By MARK LORENZANA
Some independent journalists who attend the daily morning press conferences of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) are allegedly paid thousands of pesos by “companies, politicians and unions” to ask planted questions that are “disguised as complaints.”
The “Bajo Reserva” column of Mexican daily newspaper El Universal, on Thursday, Aug. 4, reported that YouTube content creator and influencer Meme Yamel, who is a supporter of AMLO’s National Regeneration Movement (Morena), allegedly confessed that she was offered “a case disguised as a complaint” to present to López Obrador in one of his daily press conferences. However, the influencer said she wasn’t able to ask the question because of lack of time, so the people behind the complaint allegedly told her that she “just lost 20,000 pesos.”
Yamel, however, said that she didn’t know that she was supposed to be paid a sum of money to ask the question, and only found out afterward when she was told that she wouldn’t get paid.
The influencer’s confession has given credence to the persistent rumors that some so-called journalists who attend the press conference at the National Palace ask planted questions for the highest bidder.
In January 2021, Mexico’s National Electoral Institute (INE) questioned the presidential office outright as to whether it paid reporters to ask questions during AMLO’s daily press conferences.
The INE made reference to the questions asked of López Obrador about the 2021 Mexican legislative elections in a press conference on Dec. 23, 2020, when AMLO made statements about the ongoing electoral process, as well as the Va por México alliance made up of the political parties National Action Party (PAN), Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD).
On that occasion, a reporter asked López Obrador what he thought about the Va por México group, to which he replied that the parties comprising the alliance represent the old regime and seek to win the elections to have a majority in Congress and to eliminate Morena’s social programs.