Saturday, June 6, 2015

NBC botches a simple curtain-raiser for the Mexican midterm elections

You'd think by now have gotten over something like this ... or at least been distracted enough by turning 64 today to ignore it just this once.

But over at NBC Latino, they posted one of those articles that just drive me crazy.

No, it's not the slant on the story, nor the lack of context, nor outright lies. Those I can deal with.

It's the sheer incompetence. 

The article is a curtain raiser for tomorrow's Mexican mid-terms. The first paragraph is the usual BS: "Amid deadly violence and a climate of dissatisfaction ..." blah blah blah.

The second paragraph seems to be reporting, but offers very few details. And those details show the writer has no business writing about the situation in México.
In the days leading to the voting there have been clashes as groups opposed to what they deem are corrupt and ineffective elections have burned ballots and tried to occupy government buildings. This has been the case in several regions including Guerrero and Ayotzinapa, where a group of 43 teachers' college students were taken by local authorities working with criminal gangs and presumably killed.
We're told the problems are in "several regions" including Guerrero and Ayotzinapa. Guerrero isn't exactly a "region" but a state, but let it pass. Ayotzinapa is not at all a region but the place where a college to train rural teachers is located. And it is in the state of Guerrero.

But worse: we are told that Ayotzinapa is "where a group of 43 teachers' college students were taken by local authorities working with criminal gangs and presumably killed."

Not true: The Ayotzinapa rural teacher's college is where the students were from, but they were attacked by police in Iguala, two hours to the north.

Moreover, the suggestion that the forced disappearance of the students was carried out at the behest of drug lords has been from the first the central government's alibi, but it has not convinced the parents, journalists or international experts.

As if this weren't enough, the article continues:
Mexico's National Electoral Institute (INE in Spanish) spokesperson Jaime Córdova assured Mexicans in a press conference that voting would not be compromised, though INE did say there could be voter difficulties in 6,000 out of 68,000 voting places.
What's wrong with this? Well, first of all, the person who spoke for the INE is not named Jaime. His name is Lorenzo. Second, he is not the spokesperson for the Institute. He is its president. And third, if his name was going to be brought up when talking about the opposition to these elections, his racist comments that enraged indigenous people should have been mentioned.

The article is barely 300 words, and the author, Sandra Lilley, is the managing editor of NBC Latino and has been a working journalist for nearly three decades, according top her Linked-In profile.

WTF has happened to American journalism?

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