Monday, November 29, 2010

The Washington Post on Calderón on the Climate

Los Pinos was presumably tickled to get some attention in the Washington Post that painted the president in a positive light and didn't have to do with insecurity. And then they read the lede:
Mexico is battling billionaire drug mafias armed with bazookas, but when President Felipe Calderon ranks the threats his country faces, he worries more about methane gas, dwindling forests and dirty refineries.
This is a good example of the media's role in influencing perceptions over Mexico's drug problems. There was no need for anything related to security to be in the intro; this was a nerdy climate change story. Yet that's the first thing everyone reading this story sees, and in the process the image of Mexico-as-Somalia is furthered, in a piece that, again, is ostensibly about Calderón's views on carbon emissions and the like. That has to be extremely frustrating for the Calderón administration.

After noting that Calderón's team describes him as a climate wonk, the article muses, "Who knew?", which is a bit odd because Calderón has made quite a bit of noise on climate change for most of his term. In effect, the answer to that rhetorical question is, "People who follow Calderón's public statements", a group in which you'd expect the Washington Post correspondent to be included. It's an example of one of the key differences with Calderón's ideology and that of the right wing in the US: an avowed respect for science on the part of the former.

Also, I will spare everyone a repetition of my views on the gangs' billionaire status, but for anyone interested, here's a summary.


malcolm said...

here's another terrible lede for you.

Drug-fueled beheadings and butchering is not what I would typically associate with Mexico City.

pc said...

Oh wow, that is bad. Good gosh. Miller Llana is usually pretty level-headed, right?

malcolm said...

yeah i don't see this as her doing. i think it's the editors looking for a catchy lede, like a lot of them do, and reporters have very little clout these days (budget cuts tend to silence the outspoken). reuters did a story about san diego residents heading across to tijuana to get cheap gas a couple of years back, headline was "US drivers dodge Tijuana bullets for cheap gas." Awful.

pc said...

I remember that piece, that one takes the take. As for Llana Miller, that's gotta suck for someone sharp to have their name attached to such a lede, pero ni modo.