Misstatements and Factual Errors: New York Times Gets it Wrong in Piece on My Film

The New York Times' Larry Rohter attacked our film, South of the Border, for "mistakes, misstatements and missing details." But a closer examination of the piece reveals that the mistakes, misstatements, and missing details are his own, and that the film is factually accurate. I urge Americans to visit www.southoftheborderdoc.com and see for themselves the litany of factual errors made by Rohter and the pervasive evidence of animus and conflict of interest in his attempt to discredit the film. I prefer to focus here on other important points the film aims to elevate.

As shown in South of the Border, since Latin America started electing left and center-left governments, beginning with the election of Hugo Chávez in 1998 in Venezuela, and followed by Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Ecuador, El Salvador, and others, major U.S. media outlets have often provided distorted and biased coverage of the region. This coverage has often portrayed Latin America's shift toward progressive governments as a destabilizing and undemocratic force for the region and a threat to American national security.

Consequently, most media reports on Venezuela frame their stories in ways that are likely to make American audiences distrustful and apprehensive of Venezuela. These frames are reinforced by commonly repeated media myths and inaccuracies that further tend to portray the Venezuelan government as an enemy of the United States, and as an increasingly totalitarian government that is stifling dissent, cracking down on the press, and eroding democratic freedoms.

I have no problem with honest debate surrounding the issues raised in South of the Border or for that matter and of my films. I know very well that my films are provocative and in fact they are intended to promote discussion and to move people to seek information and answers for themselves rather than having it spoon fed to them by uninformed reporters. We have all been victims of years and years of blighted journalism and I pointed that out at the National Press Club last week before a room full of journalists. South of the Border takes an unflinching look at the role the media has played in perpetuating and disseminating misinformation to Americans, and I like to think that it is a counter to the imbalance that has existed. There's a great story unfolding in South America and it needs to be told.

Also Read Bob Naiman's Huffington Post blog "NYT Attacks Border with False Rant of Pro Coup Reporter".