The American news media has not covered the damage this president is doing to our reputation abroad in depth. This will remain after Donald Trump leaves office. Why? This is likely for two reasons. We live within a deep American bubble. Meaning news organizations do not have many reporters abroad. This was a decision made decades ago, and it prevents us from understanding other cultures. Then there is the other aspect. This will run smack into the wall of American exceptionalism. The myths we tell ourselves are important, and deep. They are culture walls that prevent us from looking deeper inwards.
However, those of us who do travel outside the bubble understand this. There is nothing stranger than riding in a taxi in Mexico City with the radio blaring. It was tuned to the local news station. The local news host was detailing the witch hunt on the American media to their audience. He spoke of the constant attacks of the American president on the media over Twitter. He also mentioned the series of editorials written by papers across the United States in defense of the profession. THe host told the audience that it him of the long decades when the office of the Mexican presidency set the news agenda. He told the audience of the time when the Mexican press was not free.
Granted, being a reporter in Mexico is one of the most dangerous jobs you could ever do globally. The Mexican media is still getting its feet wet in investigative journalism. And many reporters die every year, but not because of the government. They do becuase of the cartels. For some reason the cartels do not like their business exposed by meddling reporters.
It was as if I were looking though the looking glass to hear attacks on the American media described on Milenio Radio, the same way CNN describes those attacks abroad. The terms the host used were familiar to my youth. He implied that the offensive on our press were as bad as those on the Mexican press during the Mexican dirty war of the sixties and seventies. It is not that the term dirty war has entered the Mexican lexicon. It has not. But ’68 did, as well as the student massacre at Tlatelolco. That was the highly controlled press that the host was referring to.
I remember the seventies in Mexico City well. It was not just horribly expensive to call long distance. (And this was the case in the United States as well.) My dad always told us, and we were young children, to watch what we said on the phone. It was common knowledge that when you called…