Crisis of Venezuelan Journalism: The Amanda Umek Case

Editorial Note: We do not have doubts on the US visa granting for Amanda Umek and in no time she will be working in Univision, CNN or Fox News.

02/Mar/2019.- In the course of the last hours, the denunciation of the alleged forced disappearance of the Venezuelan journalist, Amanda Umek, went viral on social networks in Venezuela and other countries.

The National Union of Workers of the Press (SNTP) in Venezuela, said that after 2 o’clock on Saturday afternoon, Umek had left her house and until the time of the report, her whereabouts were unknown.

The union of journalists published threatening messages (without clarifying the origin) against Umek in the social network Instagram, following some recently published photos of the Venezuelan actor, Roberto Messuti (and chavista constituent), which were interpreted as the cause of her disappearance. The reasoning was as automatic as it was fallacious: given that the Venezuelan actor is a Chavista, so it was the Venezuelan government that kidnapped her was the conclusion to the threats received.

The rumor about the alleged forced disappearance was spread quickly in social networks, pushed by the anti-chavista influencers, Naky Soto and Luis Carlos Diaz, who endowed with automatic credibility the complaint of Umek’s husband, Rainiero Pedroza. Pedroza was emphatic in saying that what he was saying was not a lie and that his state of concern was “quite big”.

 

By that time, the trial of public opinion, promoted under an orchestrated action, had dictated a verdict: the Venezuelan government was responsible for the disappearance of the “journalist”. And it was precisely the OAS Secretary General, Luis Almagro, who ended up reinforcing this idea through his Twitter account, “blaming the dictatorship usurpadora” of what could happen to Amanda Umek.

The vast majority of opposition Venezuelan media (Caraota Digital, El Estímulo, etc.) and some internationals that follow the Venezuelan situation (NTN 24, La República, among others), followed the trend and orchestrated to inject credibility into the story of the  forced disappearance.

(NOTE THE SENSITIVE PHOTO TWITTER MESSAGE!!!)

From now on, it would be difficult to count the political and media spokesmen of anti-chavismo who would join the accusation that Umek was effectively disappeared by “the dictatorship”. In turn, the tension generated in social networks was used as an opportunity to distract attention from what is truly important: the disappointment of anti-chavismo and the crisis of credibility of its leadership in the face of the obvious erosion of the plan to overthrow Nicolás Maduro.

The high expectations of a “quick fracture” of chavismo through a US or multilateral military intervention, has opened the way to a wave of disenchantment and frustration in the foundations of anti-chavismo, as these possibilities are removed in the immediate future.

Umek was also an opportunity to revive the involvement of the United States satellite countries in the region, with a view to projecting the idea that the sanctions agenda against Venezuela should be maintained to prevent the continued “forced disappearances” against journalists.

For this reason, the local and regional ultra, represented by María Corina Machado and Luis Almagro mainly, claimed the fact as a personal and vital case for their scheme of harassment and lynching of the Venezuelan institutions.

 

 

 

THE TURN AND SUBSEQUENT REACTIONS
In the course of the afternoon, when the story was closed, the journalist Angela Vera turned the story around.

Vera commented through her Twitter that yesterday afternoon she had information about Amanda Umek which dismantled the version of her disappearance from SNTP.

Umek had bought an air ticket to leave the country. She supplemented arguing that Pedroza, Umek’s husband, had lied to the union irresponsibly, estimating that the journalist, having no US visa, would be in Mexico to request asylum in the United States.

Pedroza was waiting for Amanda in Florida, United States, while saying earlier that she was missing.

In short: Umek faked her disappearance, her husband covered it up and the media and spokesmen of anti-chavismo replicated the lie.

From that moment, the media orchestration and political actors would be revealed, in this order:

 

Faced with the fact that Umek was not really missing, opinions of rejection and annoyance arose for having pretended and taken advantage of the mechanisms of denunciation of the union.

 

 

 

A SITUATION TO RETHINK JOURNALISM IN VENEZUELA
In the recent history of Venezuelan journalism, on a strictly professional scale, the Umek case will be registered as a demonstration of lack of professionalism and honesty. So much for Umek, who took advantage of “journalists protection mechanisms” to win an asylum in the United States, feigning a story mixed with alleged threats against her, as for the SNTP itself and the rest of the anti-Chavez journalists, who did not verify the information, gave as true the version of a forced disappearance, to then give lessons of what should not be done.

But on an ethical scale, the Umek affair occasions a rethinking of the current state of crisis of Venezuelan journalism. On the one hand, due to the crisis of credibility and deformities in the exercise of journalism that have had years of US funding through NGOs, a means by which “information professionals” were turned into political and propaganda agitators; who are impossible to trust.

In short, neither  Umek, nor those who propagated the lie and then backed out, are interested in what society thinks of them, because their activity does not depend on the relationship with the users. That extreme narcicism, combined with the funding of the United States that removed the category of work from journalism, condemned this profession to failure in Venezuela.

In another order, of much greater severity, with the Umek case, made visible is how this induced and well-financed metamorphosis dissolved the basic rules of journalism, making access to information not a right, but an act of neurosis, hysteria and constant concern for society.  An objective of war.

The death of journalism in Venezuela had never been so naked before.

 

Source URL: Mision Verdad

Translated by JRE/EF

 

Crisis of Venezuelan Journalism: The Amanda Umek Case