The Hugo Chavez Show examines the Venezuelan president’s rise to power, media use

Tuesday night, PBS’ Frontline debuts The Hugo Chavez Show, a documentary about the Venezuelan president. The full 90-minute documentary is also viewable online.

While it uses “interviews with former government officials, Chavez associates and ordinary Venezuelans” to “[chronicle] Chavez’s ascent to power and his efforts to use the powers of the presidency to stay there,” Frontline says it highlights “the key role of the media–or, rather, Chavez’s savvy use of the media–in his rise to power.”

Specifically, it explores Chavez’s weekly TV show, Aló Presidente, that runs five or eight hours (!) every episode. Journalist Jon Lee Anderson says in the documentary that “Chavez is easily caricatured because he can be funny; he can seem buffoonish on his Aló Presidente. He sings; he gets involved in wordplay. … He’s probably the world’s first virtual president in the age of the communication revolution.”

Here’s an excerpt:

The Hugo Chavez Show [PBS]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.