Monday, May 2, 2011

Fanning the Flames of Conspiracy: a Journalistic Dereliction of Duty

This image came from an Excélsior piece today. For anyone who doesn't speak Spanish, the subhead asks if the photo of bin Laden was a hoax. It offers no reason to think that it was, nor any reporting of any kind on the matter, just throws it out there. In the process, it encourages all of the people in comments who, for instance, say that bin Laden will pop up in Los Cabos momentarily.

Skepticism --on any and every issue, regardless of the logical justification-- is a significant defect in Mexican civic life. You see it everywhere. I met a fair amount of very educated people in Mexico who felt that the moon landing was a hoax. Lots of smart people were convinced that the government invented the swine flu scare out of thin air. I wrote about with regard to Zhenli Ye Gon and Jorge Hank Rhon here. That tendency is an understandable byproduct of 70 years of authoritarian rule, but it's also a reflex that should be resisted when there is zero evidence. As an institution dedicated to disseminating facts, Excélsior is precisely the sort of organization that should be leading the resistance; instead, they throw their lot in with the other side.

Update: Or maybe Excélsior's instincts were better than mine. See comments. [Red-faced...]


Burro Hall said...

Sure, but on the other hand, the photo is definitely a hoax (and a sloppy one at that!)

pc said...

Well crap, I picked a poor story to get all high and mighty about.

Burro Hall said...

Your example was wrong but your instinct and overall critique were on the the money. I'll take high-and-mighty-and-occasionally-wrong over apathetic-and-indifferent any day, amigo.