Saturday, November 6, 2010

Narco Cartel Media Strategy - Publish and Perish

The silence of Matamoros's local newspaper about yesterday's day-long battle between narco and government forces (here) is by no means unique to Matamoros.

H/T to Mountainrunner for pointing out an interesting analysis of the information campaign being run by Mexico's narco cartels all along the border:

Instead of reporting on crooked public officials or the growth of organized crime, newspaper editor Martha Lopez runs press releases from the Zeta cartel.

It's the latest move by the cartel in Mexico's escalating drug war, and one that she says she has no way to fight.

She said the gang has established its own public relations arm that issues stories the local papers are under orders to run, or else journalists will get hurt.

-- snip --

Cartel control is growing across Mexico, and the press is often one of the cartels' first targets. Their objective is to keep the public ignorant of their actions.

In Tamaulipas, for instance, cartels have penetrated the police and city governments to the point that the cartels almost have free reign, according to reporters in the state's five largest cities. But nothing of that is reported in the press, the reporters say. The most important story — that the citizens have lost control of their cities to criminals — is the one that cannot be covered.

It never ceases to amaze me that, at the same time the United States is waist deep in state-building and internal defense in various places around the world, we seem to regard Mexico as a far-away land of little importance to us. In a rational world, wouldn't we care more about an insurrection going on a stone's throw from cities on our southern border than about one on the other side of the earth?

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