By RICARDO CASTILLO
Last week, Mexican journalist Carlos Loret de Mola ran on the website Latinus.us an article enumerating the nine real estate properties of Public Function Secretary Irma Eréndira Sandoval and her husband, National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) law professor and National Electoral Institute (INE) candidate for councilor appraiser John Mill Ackerman.
The exposé, to call it by a journalistic name, is a narrative apparently written by Loret de Mola himself but narrated by a woman. In it, Loret de Mola mentions the houses, addresses and locations of all the properties of the Ackerman-Sandoval family. No accusations of any wrongdoing is made other than claiming that the couple own these properties. At best, the exposé claims the Ackermans received in 2007 a piece of land in a popular neighborhood in the southern Mexico City Coyoacán municipality as a gift from Marcelo Ebrard, then city mayor and now secretary of foreign relations.
The exposé, with no legal value other than making public the “wealth” of the Ackerman-Sandoval couple, falls into a type of accusation very popular in Mexico that I call “guilty by inference,” with no legal proof or objective, other than smearing someone through truths. In short, making the legal look illegal.
The reaction from Sandoval and Ackerman was at first one of fury. Sandoval went on a public rampage against Loret de Mola- calling him “a hitman” working for the payola of politicians who want to harm the current administration of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO).
Ackerman threatened to go even further against Loret de Mola, filing suits against the journalist in both Mexico and the United States.
In Mexico, the suit was for breach of privacy of public officials, which are required to reveal their properties and finances, but not for public consumption since an open financial disclosure makes all government executives easy prey to organized criminals.
In the United States, the suit was filed because Loret de Mola ran the exposé on YouTube through a new – shall we call it a news agency – Latinus ,which, to no one’s surprise, has as its main contributors all the columnists who have lost power, and who were allegedly collecting government issued “chayote” or payola – and now express themselves in Spanish through this medium.
Latinus was banned from broadcasting in Mexico by the president’s press secretary Jesús Ramírez because of its 100 percent anti-AMLO content, but the president lifted the ban for the sake of freedom of the press.
On Wednesday, June 24, Loret de Mola ran a column in the daily El Universal newspaper. reminiscing about the journalism “coups” he had during the President Enrique Peña Nieto (2012-2018) administration, coming up with the first scoops on top stories such as mass murders, jail breaks and other activities by organized criminal organizations and individuals.
After blowing his own horn amply and loudly on having been the top-rated journalist at that time, Loret de Mola now finds himself in sad distress., with his foes singing .“what goes up must come down.”
In the article, he quips, “Just a few years later, when I publish a report that’s adverse to the government of President López Obrador, or criticize somebody, there is a surge of voices asking, ‘Where you were during Peña Nieto’s mandate, blah, blah blah?’”
Sandoval said that she will not be suing Loret de Mola, but Ackerman issued the following statement:
“As a citizen and a journalist, truly yours will present the corresponding suits both in Mexico and the United States, to have investigated and punished this responsible persons both for the infiltration as well divulgation of our personal data. By the same token, as of now, I make Señor Loret de Mola responsible for any aggression or extortion that my family might go through.”
In short, as a lawyer in Mexico and the United States (he studied at the University of California Santa Cruz and the UNAM and has become bilingual in legalese), Ackerman will throw the book at Loret de Mola for slander and some of the abovementioned “invasion of privacy” statements.
Just as a closing statement, it must be pointed out that since AMLO arrived in the National Palace on Dec. 1, 2018, things have gone somewhat awry for Loret de Mola. His first demise was that the president began holding a daily press conference precisely from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., when Loret de Mola had his primetime show. AMLO trumped him in ratings popularity since some people claimed that, if they could hear the presidential news straight from the horse’s mouth, why listen to secondhand statements? Loret de Mola had to quit – due to lack or ratings – his once privileged post.
Since then, he has gone downhill journalistically to the point that he now only has a noon radio show on WFM and a syndicated print column. Consequently — and this is my journalistic appraisal of Loret de Mola’s information — he has been acting out in bitterness and ill faith – what we call in Mexico as mala leche, translated as sour milk – and sees the article against the Ackermans as just another slanderous tirade against the regime that saw the end of his glory. It is also a reminder that nothing lasts forever.
There is more, but for now, let us wait for the next move in this intensifying drama, which be Ackerman filing suit against Loret de Mola, with the help of the entire UNAM legal faculty.
…June 25, 2020