Home » Critique » Who shows you what you see?

Who shows you what you see?

Ok, so I’ve been “accused” many times of being a kirchnerist by my friends. Now, this isn’t by any means a bad word. It just means you are in favor of the current government. Or, at least, it should mean that.
If that was its only definition, then I would probably say, “yes, I kind of am”. But that’s not what my friends mean when they say that to me. I deny it, and I’m going to explain to you just why I do so, and how this came to be.

Another of Clarín's first pages from those times.

“New Government” Referring to the three representatives of the military that took the power after kicking the democratically elected president.

I’ve talked about the media here, haven’t I? The general picture is: the little group of people that have all the money, also control all the mainstream media. I think some of you must be familiar with this concept, right?
Anyways, that’s how it works here, and how it’s been working since… Well, I’d say since the beginning of this country, but honestly, it only got this bad after the last dictatorship.
The Clarín Group, managed by the Noble family (yes, that’s their family name. I find it ironic), took a hold of Papel Prensa, the biggest producer of paper for the press. How? Oh, you know, by torturing its rightful owners into signing the selling papers.
They are currently on trial for this.
Now, for this to happen, they needed the brute force of the army, which was in the power at that moment. They got to their good side by siding up with them.

Clarin's first page right when the coup d'était started.

“The Militay Council is the State’s supreme organ”

By tricking the population into thinking nothing was going on, and that this was only a peaceful and transitory government, and convincing them that they wanted the military on the power because of the “terrorist threat”, they managed to make a lot of people oblivious of what was going on.
Sounds familiar, whatever US citizen reading this? Well, it shouldn’t surprise you. After all, the US military had a lot to do with the military getting a hold of the government, and of their violent methods once there; but I’ll talk about that some other day.

Anyways, by seemingly becoming one of these people’s tools, they were able to use them to their advantage. After all, one of the people in charge of making the paper producer’s owners to sign, was one of the most important functionaries of the military council (who is now in trial, yes).

Not much later…

And yet another of Clarín's front pages.

“Videla (illegitimate president) inaugurated the Papel Prensa plant”. There, you see Videla, with the Noble couple, re-opening the plant after they ‘bought it’.

Wait, I had a point here…
Ah, yes of course!

After buying the plant which produced the paper for each and every one of the newspapers and magazines of the country, they were legally able to set prices at will. So, for their own newspaper, Clarín, its cousin, La Nación, and to every other newspaper or magazine they liked, the prices were minimal.
But, for newspapers which didn’t share their views, the price was… Slightly… Definitely higher. This meant that Clarín was much cheaper, making it more accessible for the common man.
And that, kids, is how Clarín got so popular, and grew SO big in such little time.

They got so good at what they did, and so close to the government, their lies started becoming more and more reckless.
During the Malvinas War, they actually helped convince the general populi that our country was actually winning! Our country. Extremely unprepared for war. Sending teenage boys with no training over there. With lack of food. Against England. It didn’t take a mastermind to figure out that was pretty fucking impossible.

Guess what?

“Imminent recuperation of the Malvina Islands”. No doubt there.

I’m losing my track of thoughts again…
Oh, righ.

Ok, back to present day. Now that you have a general, very subjective, and extremely opinionated idea of where this group comes from, you can slightly understand what they do, why, and how.
(Seriously, guys, I only know this part of the story. I do encourage you to investigate and let me know what comes across your path).

So, yeah, as you can imagine, they’ve been manipulating the population the same way ever since. They helped to economically overthrow the first democratic government after the process; pushed candidates like Menem into the government; pushed Ministers of Economy like Cavallo into the Ministry (ask Ecuador how much good HE did over there); they were the ideological responsible for the neo-liberal policies applied in my country, and for the epic economical crash of 2001. You might have heard about it.

The minute they saw what ideologies Nestor Kirchner, who assumed as president right after that, held high in sight, they understood he meant trouble for their wallet, and empire.
I don’t think there has been a single day passing without the Clarín newspaper, or any of its branches, badmouthing, criticizing, and aggravating him and his wife, our current president. Sometimes the critics were spot-on. And sometimes it was just someone throwing shit at them for no good reason, other than the rage they felt.
And, being this the most popular newspaper, news channels, and celebrities magazines in the country, their ideas spread fast.

“Is she under psychiatric treatment?”. Noticias magazine, under the Clarín Group’s management, accusing Cristina Kirchner, then first lady, of having a bipolar disorder, without proofs, without consulting any of her doctors, without her consent, without anything. Obviously, it was a lie. But the idea was installed in society ever since. This is the power and impunity of the media.

Now, let me make this very very clear. There is nothing I find better than someone making a thoughtful critic about a certain government, policy or ideal, and discussing it with other people. But, and I’m not just talking, this is serious, most people who right-out HATE the Kirchner couple, have memorized this speech, repeated it all over the place, and to themselves, until they believed it, and couldn’t think in any other way. Sometimes this is applied literally. I am not joking.
Most people don’t even realize how deep in their brains some concepts have been carved.

Repetition, impunity, power. These are the elements they have to make people think what they want them to think. They give new concepts to every word they use, and make it so that it’s actually used in a daily basis.

They’ve made words like ‘officialism’, ‘kirchnerist’, and ‘officialist’ into insults. And what I mean by that is that people have actually tried to insult me by calling me all that in debates and forums.
They have divided this country into “K” and “Anti-K”, and then accused the actual government of being responsible for this bipolarity (though they haven’t done much to fight that, really).

By calling yourself a ‘kirchnerist’, some people around you automatically think you are a poor brainwashed person who blindly follows the current government. By calling yourself an ‘oppositor’, some people around you think you are a hateful human being who blindly follows the commands of the Clarín Group.

But, of course, the world isn’t black and white; it’s full of greys, and, quite frankly, that’s probably the only thing that makes it bearable.

I like greys. I enjoy watching them, and I enjoy belonging to them. My thoughts belong to the grey zone. My ideologies aren’t just that or what, they are a combination of ideas, concepts, and knowledge. My way of thinking is unique, and so is everyone else’s.
What bothers me the most about these people, is not only that they claim to be the voice of the whole population, nor really their bloody past, though these things do bug me. What bothers me the most is the fact that they imply you can either be on one side or the other. They deny the greys. And that is not healthy for society, not in the least.

And not only is it unhealthy, it’s proven to be fatal. This is not the first time people like this have tried to divide the society of my country. They have tried, and succeeded before. And every time they did, guess what happened in the end? War. And, in the worst cases, civil war.
Realists vs Autonomists, Federalist vs Unitarians, Conservatives vs Radicals, Peronists vs Gorillas, K vs Anti-K. Our history is marked by the rivalry between two completely opposite groups. And, most of the times, things heated up enough to escalate to wars.
Divide and conquer, you know. As we are too distracted fighting between each other for no real reason, the people who orchestrated all that, swim in their impunity. And money.

By labeling themselves, they usually give up to the possibility of looking at the good attributes of the other side, and actually constructing. Together. Like people who live in the same country. Together.

Taking on definitions like those means not wanting to accept the rest.

Labeling is… Well, I’m short for words. Labeling is stupid. Specially when it refers to political ideologies. It blinds us from our real problems, and from the people we should be looking at with special care.

And that’s why I don’t do that. There.

Well, thanks for putting up with my ranting again.
Take care of yourselves, and remember to pay attention to what you read, what you think, who you side up with, and who you’re really against. What are you not seeing from the general picture? And, who is blocking your sight?

-Mila.

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5 thoughts on “Who shows you what you see?

  1. First, congratulations on writing this post — I’ve been waiting to hear what you had to say about topics like this. Corporate-owned media always criticizes everything on the left. This is why countries have anti-monopoly laws. It’s also why any progressive administration in Latin America has problems governing — the media acts less like a watchdog and more like an attack dog.

    Last year I’d been reading about the new Argentine media law and about Papel Prensa, but I didn’t know the history and was reading in Spanish, so I felt as if I was missing something. When Patricia Tappatá Valdez spoke at the University of Massachusetts last year, I asked her about the media law, and she said, “Well, I think you have something like it in your country!” The problem is, the federal government keeps changing the law, and the corporations donate money to congress members’ election and re-election campaigns. That’s why civil society groups have to keep working to stop Congress from passing laws that give companies (like Grupo Clarín in Argentina) too much power. It’s a constant battle.

    I also like what you write about seeing gray areas. My best porteño friend here in the U.S. talks about this a lot; I think that he, too, has seen the results of black-and-white thinking, and it’s not pretty!

    And thank you for the newspaper front pages — I’ve never seen any of these.

    • Thank you. It really took some effort from my part; I found that, although I’m pretty clear on what I think about this, and on the history of how this all came to be, it was quite difficult to put it in words (and in English at that) and describe how I really feel about the subject. It took me several hours to stop my perfectionist self from tweaking it and just post it.

      Regarding the new media law, it is only controversial over here because there’s a lot of influential people who defend Clarín’s speech for some reason; and I haven’t even gotten started on the absolute hate the upper class and a big portion of the middle class have towards anything that even resembles peronism; which this government is.

      These newspaper front pages and many, many more, are available everywhere. Maybe you should look up any inform on the matter by “6-7-8”, a TV show here. It’s hardcore officialism, but it’s also very informative, and it has absolutely amazing debates.

      You know? I only wanted to talk about how this particular media group affects the current situation, but I couldn’t help but talk about the last dictatorship- AGAIN. I really feel like it’s the only thing I ever mention or explain, but I’ve found I can’t help it. That period of time marked this place so much, that it’s impossible to actually make someone understand this country now-a-days without explaining what happened forty years ago.
      I find it amazing, and I hope people aren’t getting too bored of that xD.

      Anyways, thanks for reading and commenting, and thanks for the input!
      -Mila.

  2. Glad to see you back.

    Whatever valid problems people have with the Kirchners (and there are plenty, their opportunism, the fact that the official inflation numbers are basically made up)…the media law was a model not only for Argentina, but for the world (especially Latin America, where a few people own the media in every country).

    You rarely hear about how Clarin’s rise to power outside of Argentina. This is only the second time I’ve read anyone in English mention Clarin’s role in the dictatorship (after this: https://www.nsfwcorp.com/dispatch/argentinas-media-war/10ac05abf145a475f20ae8199004f13d8de8c8d8/ ). When I lived in Argentina the only paper I really bothered with was Pagina /12, and even that is co-owned by Clarin.

    It’s a shame to see legitimate criticism of the government getting overwhelmed by the rich and right-wing.

    • It’s good to be back.

      Yes, yes and yes. I can’t add much to your comment other than I loved the article you shared. Really, thank you so much, it was an amazing read.

      I too tend to lean towards Página 12, mostly because I agree more with them, and the writers there are just amazing. Seriously, the opinion columns are incredibly well-written, and the article in the last page is always a literary and journalistic joy.

      You know, when I first started this blog, I intended to only use it to post my literary works and maybe practice some english writing. But after I posted my first few political posts regarding Argentina, my mom (who reads this blog. Hey mom) pointed that fact out to me: there are not many voices from here who can write *in english* from my point of view -meaning, a left-ish, officialist-ish point of view. I understood she was right, and that’s why I continued doing so.
      It’s been great so far.

      Anyways, I’m off for the Book Fair. I may write about it when I come back!

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Nolan. I’ll see you around.

      -Mila.

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