this case, more important and influential actors have been brought in to be part of the sham, to act maliciously; this is to say, trying to be deliberately harmful.

The Endless Campaign

Let’s review each of these actors. We’ll start by the Press Workers Union (SNTP). Its board of directors would not resist the urge to echo any claim duly dressed with the morbid slogan, “dictatorial repression.”

They do not limit the spreading of an alert (as its secretary general Marco Ruiz  did in a follow up statement), rather they added fuel to the fire by adding some of their own ingredients. In this case, they said the journalist was “disappeared” after being threatened due to her profession. As two plus two equals four, their initial tweet implied that the evil regime had erased her from earth because she dared to show deputy Messuti wearing a swimsuit.

Then we find out Ms Umek was not disappeared but in Mexico trying to get a visa to enter the United States and join the group of political “exiled.” Then in cowardly fashion the SNTP leaders tried to escape from their responsibility in this smear campaign, making the alleged disappeared the only one to blame. Those who have known them for a while have every right to question their role in this because of their past history of multipliers of groundless denunciations.

As a matter of fact, those leaders should ask themselves how come a member of their union decided to deceive them and, above all, how come she makes it look so easy. This scene was not because the journalist is especially smart but because anyone can take advantage of the endless need of these unionists to feed the campaign of a failed State and of a tyranny that murders, disappears and tortures journalists. A campaign they try to hold onto despite the stubborn reality that will not allow them to show names of murdered, disappeared or tortured journalists that don’t exist.

Media, Journalists, Influencers

Generally speaking, what we just said about the SNTP union can be applied to journalists and influencers; after making a fuss about Umek’s disappearance, they went out to scold her as if she was a troublesome child.

They also tried to forget about the issue, as some families do in the face of a shameful episode. A well-known Twitter writer who lives in Miami tried to do so by posting: “Case closed.”

The old and new media companies in Venezuela and abroad did the same thing. It is a crime against journalism carried out by media gangs in a lynching style, where they spread fake information with accusations against a particular people and group openly aimed at causing damage. Then they reverse themselves, without ceremony, and say it was a false alarm.

Stoking the International Fires

Crimes against journalism would not have the same impact if they did not come across on a megaphone for the other component in the hegemonic device: the NGOs which we should really call fake NGOs.

Fake NGOs and some multilateral diplomatic personalities do exactly what the SNTP union did; that is to echo and denounce something they have not researched adding some of their own sensationalized and biased opinions to create and cement a scandal.

Reports drafted by fake NGOs about “violations to freedom of the press” usually include real events (which exist in Venezuela as in any other place in the globe) together with fake news. Nobody should be surprised if one of their documents includes “Amanda Umek’s disappearance” as if it was a real fact even after it has been exposed as a lie.

It would not be surprising either if some fake NGO blames the Maduro Administration or Chavistas for the Umek affair through an elegant storyline. This is what they did earlier this year when some media and influencers attached to the Venezuelan Government fake news about the alleged kidnapping of children.

This whole dirty affair is just more fuel on the fire for the total war carried out by the most powerful actors of the anti-Venezuelan orchestra. We then saw, in real time, with coarse irresponsibility, OAS Secretary Luis Almagro rushing to the scene to confirm the “disappearance” and charge the Maduro dictatorship with that “crime.” Once the real details of the Umek case became known, this “fake diplomat” has just remained silent.

On top of the pyramid, high above the fake disappeared, fake NGOs and fake diplomats, we see the imperial government. We don’t know if they will accept Umek’s clever trick and grant her a visa as a prize. But what we do know is that they will continue saying that there are hundreds of disappeared, imprisoned and tortured people and that it is necessary thus to make a humanitarian invasion to change our government.

The fact is, at the end of the route, crimes against journalism are useful to justify crimes against humanity. Anyone in doubt should check the recent and not so recent history of countries touched by the United States’ hand. But try to check the real one… Not a fake history.

Source: La Iguana, translation, Resumen Latinoamericano, North America bureau