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LibreOrganize 0.6.0 - Documentation

Is the US Press Manufacturing Consent?

Mexico City based freelance writer and photojournalist José Luis Granados Ceja previously spent time as a staff writer for teleSUR, and currently works with Venezuela Analysis. His writing on contemporary Latin American democratic struggles can be followed on X (formerly Twitter): @GranadosCeja.


How does it come to pass that a self-described progressive” US news outlet ends up regurgitating the talking points of Mexico’s right-wing opposition? This month the Texas Observer ran an interview by Lise Digger with the Baker Institute's Tony Payan about Mexico’s upcoming 2024 election. A cursory glance at Payan’s social media would make it apparent to even a casual observer of Mexican politics that Payan closely sympathizes with the right-wing opposition. A neutral observer he is not. 


But the problem is not Payan’s easily debunked lies. A far worse crime is Digger’s astounding ignorance. It isn’t just that she allowed Payan to disseminate his falsehoods about the state of politics in Mexico, but her framing of his comments was wildly off base. 


In her first paragraph, Digger presents readers with a bald-faced lie, saying that Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has insisted he will not accept defeat for his hand-chosen successor.” First of all, Claudia Sheinbaum, the candidate for the progressive left, was not chosen by a dedazo (handpicking by the outgoing president, a tradition of the former ruling party, the PRI), but rather through a transparent process of national polling. Second, nowhere has AMLO said he will not accept defeat. Why would he say that? He doesn’t need to worry. Sheinbaum has consistently been polling between 20 and 30 points ahead of her rightist opponent, PRI/PAN candidate Xochitl Gálvez.


Digger has fallen hook, line, and sinker for the opposition’s framing of the election as a battle between the pro-democracy” Gálvez and AMLO/Sheinbaum’s “authoritarian” Morena party. Nothing could be further from the truth.


Mexico’s previous neoliberal model of democracy parties created enormous inequality and dissatisfaction among the people. Under López Obrador the country’s citizens have had their faith restored in democracy. A study by the Pew Research Center found that in 2017, a year before AMLO’s win, only 6 percent were satisfied with the state of Mexican democracy; the figure has since skyrocketed. With historic investments in the country’s poorest regions, a rights-based and universal approach to social programs, and millions lifted out of poverty, a huge swath of the country that once felt ignored now feels seen by the man in the National Palace.


The evidence is easy to see. Digger’s wanton disregard for what is actually happening in Mexico demonstrates astounding ignorance. But is that all? Something more insidious may be at play.


The right-wing opposition knows that if nothing changes soon, they are going to get trounced in the election come June. What we are seeing is an effort to manufacture consent for foreign intervention to prevent a peaceful transfer of power in Mexico. By suggesting that AMLO and Sheinbaum are dictators-in-waiting — enemies of democracy akin to Donald Trump — articles like this published by the so-called progressive” Texas Observer serve to undermine US progressive and leftist support for their comrades in Mexico. 


Many in Mexico are concerned that the will of voters will not be respected. But the threat is not coming from AMLO or Sheinbaum, but from the country’s rotten judicial branch, which could overturn the results of a fair election. This sort of brazen assault on democracy could only come to pass if US imperialism gives the green light. For that to happen, the true enemies of democracy, the capitalist class, must first manufacture consent.