On November 29, the de facto authorities in Honduras held a blatantly fraudulent election—complete with state violence against dissidents in the run-up to the voting, ballot irregularities, and manufactured turnout numbers.1 Sadly, some countries are recognizing these elections, giving unwarranted legitimacy to former de facto president Roberto Micheletti and the other coup leaders who took power in June.2
The mainstream news coverage has been a significant factor in portraying the Honduran election as a peaceful, legitimate exercise in democracy. By ignoring the abuses and corruption of the coup leaders before and during the election, the U.S. media in particular became complicit in thwarting Honduran democracy.
The coverage of the Honduran elections is especially interesting since it came on the heels of the uprising in Iran, which was triggered in June by an election widely denounced as fraudulent. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was accused of rigging the election to secure his victory over an opposition candidate who was less hostile toward the United States.3 In this case, The New York Times’ coverage was exhaustive; its editorials loudly condemned the Iranian leadership for abuses and fraud.4
But in the Honduran election—where those accused of fraud are advocates of the dominant neoliberal ideology of the United States—the Times’ editorial standards were dramatically different.
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