As I was, basically, ridiculing the arguments of a couple of propaganda hacks (Alex Main, former Venezuela Information Office agent now with Weisbrot's CEPR, and George Ciccariello-Maher, a Drexler "assistant professor" who's been cheering for Chavez for donkey's years), I decided to put a sign in front of me (pictured), during the first break. At that point, presenter Peter Lavelle said that I had to remove the sign, as the debate was about Chavez's legacy. Unfortunately, I was not allowed to argue my case about Maria Afiuni, who IS part of that legacy.
In the last two days I have been asked to comment on Chavez's death for the BBC World Service, BBC News, BBC's World Have Your Say and BBC's Radio 5. In the last two programs, two other "professors" made untenable claims, along the lines of that there was true independence of institutions in Venezuela (Julia Buxton dixit), or that Chavez had won 14 free, fair and transparent elections in Venezuela (believes Mike Gonzalez). Today, it was the turn of "assistant professor" Ciccariello-Maher, who said that thanks to Chavez, Venezuela's disenfranchised had access to health and education for the first time. Neither could provide coherent explanations to my factual counterarguments of course.
Coming back to Cross Talk, I don't know whether they will dare to broadcast my participation in the program, until I was kicked out that is. I hope they do. But I realise they're in an impossible to win situation. If they do air the program, their kicking me out after I put the sign up asking for Maria Afiuni's and Pussy Riot's freedom, is likely to go viral, thus a PR disaster. If they decide to edit out my participation completely, and pretend that it never happened, that is also a PR disaster, for then it will be impossible to claim that they are an objective news provider where freedom of expression can be exercised fully.
It's one of those: A4 cardboard? 20 pence; marker? £1; ride to TV studio? paid for; getting kicked out of Putin's propaganda channel for putting up a sign asking for innocent political prisoners to be freed? priceless!