Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The El Mundo Journalism Masterclass

Imagine that you go to a football match. There are lots of people there and, who knows, perhaps 60-70 metres away from where you are sitting someone unfurls a banner or holds a placard supporting a political cause. Then a photographer takes a picture of the said placard which captures you along with many other people far away in the background. You might be under the impression that this does not associate you directly with the cause in question. You are wrong to think that, because you have not counted with the journalistic ethics of El Mundo and their ability to draw a circle around your head. Today's front page from El Mundo - how to construct an eye catching headline out of nothing.

I don't have any special affection for Cataluña's new president, Artur Mas, but El Mundo's crude manipulation is just pathetic. Since we're talking about media coverage and El Mundo have already introduced the Basque theme let's give Público a slap on the wrist as well. Their piece on the Wall Street Journal publishing comments by Batasuna leader Arnaldo Otegi is just stupid. Based around the common idea in Spain that the role of journalists in press coverage of terrorism is to instruct people on what they should think, the Público piece looks for  a way to take Murdoch's empire to task for, in their words in the paper edition, being a "loudspeaker" for ETA. 

Things get really silly because they try to hang the accusation on the association between the paper's owner, Rupert Murdoch, and José Maria Aznar. As if this really has anything to do with foreign media giving coverage to what may, after all, be interesting developments concerning ETA's future. There's a bit too much obsession with Murdoch sometimes in Spain with people fearing that the Aznar link was the prelude to him entering Spain's media market. Where Murdoch would possibility find a market opportunity in a country which already has so much flaky right-wing media is an open question.

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