Time Magazine Responds to #SavingMexico Backlash
“Dear Mexican friends: Read the story. It doesn’t say that either Mexico or EPN are perfect. Addresses corruption, cartels, reform backlash,” Michael Crowley, author of Time Magazine’s #SavingMexico cover story on Peña Nieto, tweeted on Thursday.
Included in the tweet was a free link to the article. This friendly gesture was a change in tact by Crowley who earlier made several sarcastic remarks in reference to the dozens of spoof covers circulating on Twitter.
Time’s response of posting a free link to the controversial article came after they and Crowley received thousands of negative comments over the day. This attempt to appease critics, however, was met with even more criticism.
A quick look at a few excerpts of the article reveals that contrary to Crowley’s appeal on Twitter, very little of his article addressed corruption, cartel violence and opposition to Peña Nieto’s reforms in a substantive way:
But whatever he may lack in literary erudition, Peña Nieto compensates for in political prowess.
The statement is practically laughable considering serious observers see his Secretary of Finance, Luis Videgaray, as Peña Nieto’s brain. But Crowley made sure to cover that later in the piece.
Sitting in a personal office near a bright red phone that connects him directly to the President, Videgaray says talk that he is the true mastermind behind Peña Nieto’s reforms is “not at all the reality.” Instead, he says, “the time was right. Mexico needed fundamental changes.”
When Crowley wasn’t speaking directly to Peña Nieto’s brain, he was hearing from Tony Garza, a former U.S. ambassador to Mexico with close ties to Texas’ oil industry.
Factor in a law that rejiggers the tax code and an end to single-term limits for all federal politicians, and you have what might be the most productive legislative session anywhere in recent history. “You have to give them extraordinary marks for both political instinct and management of the process,” says Tony Garza, a U.S. ambassador to Mexico under George W. Bush.
The few lines that offered real criticism were buried and overshadowed.
Camacho is suspicious that Peña Nieto’s agenda seems to be a bigger hit in Davos than in Xico. “Investors applaud. Newspapers outside the country applaud. So why does the image of the President keep falling?” asks Camacho, noting that Peña Nieto’s poll numbers have fallen several points below 50%. (Some trace the poll slump to a recent pause in economic growth that economists call temporary.)
On the whole, almost all of Crowley’s article reads more like propaganda than journalism. The ridiculousness of putting “Saving Mexico” on Time’s cover next to Peña Nieto took it over the top. Read full text to the cover story and judge for yourself.
Related: Time’s Peña Nieto ‘Saving Mexico’ Cover Sparks Confusion, Outrage