President López Obrador’s long-running battle with the media shows no sign of abating.
He renewed his attack on Carmen Aristegui on Tuesday, prompting the prominent journalist to accuse him of using “confrontational discourse” to divide and inflame the people of Mexico.
Speaking at his regular news conference, López Obrador reasserted that Aristegui is opposed to him and biased toward his political opponents, whom he refers to collectively as “the conservatives.”
“Without a doubt she is aligned to the conservative group and we’re against that conservative bloc, which we believe has been the cause of the misfortune of the Mexican people,” he said.
AMLO charged that because Aristegui opposes him she is also against “a movement of millions of Mexicans who want to carry out a transformation in the country.”
The president compared her to Carlos Loret de Mola, another well known journalist he frequently criticizes and with whom he is currently engaged in a war of words.
His latest attack on Aristegui came two weeks after he accused her of misleading people during her long media career. The journalist responded to that claim by saying it was regrettable that the president was seeking to use his “very powerful word” to destroy reputations.
On Tuesday, she reaffirmed that she is neither partial toward nor biased against López Obrador, and described the president’s claim that she is against millions of Mexicans as “madness.”
Aristegui also renewed her criticism of the president for using public resources to attack journalists and media organizations at his weekday press conferences.
“What the president of the republic is doing … with his strength, his power, his mandate, the resources of all of us … is engaging in confrontational discourse that seeks to, and manages to, divide and inflame,” she said during her radio program.
“This country doesn’t deserve to be poisoned; we already have a lot of historic poison, poison that of course is still here with the many grievances of all kinds that exist in this country,” Aristegui said. “Deliberately continuing to inflame the population … is frankly regrettable, to say it mildly.”
López Obrador has been widely criticized for his verbal attacks, and those of his government, on journalists, newspapers and other media outlets that are critical of his administration.
Press freedom advocacy group Article 19 said in 2019 that López Obrador’s “stigmatizing discourse” against the media “has a direct impact in terms of the … risk it can generate for the work of the press because [his remarks] permeate in the discourse of the rest of society and can even generate attacks.”
Six journalists have been murdered in Mexico so far this year, prompting an expression of concern from U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has repeatedly urged the federal government to terminate its weekly fake news exposé sessions, while politicians here and abroad have denounced the president for his open disdain of some journalists and sections of the media.
The Washington Post last week called on the United States government to condemn physical and verbal attacks on Mexican journalists, while 60,000 Twitter users joined a virtual protest against López Obrador on February 11 after he disclosed information about Loret de Mola’s 2021 income.
Mexico News Daily