Establishment vs Authentic Journalism on the Mexican Flood (draft)

Mexicans Appalled by Scenes From Flooded State

Published: November 4, 2007
MEXICO CITY, Nov. 3 — Mexicans were gripped Saturday by images of dramatic rescues from flooding in the southeastern state of Tabasco, where much of the state capital, Villahermosa, was underwater and the governor said that thousands of people waited on their rooftops for help to arrive.

Most striking to me is the emphasis on the horror of viewers rather than the suffering of victims – news is what matters! – and yet at the same time the articles fails to provide any political or historical context to the ramifications of a disaster like this in Mexico.

Later on, they quote (unpopularly elected) President Calderon as saying it's the worst in Mexican history– a classic, constant, and cadinal reporting sin of going to authority for expertise.

This is the rotten journalism that I, for one of a few at least, have come to expect from the New York Times.

Now, advocacy journalism:

“Plan Mexico” Claims its First Victims in the Murky Floodwaters of Tabasco
With an Entire State Under Water, Calderón Has Troops Searching Cars for Drugs Instead of Helping

By Greg Berger
Special to The Narco News Bulletin
November 1, 2007

Tear it apart. Tear both articles apart.

But in addition to what's news, and what's good journalism, also keep this question in mind – this time in a more radical context – how are people supposed to be interested in matters of the public interest when media insists on reporting on the world as if regular people cannot possibly have any affect on it?

(Disclusure, I volunteer for the Fund for Authentic Journalism - )


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