Following up on the theme of biases and weirdness in Mexican media, while in a taxi at a stoplight today, I got an issue of “Publimetro”, a free, ad financed city newspaper, which, according to one of the owners, is directed towards the middle classes and upwards. The mixture of getting their money exclusively from ads, making the readers not even the secondary customer, let alone the primary customer, and a focus on the moneyed elites, leads to some, shall we say, odd priorities in the editorial policies.
On page 17 of the 26 September issue, in the entertainment section, there’s an article of almost half a page, on En el hoyo being the Mexican documentary with the biggest box office of all time. It’s a big succcess, it’s possibly going to be Oscar nominated, it’s been in several festivals, and so on. A rather large article. But, there was a weird omission in the article. What’s the documentary about? After skimming it a couple of times, I noticed that it is indeed mentioned, in part of a sentence at the end of the first paragraph:
[...] the documentary, which looks at an aspect of everyday life in the city.
Hm, that’s awfully general. So, what’s the documentary really about? Well, I happened to know, and if you don’t, it’s easy to find out from the IMDB page, which says:
A portrait of the construction workers involved in building the second deck of Mexico City’s Periferico freeway.
Oh, that’s a lot more informative. I wonder why the paper doesn’t just say that?
Well, maybe it’s because the second deck of the Periferico was a successful project of Mexico City head of government Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who went on to be a leftist presidential candidate, and is currently arguing that he’s the real winner of July’s presidential elections, instead of conservative Felipe Calderón, favorite of the upper classes, who harbor a hate of López Obrador comparable to that of US republicans for Bill and Hillary Clinton. If you think it sounds weird to not mention a public works project just because of the politician who started it, think again. Miguel de Icaza mentioned people in his family who are conservative enough and hate López Obrador enough that they refuse to use the second deck of the Periferico, for exactly this reason.
It wouldn’t do to upset what Publimetro owner Antonio Torrado Monge calls “socieconomic levels A, B, and C”, now, would it, just to have an article that actually gives you some information about its main subject? Oh no. Wouldn’t do at all.