Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

February 13, 2006

Marc Cooper’s “Progressive” Rhetoric

Filed under: Uncategorized — louisproyect @ 9:43 am
by Gilles d’Aymery

(Swans – February 13, 2006) Some time ago in the prehistorical age of December 2005, a new on-line publication, Truthdig, another bona fide card holder of the much atrophied “progressive” wing of the Democratic Party, published a piece by one of its directors, journalist Marc Cooper. Truthdig boasts that it is “drilling beneath the headlines” with the help of experts — pwog experts, that is — and doesn’t leave any stones unturned, lies undeciphered, and truth untold. Mr. Cooper wrote an article, called a dig on Truthdig, on Venezuela and her president, — “The Big Blowup Over Venezuela” (please, do not go and read it just yet) in which he peddles the US State department line against Hugo Chávez. The rant is then followed by a long discussion on the Truthdig forum, which I’ll visit to show Mr. Cooper’s biases and his use of gutter rhetoric to dismiss his critics. But first, let’s dispense with the article.

In 4,000-plus digging words, Mr. Cooper goes about the examination of whether Mr. Chávez is a genuine leader walking the socialist path for the betterment of the Venezuelan people or a populist authoritarian who’s consolidating his power on the model of the dictator, Fidel Castro, or Juan Peron. Being the ultimate liberal that he is, Mr. Cooper’s exercise follows the well-established balancing act to which the US media has accustomed us. Having a preconceived outlook in line with the powers that be in Washington DC, think tanks, and honeyed political salons, he proceeds to present and review both sides of the argument. In journalistic parlance, it’s known as a balanced opinion in the mold of NPR or PBS’s NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. He looks at the evidence, cites “experts,” details the pros and cons of the argument, and, through many platitudes, leads the reader to the predictable outcome.

Let’s put it this way: Mr. Cooper’s verdict is closer to Mr. Rumsfeld (the Hitler analogy) and Carlos Fuentes (“Chávez is a demagogue, a tropical Mussolini”) than to William Loren Katz (see “The Meaning of Hugo Chávez”) or Harry Belafonte. Unbelievably, the entire dig makes no reference to the racial element of the struggle taking place in Venezuela; but Cooper cannot even fathom, or entertain the possibility, that the actions undertaken by the Chávez administration are a direct response to the positions (and actions) taken by the US government in alliance with the white elite and corporate interests. That Mr. Chávez is working hard on the consolidation of his power, which he has earned repetitively at the polls, is undeniable. It should be viewed and analyzed in light of the efforts to destabilize his administration and ultimately overthrow him. Strangely, one is left with the sentiment that the very significant threats posed to President Chávez, resulting in his legitimate defensive moves, are recurringly being ignored by pwogs, but they all the same brandish these defensive reactions as proof of the authoritarian nature of the Venezuelan regime. Perhaps Mr. Cooper would prefer a repeat of the 1973 Chilean experience that saw the killing of Salvador Allende and the advent of 17 years of darkness and fascist repression — just another sacrificial lamb to allow these refined liberals, from the comfort of their sinecure, to shed a few crocodile tears and shout “Neither Pinochet nor Chávez” (or anybody who does not espouse their great conception of a social democracy based on free-market neo-liberalism — e.g., Castro, Milosevic, et al.). Please excuse this little rhetorical snippet. Enough said.

Rhetoric, however, seems to be a forte of Mr. Cooper as the ensuing discussion on the forum proves abundantly — a discussion much worthier of reading than the article itself. On the one hand, because it demonstrates Cooper’s preconception and bias against Hugo Chávez in the first place, hence invalidating the contention that his presentation is “fair and balanced”; and on the other hand, it illustrates how he deals with his critics through demeaning comments, ad hominem attacks, name calling, innuendoes, guilt by association — the whole panoply of intellectually-challenged, score-card holder, members of the great American tradition of sold-out leftists and whoring columnists (I apologize to the second oldest profession, purveyor of much relief to human nature.) To make my point, I’ll highlight three individuals who got the brunt of Cooper’s dissing repertoire: Louis Proyect, Justin Delacour, and Camila Piñeiro Harnecker.

full: http://www.swans.com/library/art12/ga204.html

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