Via Newsbusters. I’m too young to remember the far left apologizing for Soviet crimes but I did get a frisson of phantom nostalgia watching this useful idiot casually endorse the sort of authoritarianism that would have had him nailing himself to a cross if Bush had tried it. True to vintage form, it comes replete with a Big Lie: there’s nothing online that I can find to support his claim that RCTV, the station whose license wasn’t renewed, called for Chavez’s assassination “every day.” The opposition station that allegedly called for his assassination — once — was Globovisión, and even so, the alleged threat was highly ambiguous. RCTV lost its license supposedly because it supported a coup attempt against Chavez in 2002, but there are numerous problems with that theory. Reporters Without Borders investigated the incident earlier this year and found as follows:

Widely condemned abroad, RCTV’s closure was much more than just an administrative measure. It was a political move without precedent in Latin America, a key element in a government takeover of the broadcast media that is part of a determined effort to control and occupy the entire public arena…

The press freedom organisation found that the decisions to close RCTV and transfer its terrestrial broadcast channel to a new public TV station, Televisora Venezolana Social (Tves), were conducted outside of all regular legal channels and in defiance of the jurisprudence established by the Organisation of American States, to which Venezuela belongs.

According to WaPo, RCTV was known most widely for soap operas and for a three-year-old interview program that hammered Chavez regularly for his creeping fascism. Which brings us to our exit question: Did Penn know the truth and choose to suppress it or did he blindly accept el presidente’s version without inquiring further into the matter? Either way, David Letterman’s viewers now think Chavez was simply trying to keep the peace by disarming a radical group with designs on his life. Mission accomplished, Spicoli. Click the image to watch.

Update: HuffPo naturally thought it was just super.

penn-dave.jpg