Banamex at Core of Fox-López Obrador Dispute - But AP Protects the Bankers
But she omitted the quote-of-the-day, considered most newsworthy by the Mexican Press, when López Obrador responded to Fox's attacks on "populism" by saying:
"I would like to respond to the President... Populism is not the programs that the (Mexico City) government promotes but, rather, actions such as not collecting 30 billion pesos (about three billion US dollars) from his friend Roberto Hernández for the debt imposed by the sale of Banamex."
Hernández sold the National Bank of Mexico, known as Banamex, to Citigroup and joined the gringo bank's board of directors in 2001. This frontal assault on Fox's allowing this bank robbery to go through tax-free was quoted by Mexico's largest daily, El Universal (which added a readers forum - more than 100 comments so far - asking "Who Is the Populist: Fox or AMLO?") It was the page one story in the nation's third largest daily Por Esto. Others, like La Jornada, devoted significant space to it as well.
But Lisa J. Adams of Associated Press chose, instead, to quote only Fox and protect Citigroup-Banamex from the mounting public outrage... The sale of the National Bank for $19 billion dollars to the biggest financial institution in the world, by itself, constituted a theft of national patrimony by gringo interests. As Narco News has long reported, Clinton administration fixer Robert Rubin, as treasury secretary, first weakened the institution in order to facilitate its sale, and, once accomplished, swang through the revolving door to become co-CEO of Citigroup.
When the sale went through, Fox refused to charge his prep school buddy, the bank owner Hernández, any taxes at all for the sale, amounting to a three billion dollar additional theft from the national treasury. (After all, Citibank had been implicated in the 2000 Fox campaign's own money laundering operation.)
It's an explosive issue for the upcoming 2006 presidential campaign, and the Mexico City Governor - leading in all national public opinion polls - has historically been one of the only Mexican politicians unafraid to take on the mighty Banamex and its owner for the many frauds and scandals that have looted national coffers.
Adams' AP report danced around the money point, demonstrating, inadvertently, how omission has become the favored form of the lie by Commercial Media correspondents and their masters. Her story was titled "President Fox and Mexico City's mayor spar," and included four paragraphs dedicated to quoting Fox's railings against "populism," then followed them with three paragraphs that didn't quote López Obrador at all: she merely summarized (poorly) the political dispute between the two politicians.
Thus, she turned a great news story into an incoherent, formulaic spoonful of pablum.
Then again, it has been observed that turning hard news into processed food, devoid of nutritional content, is precisely Associated Press' mission statement in Latin America.