Thursday, September 21

Media manipulation destroys democracy

Journalists are overwhelmed. Journalists, those of us who still believe in the dignity and social function of this profession. Of course we know about the tortious use of some information for spurious purposes, something that infuriates us and in the face of which we often feel powerless despite denouncing it. But it is another thing –pure physical sensation perhaps– to hear in their live voice high-ranking officials of La Sexta how a hoax had been hatched against Podemos to discredit this rising left-wing formation. It was published a month before the 2016 elections, which undoubtedly influenced its results. That deliberate lie upset the popular will and therefore democracy, in my opinion.

The bomb is broadcast by the new medium of journalist Patricia López Free Chronicle. There had been previous leaks, but the sound document with that tone of smiling cronyism is the confirmation blow. The source, once again, the deplorable director of OKDiario, Eduardo Inda, who spreads with invented evidence, a very murky matter: an account in the Grenadines in the name of Pablo Iglesias with thousands of euros delivered by the president of Venezuela Nicolás Maduro. It was and is a lie. But Ferreras “buys it” despite the fact that he finds it “coarse” and also broadcasts it on Antena 3, given that his CEO Mauricio Casals is also at the lobby meeting. Commissioner Villarejo had not yet been arrested, he was in a few months. Commissioner Villarejo is the source. Inda, his executor in this and many other cases.

If the fact itself is very serious, the media reactions have been terrifying in some cases. In Spain, too many affective or interest ties are created between politicians and journalists, between unhealthy politicians and journalists, and between the informants themselves, each of their being or ilk. The reaction was late to begin with. Not from many independent journalists who jumped terrified, from media that were looking for a way to digest and explain what happened. Checking the data is an obligation but the voices of the conchambeo left little room for doubt.

Faqs of the Catalan television TV3 was the first to react, the same Saturday night.

There have been unjustifiable delays in the reaction but, much worse, attempts to whitewash extremely harmful manipulation under excuses that indicate the rotten state in which some actors in this drama have journalism. Some, not all, don’t forget.

No friendship justifies colleagues exonerating a surgeon who unnecessarily removes a kidney from a patient. Or because he sends it the interests of the company. There is no possible context, neither in time, nor in form, to buy a crime that harms people. Not even remotely is journalism to give the hoaxes of a scoundrel or add the response of the victim, as the chain itself has done, the Sixth. If it were lawful, the worst charges could be blamed on any innocent person, anyone, that it would be enough to hear the person attacked behind for it to pass as journalism. But what barbarity! But how dare they! The damage done to citizens is immense.

And last but not least, there are those who continue to attack the victim, Podemos, determined from their political interests to confuse the audience. This is the case of the EFE Agency, the first Spanish agency with worldwide diffusion. Look at the subject of the “news”.

And the one from TVE who dared on his Sunday news to continue talking about “alleged illegal financing of Podemos” when all the snares against them have been dismissed by the justice system. Spanish justice, as I usually add, not by chance. This masterpiece of Pérez Tornero’s manipulation of TVE did not lack more than to illustrate the text with images of the ministers Montero and Belarra laughing at a different time, this is worthy of Urdaci’s television. There is no right.

Inda’s hoax went to the debate on La Sexta noche on May 7, 2016, the program did lie. In fact, it stopped being a debate a long time ago by introducing such disturbing elements of information as Inda or Marhuenda or Claver. Ignacio Escolar was there and, just as he had done that Saturday by revealing that the document was a montage, he tried to refute the fallacy. The director of Ok Diario persisted. This is the problem, launched the howitzer expands without brake. And it launched.

The gatherings with toxic elements have been one of the great focuses of the destruction of journalism. Many honest partners explain that they have to be there to counter. At this stage of deterioration, a large part of the audience is educated only to listen to what they want to hear. The most plausible solution would be for those alleged journalists with a clearly disturbing mission to disappear from the set.

But then there are the tainted covers and articles, the confusion between dirty political activism and journalism. The audience would also have to turn off that tap.

And it is urgent that RTVE and the EFE Agency stop manipulating in the service of destabilization. No backpack justifies it.

What happened is extremely serious. And it is only a part, Villarejo has more material. The Antonio García Ferreras thing has no justification. Inda’s, less. They should both disappear from the screens. Limited partnership journalism is toxic, and has to expel many more of its protagonists. And we will have to continue observing how the judicial arm works in unison. Because Gladys López Manzanares, Magistrate-Judge of the Court of First Instance 84 of Madrid, sentenced that the honor by Pablo Iglesias had not been harmed by the publication of this false information in a digital called Ok Diary,

Hours before the Ferreras bombing, I asked myself in “And if the false journalists who were complicit in the mafia practices of their bosses were removed from the profession”… It is not going to happen, but they should be removed, at least from relevance. The audience that can turn off the sewer.

The CIS and other surveys gave United We Can second place after the PP in the May 2016 elections, we hardly remember it. Inda’s hoax a few days before the date as part of a brutal slander campaign most likely influenced the result. Let us ask ourselves again what would have happened if democracy had not suffered these obstacles. And above all: where are we going if decent journalism is not imposed and continues to fulfill its essential work. What happened discredits the entire profession, but, in addition to the individual protests -which cost us dearly-, let us remember that it has been journalism that has told them of the betrayal of the essential principles of false professionals.