Loret de Mola Goes after AMLO in Washington Post Editorial
By KELIN DILLON
In an opinion piece published in the Washington Post on Sunday, Feb. 6, Mexican journalist Carlos Loret de Mola A. – a perennial target of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) public denouncements of Mexico’s modern media – detailed the regular attacks López Obrador has taken against the country’s journalists for reporting facts, calling journalism AMLO’s “Number One Enemy.”
Loret de Mola has not shied away from reporting on the failings of López Obrador, his administration and those close to the executive, including recently revealing that AMLO’s own son, José Ramón López Beltrán, was living in a million-dollar luxury mansion owned by state-run oil company Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) in Houston, Texas.
In response to Loret de Mola’s findings, López Obrador took to his daily public press conferences to call the journalist “corrupt, a hitter, a mercenary and without principles,” despite the fact that Loret de Mola had sourced his information from matters of public record alongside nonprofit Mexicans against Corruption.
Spurred on by AMLO’s own commentary, Loret de Mola took to the Washington Post on Sunday to present an expose on the Mexican executive’s consistent negativity toward his country’s journalist community. Considering journalism’s reputed role as an important combater of corruption in emerging nations, Loret de Mola did not take López Obrador’s harmful approach lightly.
“The harassment of journalists from the presidency has been going on for more than three years,” said Loret de Mola. “It has grown for a few months from the ‘Who is who in media lies of the week’ section of his morning conference, expressly dedicated to stigmatizing journalists – the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has asked to suspend it – and with subsequent digital actions through a propaganda army. The circus and ridiculous tone that this practice has acquired means that it is sometimes taken with derision and as a daily joke, when in reality it should be inadmissible.”
The journalist went on to point out that four members of the press have already died in Mexico this year alone, bringing the total of murdered journalists throughout the first half of AMLO’s six-year term to 29 dead. Mexican nonprofit Article 19 had previously pointed out that the Mexican federal government has been the greatest threat against the nation’s press in recent years, with public commentary like AMLO’s only encouraging further violence against journalists.
“Not only that organization and the IACHR have made petitions and issued warnings — at different times and in increasing tones — about the Mexican president’s behavior toward journalists, but also Human Rights Watch, Reporters without Borders, the Inter-American Press Association and the Committee to Protect Journalists,” added Loret de Mola. “They have pointed out an open and systematic abuse of power by the president by slandering and insulting, from his position, the press”
Loret de Mola continued to address AMLO’s seemingly dishonest people-first and corruption-free approach to his administration, particularly considering the executive’s political rhetoric does not match the fact that 3.8 million more Mexicans live in poverty under López Obrador than previous presidents and that many of those personally close to or appointed to public positions by AMLO have been accused of corruption themselves. The executive has similarly come under fire for putting his own personal megaprojects, like the Tren Maya and Dos Bocas refinery, before the good of the country and its people, falling far behind the austere persona he tries to present to the public.
“It is not that AMLO does not realize the inappropriateness of his conduct,” said Loret de Mola. “It is that his crusade against freedom of expression is systematic and stops at nothing in his vain desire to maintain the appearance that allowed him to come to power: that of an incorruptible, honest and democratic man. Journalists have documented illegal or immoral acts about family members, close collaborators and political allies that have demolished that façade. The president’s response has always been the same: to justify them and cover them with impunity. In doing so, he himself has contributed to the downfall of that appearance that he created in his campaign.”
Loret de Mola went on to say that “it goes without saying, but for a government full of propaganda like the one headed by AMLO, it is almost natural to consider that if the press did not document corruption, it would seem to cease to exist.”
“That explains (AMLO’s) reaction: His goal is that we journalists no longer do our job, and that we behave like a hired court of clappers and justifiers.”
In addition, Loret de Mola explained how the fall of the freedom of the press goes hand-in-hand with the fall of democracy, and how López Obrador’s approach could signify impending issues for Mexico’s own freedom.
“AMLO only has one commitment left: himself, his image and his obsession with going down in history,” concluded Loret de Mola. “It is not surprising that his government, which has no other commitments or results, lives on propaganda. And that he sees journalism and those of us who practice it as his Number One Enemy.”