Two days after President López Obrador accused the news magazine Proceso of not behaving well with his government, its publisher responded that if misbehavior implied being independent, the claim was true.
“If that’s the parameter, then Proceso has behaved badly since its foundation in 1976,” Rafael Rodríguez Castañeda told the television program La Nota Dura.
“If that implies being independent of political power, the power that any party of any ideology exercises, then Proceso has misbehaved . . .” he said.
López Obrador told a press conference Monday that Proceso, a left-wing magazine, “hasn’t behaved well with us” but added that his assertion was “not a criticism.”
When a Proceso reporter pointed out that it was not the role of the media to behave well with anyone, the president replied:
“No, but we’re seeking a transformation and all the good journalists in history have always bet on transformations . . . The best journalists . . . in Mexico’s history, those of the restored republic [a period in the second half of the 19th century after the fall of the Second Mexican Empire], all of them took sides.
“It’s very comfortable to say, ‘I’m independent or journalism doesn’t have to take sides and bet on the transformation.’ In that case, [journalism] is nothing more than analyzing reality, criticizing reality, but not transforming it.”
Responding to López Obrador’s remarks, Rodríguez said that his view is that the role of journalism is “to inform, reveal, uncloak circumstance [and] establish what is closest to the truth.”
However, he added that its most important task is to “bring to light the deficiencies of the social and governmental structure.”
That, the publisher acknowledged, “implies offending” those who are responsible for the deficiencies.
“Andrés Manuel López Obrador is wrong, his knowledge about journalism is not strong enough, not solid enough” Rodríguez said, adding that speaking about the conduct of journalists in the distant past isn’t valid “because the country and society are completely different.”
The publisher said that Proceso rejects the president’s claim that news outlets should support the government as it undertakes its so-called fourth transformation.
“. . . We don’t have to accompany anyone during any transformation,” Rodríguez said.
López Obrador’s attack on Proceso is not the first time that he has taken aim at a media organization that has been critical of his government.
He has launched several broadsides at Reforma and frequently accuses the Mexico City newspaper of being prensa fifi (elitist press).