Thursday, August 03, 2006

All posts were moved (11/2006) to

The spin stops here... and there

XicanoPwr writes on Mexican-American affairs in his blog, ¡Para Justicia y Libertad!. Last week, he had several posts on media spin and the Mexican election. Montreal writer Susana Vargas weighted in on the "notorious" Washington Post editorial, and other corporate media coverage of the post-election mess in "Mistranslating the Mexican Election".
We have been hearing the same story over and over: Calderon, the right wing candidate won, but the leftist Obrador is trying to steal the election away. On July 7, all these newspapers declared the right-wing candidate Calderon as a winner. This may be an easy assumption to make if one doesn’t understand the Mexican electoral system. But the declaration just echoes the right wing position in Mexico. Luis Carlos Ugalde, the President of the Federal Electoral Institute declared on national TV on July 6 that conservative Calderon had the majority of votes, a difference of 0.58% against the leftist candidate Obrador. Ugalde proceeded to say: “it is the golden rule in democracies that the candidate with more votes wins the election”. But Ugalde didn’t have the authority to declare a winner. In the Mexican media we read headlines stating that Calderon is the “virtual” winner, “IFE backs up Calderon”, or “Calderon wins in the count of tallies”. This is because Calderon’s official victory has not and can not yet be declared. ... So if the election is not over, then the English language papers are wrong to depict Obrador as a “racial leftist” who will not concede the election when he should. By they cast Obrador as a sore loser who will “fight the results in court” (Globe and Mail) that Obrador “vowed to take his case to a special tribunal” (Toronto Star). The Washington Post erroneously reported that that “Obrador, refused to concede and demanded a recount, and it appeared that the winner of Sunday's balloting would ultimately be decided in court” and The Herald Tribune made refernce to a “special tribunal set up to handle electoral disputes, a court that has never before been asked to make such a momentous ruling.” The problem is that none of these claims are true. Unlike in the 2000 U.S. election, no one is taking the election to court, there are no special tribunals have been set up to decide this election. Reviewing the votes is a compulsory step in every Mexican election; the Federal Electoral Tribunals (TRIFE) assesses the validity of the election, and they are the only authority allowed to officially declare a winner.


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