Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has lengthy derided journalists as biased, pretentious “sellouts” who’re aligned along with his political enemies. His morning information conferences function an occasional phase referred to as “Who’s Who of Lies,” during which he names and shames reporters whom he accuses of peddling “faux information.”
On Friday, López Obrador escalated his battle towards the media when he revealed to the general public the supposed wage particulars of a well-known investigative journalist who lately reported that one of many president’s sons has a lavish way of life at odds with the president’s austere picture.
López Obrador mentioned the journalist, Carlos Loret de Mola, earns way more than he does, evaluating their salaries at a information convention on a big display. Threatening to sic tax authorities on Loret, he steered the journalist earns cash for “hitting him” with important tales.
Claiming Loret makes $1.6 million a 12 months — in contrast along with his $100,000 or so — he requested: “Do you assume it’s because he’s a high-flying, very clever journalist, a superb author? No! It’s due to his hatchet jobs.”
The incident got here the day after yet one more journalist was gunned down in Mexico — the fifth to date this 12 months — and sparked anger amongst press freedom advocates who mentioned the president is just not solely failing to guard journalists however stoking violence towards them.
It additionally prompted questions on the place López Obrador bought the wage data and whether or not he violated privateness legal guidelines. Publication of an individual’s monetary data with out permission is a criminal offense in Mexico, in response to authorized specialists.
“There isn’t any pretext for this abuse of energy,” mentioned Daniel Moreno, director of the information web site Political Animal. “It’s an unacceptable assault from any viewpoint.”
Loret responded on Twitter, saying that the wage figures proven on the information convention have been inflated, noting that whereas they have been presupposed to be from final 12 months they included earnings from Televisa, the TV community the place he as soon as labored as an anchor however left in 2019.
“This may-be dictator is out of his thoughts,” mentioned Loret, who now runs an investigative information platform and has a radio program.
He has printed investigations in recent times accusing members of López Obrador’s household and his political allies of corruption.
Loret lately wrote an opinion piece for the Washington Publish with a headline that used the president’s initials: “For AMLO, journalism is the primary enemy.”
Nevertheless it was his report final month in regards to the president’s 41-year-old son that appears to have hit a selected nerve with López Obrador.
The story alleged that José Ramón López, who served as a marketing campaign manager for his father’s 2018 presidential bid, lives in a sprawling residence outdoors Houston and drives a white Mercedes value practically $70,000.
Ramón López owns an artisanal chocolate enterprise with two of his brothers. The report additionally discovered that in 2019 and 2020 he and his spouse lived in a close-by mansion owned by Keith Schilling, who was an govt at oil firm Baker Hughes, which has profitable contracts with Mexican state oil firm Pemex.
“The president is cornered,” Loret mentioned. “He doesn’t know learn how to eliminate the scandal of his son’s home.”
When he took workplace three years in the past, López Obrador turned the presidential mansion right into a public museum and took a 60% pay lower. He has questioned why folks would want greater than a single pair of sneakers or a bank card, and blames the neo-liberal “decadence” of previous administrations for eroding the ethical character of the nation. On the similar time, he claims he has rooted out corruption like no different earlier president.
López Obrador’s assaults on the media come at a time when Mexican journalists are dealing with an unprecedented wave of violence.
In simply the primary 41 days of the 12 months, 5 journalists have been slain. They embrace Heber López, the director of an internet information web site in Oaxaca state who was killed Thursday, and Lourdes Maldonado López, an investigative journalist in Tijuana killed final month.
Earlier than she was shot to dying outdoors her residence, Maldonado attended one of many president’s information conferences to plea for assist.
“I concern for my life,” she instructed López Obrador, explaining that she was locked in a labor dispute with one in all his political allies, Jaime Bonilla Valdez, the proprietor of a media firm that had as soon as employed Maldonado.
López Obrador mentioned he would assign an aide to observe up with Maldonado.
When requested final month in regards to the killings of Maldonado and others, López Obrador mentioned the circumstances can be investigated. Then he railed towards his political opponents and mentioned he hoped they might not use the violence towards journalists to “assault his administration.”
Instances particular correspondent Cecilia Suarez in Mexico Metropolis contributed to this report.