Jorge Ramos, in the New York Times: AMLO is a popular and powerful President, but he is not untouchable

“The President is not our boss. As journalists, we are responsible to our readers, viewers and listeners, and above all, to the truth. In the end, it’s a simple matter of credibility. And credibility is not achieved by being close to power, or praising it. [AMLO] You have to develop a thicker skin, “says Ramos, a journalist born in Mexico and considered, at different times in his career, one of the most influential individuals in the world.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador can be very powerful, and also very popular, but he is not untouchable, says journalist Jorge Ramos in a text published in The New York Times.

Ramos recently confronted the Mexican head of state during “La Mañanera”, the press conference he heads Monday through Friday. He told him that the numbers show that the violence is still uncontainable in Mexico. The President refuted that it is not so, that he has his own figures. This exchange sparked a wave of criticism from one to the other. Ramos stood up and walked to the stand to review with AMLO the figures projected on the wall that, at least until now, nobody had dared to question.

“Certainly,” writes the Univisión journalist, “the wild jungle of social networks can be brutal in the face of Lopez Obrador’s criticism. He is a very powerful President, he controls the Congress and he won the Presidency thanks in part to broad popular social support. More than 30 million people voted for him in a nation steeped in violence and corruption. After the disastrous presidency of Enrique Peña Nieto, it is understandable that López Obrador has managed to reap people’s hopes for change. Particularly among the most vulnerable Mexicans. “

“But that does not mean that AMLO is untouchable,” adds Ramos. “It would be serious for Mexico to resuscitate some of the practices of the period between 1929 and 2000 when the presidents dictated what could and could not be published. And the only way to avoid that is to be irreverent and disobedient towards authority. It is not a lack of respect; it is the way in which a vigorous and independent journalism is made “.

“The President is not our boss. As journalists, we are responsible to our readers, viewers and listeners, and above all, to the truth. In the end, it’s a simple matter of credibility. And credibility is not achieved by being close to power, or praising it. [AMLO] You have to develop a thicker skin, “says Ramos, a journalist born in Mexico and considered, at different times in his career, one of the most influential individuals in the world.

Jorge Ramos, author of Foreigner: the challenge of a Latino immigrant in the Trump era , says that one of the few points in common between AMLO and Donald Trump “is his evident annoyance and impatience with the press that questions them. Both have a very thin skin, they react in an exaggerated way to their adversaries and they show great skill in handling Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram “.

“These are different times, says López Obrador often. ‘The blessed social networks’, he has called them. But there is a significant difference between the two: López Obrador withstood and answered all my questions during the press conference in Mexico City, while Trump, in 2015, expelled me with a bodyguard from a press conference in Dubuque, Iowa”, adds the journalist.

“The governments of the United States and Mexico recently cooperated to get me out of Venezuela, along with a Univision team, for which I am grateful after President Nicolás Maduro stopped us and confiscated our cameras and video cards from our interview with them. And they still have not returned anything to us, “he says.

Immediately after, he says:

“It is clear that Mexico is not and will not be Venezuela, and Mr. López Obrador has nothing to do with Mr. Maduro. Nor with the racist and xenophobic affronts of Trump. But the President of Mexico must not disqualify journalists who question their work. That is precisely our job. Personal attacks are unnecessary and, unfortunately, proliferate and intensify dangerously in social networks. Especially if they come from the President. “

“Just as most journalists do not question their well-earned legitimacy – I always called them” Mr. President “at the press conference – he does not have to resort to unnecessary disqualifications either. Nor to ask media like Reforma to violate journalistic ethics. López Obrador says he wants transparency. But if he had made known the letter he sent to the King of Spain, Reforma would not have had to resort to his sources to publish the text, “says the journalist.

The power-press relationship “will always be charged with tension,” says Jorge Ramos. “But in a democracy under construction like the Mexican one it is fundamental to discuss, defer and dialogue; Do not disqualify. The challenge is to continue living together, although sometimes we do not agree. Yes, these are other times in Mexico. The journalists and the president are learning to coexist. But we inhabit different spaces. Ours must always be on the other side of power. Whoever exercises it, “he concludes.

Source: sinembargo

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