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miércoles, abril 06, 2005

Spinning Argentina

I mentioned on Sunday that continuing U.S. pressure had finally convinced Argentina to make a public statement agreeing (halfheartedly) that they share the United States' concerns that Chavez's arms purchases could lead to a regional arms race.

What's interesting is that the English version of this story emphasizes the Argentine foreign minister's criticism of Venezuela's arms purchases, while the Spanish version, covering the same talk given by Argentina's Defense Minister José Pampuro, emphasized Pampuro's insistence that since Venezuela has a democratically elected and stable government, Argentina is not going to meddle in Venezuelan politics.

The respective headlines I noticed were, in English, "Argentina Worried Venezuela Could Trigger Arms Race-Report" and in Spanish (my translation), "Argentina: Venezuela has a 'democratic government'".

Ah, the powers of spin.

And the thing of it is that neither article is committing a falsehood; the authors have simply chosen different points of Pampuro's speech on which to focus. I think this is the most pervasive, and most difficult to eliminate, form of media spin: framing what is important and what is not.

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