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López Obrador and the media: bad press for his legacy

2024-02-24T05:02:32.041Z

Highlights: López Obrador and the media: bad press for his legacy. The constant disagreements with reporters and editors erode the credibility of the Mexican president. The president's ability, even physical, to stand up every day in front of dozens of reporters who ask him about anything is worthy of mention. But his legacy will also suffer from the democratic deficit that not giving interviews to the media as social interlocutors means for the head of any Executive. Many presidents begin their mandate on a honeymoon with the media and end up divorcing them.


The constant disagreements with reporters and editors erode the credibility of the Mexican president


Andrés Manuel López Obrador's relationship with the media has hinged on two constants during his six-year term: his exposure to journalists every morning and his attacks on the press, even with a weekly section for it.

With the first he has managed to place his message with great success, with the second he has earned an authoritarian image, of an angry president with a small waist.

Both aspects will define his six-year term, already in the final stretch.

The president's ability, even physical, to stand up every day in front of dozens of reporters who ask him about anything, is worthy of mention;

But his legacy will also suffer from the democratic deficit that not giving interviews to the media as social interlocutors means for the head of any Executive.

Many presidents begin their mandate on a honeymoon with the media and end up divorcing them.

López Obrador, however, has been faithful to his line from the first moment.

Last Wednesday, the president surprised with a long interview given to journalist Inna Afinogenova for the Spanish channel Red, directed by Pablo Iglesias, founder of the left-wing party Podemos, where the most burning issues that anyone would ask a person about were not discussed. president.

The same week that he harshly attacked a reporter from

The New York Times

for an article in which the president's contacts with drug traffickers were suggested.

Days before, another American colleague was the target of darts for a similar report.

Therefore, the six-year term closes in the same vein in which it began.

Maybe something braver.

Among journalists who regularly attend the morning conference, criticism is widespread that fewer and fewer independents and more acolytes attend it.

For the president, the media are “manipulative,” with exceptions, something that not everyone agrees with.

Columnist Sergio Aguayo makes history: “In the United States Library of Congress I have documented that in 1920 there were 550 newspapers in Mexico and 10% grouped in an organization of editors.

Almost all of the current media were founded after the 1910/17 revolution in which they fought against the dictator Porfirio Díaz and Victoriano Huerta and earned a place in the revolutionary family,” Aguayo describes.

Those newspapers also played an important role in the authoritarian drift of presidents Álvaro Obregón and Plutarco Elías Calles.

For Aguayo, the media also resists today with a particular figure from Mexico, the chronicler columnist, "who provides information and opinions, giving rise to political debate."

“I have been writing since 1971, I know the Mexican press well and with its ups and downs I can say that there is current independent journalism, which in past decades remained firm in the States,” says Aguayo.

He believes that there is resistance in the press against a president “with an undoubted authoritarian vocation.”

The attacks on the press, sometimes blatant, in a country that registers an intolerable number of fatalities among reporters is something that has been pointed out to the president on occasions.

One of the organizations dedicated to documenting this issue, Article 19, has also been a victim of presidential attacks.

Its regional director for Mexico and Central America, Leopoldo Maldonado, highlights the triple function of a press in democracy: “Search, receive and disseminate information and ideas of all kinds.

The media is the vehicle for scrutiny of the public, something that not any citizen can do,” he says.

“Throughout Latin America there are leaders who defend direct dialogue with the people, their transparency and identification with the citizen without intermediaries.

That is fallacious and dangerous with disagreements, which run the risk of being rejected by the political community.

“Some of these leaders end up coming to terms with media outlets they criticized before, but they continue to lash out at independents, even individual people,” he says.

Maldonado explains that they are not as bothered by “the big media that monopolize the information as those, although small, that criticize them and bring to light acts of corruption.”

López Obrador's almost absent relationship with the press is something that his successor, if Claudia Sheinbaum finally wins the elections, will have to differentiate herself from, believes Claudia Benassini, researcher at Lasalle University and expert in Digital Practices.

He believes that the president's presentation to the press every morning is enviable, "when others have had to replace him it has been a failure, even the conference given by the opposition candidate, Xóchitl Gálvez, every day is not functional", but it is not enough , says.

“Reporters must be allowed to do their job, the media is the channel that puts citizens in contact with the president.

López Obrador's attitude only favors the reproduction of false notes, misinformation and the increasing presence of digital media that have little to do with journalism.

He only pretends to be reporters and speaks well of him.

“What is happening has little to do with democratic quality,” she says.

Any president can choose who to give interviews to or not, “everyone has their own media, but the deep contempt that López Obrador expresses for the press is a perhaps irremediable mistake for his succession,” says Benassini.

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Source: elparis

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