Just two weeks after ABC News embarrassed itself by interviewing alleged hate-crime hoaxer Jussie Smollett without any questions regarding the implausibility of his claims, the media outlet has done it again.
ABC’s Tom Llamas flew to Venezuela to interview Dictator Nicolas Maduro and gave the leader free rein to lie about America without any tough questions and very little pushback.
“Tonight, the tension building in Venezuela's power struggle. Aid trucks set on fire over the weekend, as opposition groups tried in vain to bring over much-needed food and medical supplies, donated by the United States. Tonight, in a rare interview inside of his presidential palace, Nicolas Maduro telling ABC News he believes the U.S. is preparing a military invasion to get him out,” Llamas, a correspondent and weekend anchor, said at the beginning of the broadcast.
Throughout the report, Maduro makes numerous false statements, while Llamas, in a voiceover, seems eager to defend the dictator and find fault in the Trump administration. For example, Maduro claims, without evidence, that the U.S. “wants Venezuela’s oil and they’re having to go to war for that oil.”
Instead of correcting the record, Llamas pivots to point out that Vice President Mike Pence met with Venezuela Interim President Juan Guaido “and other South American leaders opposed to Maduro.” In fact, America doesn’t need Venezuela’s oil, nor is our country in need of it. America is now a net exporter of oil. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that the U.S. “is now the largest global crude oil producer in the world.”
Maduro, in the segment broadcast last night, is then shown saying: “Everything that the United States government has done has been condemned. They're trying to fabricate a crisis to justify political escalation and a military intervention in Venezuela to bring a war to South America.”
Condemned by who? As Newsbusters reported, “... the U.S.’s stance against Maduro’s regime had actually been backed up by many world powers, who also recognized interim-President Juan Guaido as the rightful leader.”
Instead of pointing out the facts, Llamas says Maduro is “refusing to budge” and “will not beg for the U.S.['s] help.”
Maduro then says Venezuela has had democratic elections for “for 20 years,” yet many world powers have criticized the elections as being rigged.
Finally, Llamas appears to put the blame on President Donald Trump by saying Maduro is willing to meet with the U.S. president, but “the Trump administration has made it clear, they do not want to negotiated with him.”
That is the shortened segment ABC decided to broadcast during “World News Tonight.” The full interview between Llamas and Maduro is not much better, although Llamas does push back on some aspects of the conversation. He still gives Maduro free rein to make wild claims that could be easily debunked, yet Llamas keeps steering the interview to allow Maduro to slam Trump.
In addition to the oil claim, Llamas tells Maduro what Trump has said about him, and allows Maduro to insult Trump by saying the president should “inform himself a little bit more” and that he is just reading speeches prepared for him by other people.
Llamas does push back against Maduro by telling the Venezuelan dictator about a United Nations report estimating hundreds of people have died due to Maduro’s government. Maduro responded by telling Llamas he was a liar, “just like Trump.”
Now compare this to the situation faced by Univision’s Jorge Ramos, whose tough interview with Maduro landed him and his crew in hot water with the Venezuelan government, who allegedly confiscated their footage and belongings.