Welcome new readers, much obliged for all the attention to the reputation management story. An honour to be “Boinged” for the first time. Yesterday was this site’s highest readership in its three-year history. I guess taking 8 months to put together a blog post can pay off sometimes.
I need to just make a couple little clarifications. First of all, about the headline. The fact is, I don’t really care who protects the reputation of the Bolibourgeoisie. If it’s not one person, it will be another.
The point here is that the forces of opacity are winning in Venezuela. Now that the story is out (and so far no response from those mentioned), it’s worth mentioning that this story was turned down by a couple Venezuelan and a couple US media outlets. The US ones I am more sympathetic toward — it’s a weird foreign story and sadly, most people in SF or NY don’t know or care much about South America. But in Venezuela, I suspect it was rejected out of fear. This, for example: the government can cut off your supply of newsprint, sue you, and generally make your life miserable if you print the wrong thing. That makes news reporting difficult.
If news people around the Americas want to offer a bit of solidarity to their beleaguered colleagues in Venezuela, one way would be to support reporting on that country. Not just quoting Michael Shifter and Otto Reich again and again, but actually learning about what’s happening in Venezuela and reporting new, different stories. Ideally, hiring some of our skilled local colleagues and not counting on fools like me who haven’t even stepped foot in the country in over a year. Venezuela is the land of low-hanging scandal fruit. After seeing a news item in Business News Americas, I was able to show that PDVSA’s new insurance broker was shady. It took about an hour of actual work, maybe less. Yes, an insurance trade mag had the story first. But behind a very high paywall. I don’t claim to have scooped it, just that it’s a story anyone could have had.
This reputation story may have had a few minor effects. I see that all these sites are now offline: pornonomia.com, fustigado.com, modaenvenezuela.com, santosocorro.com, tomalaruta.com, pulcrolimpio.com, reparandoelcarro.com, teteracaliente.com, vientosdeboda.com, hottiesinamerica.com, informecandela.com, bebesano.com.ve, mueretedelarisa.com.ve, bebesano.com.ve, miralabelleza.com.ve, comoanilloaldedo.com.ve, elttdehoy.com.ve, comegatos.com.ve, comersano.com.ve, mientrasdormia.com.ve, modelosvenezuela.com.ve, venezolanosemprendedores.com, melonblues.com.
Google.com, the world’s most-used search engine, appears to have blacklisted all sites related to this whole reputation management effort. For example, Alek Boyd points out that the site Capsula Informativa is live, but a Google search for derwick site:capsulainformativa.com returns no results.
Searches on Bing still bring up results at the fakey sites.
I guess that’s why Google is the world’s most-used search engine.
More subtly, I see that Google has quite changed the search results for “Ramiro Helmeyer”. His personal pages are now lower down, while the stories about his role in the 1990s terror campaign in Caracas take up most of the first screen of hits.
And I see that Rafael Núñez brought back his Twitter feed, but blocked me. I don’t take it personally.