Crossing the Line: was it Carmen or Calderon?

8 Feb

Mexican journalist Carmen Aristegui

Yesterday followers of respected Mexican journalist Carmen Aristegui found out that her morning radio/television program had been cancelled, and Carmen herself fired from broadcaster MVS Noticias. The reason behind the move by MVS was ostensibly her breeching of its code of journalistic ethics.

The previous Friday, Carmen had referred to an earlier incident in the national  Chamber of Deputies, where politicians of the left had brandished a banner that graphically broached a subject that has been much discussed but never proven: to wit, President Felipe Calderon’s excessive fondness for the bottle.

“Would you let a drunk drive your car?” said the banner. “Then why let one drive your country?” Deputies from Calderon’s National Action party protested and took down the offending standard, yet as Carmen asked during her Friday program, “ Does Felipe Calderon have problems of alcoholism? This deserves, I insist, a serious, formal and official response from the presidency of the republic itself.”

While Calderon’s drinking problem may be a rumour, the incident in the Chamber of Deputies was certainly news. What’s more, if he were doing a relatively good job of governing the country, the answer might not even matter.

But certainly in his war against the drug cartels, the disastrous results of which I am writing about this week, does raise some serious questions about the man’s sense of judgment. Not to mention his deplorable inability in dealing with Mexico’s poverty, lack of democracy, lousy education system and various other ills.

Now, with Carmen’s abrupt sacking, that sense of judgment is even more dubious. Fielding accusations of censorship, the government says it had nothing to do with it. But just look at this sentence from  declaration made by presidential spokesperson, Alejandra Sota, to CNN this morning. “During the weekend, executives from MVS confirmed their decision to terminate the working contract with Aristegui,” she wrote, “for not having complied with the code of ethics she had signed with the company.”

As Seth Myers of Saturday Night Lives likes to say: “Really?” A company contacts you on a weekend to tell you they have fired someone and we’re to believe you had nothing to do with it? Really?

So now the question is clear – Did Carmen Aristegui cross a line?  Or was it in fact the government of Felipe Calderon in committing what looks a lot like censorship. To me, the answer seems equally clear, and only makes me wonder how dim-witted Felipe Calderon thinks we must all be.

 

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