U.S. Media's Disclosure Failure on Mexican Election 'Analyst' John Ackerman
With the final vote tally released in the Mexican presidential election, a host of international media outlets are speculating on the win of PRI candidate Enrique Peña Nieto implications of the resurgence of the longtime ruling party after 12 years out of the president’s office. The final results match with the quick results released immediately after the election.
Of particular note is the screed published this past Monday by Foreign Policy (a publication owned by the Washington Post) by Mexico-based American academic John Ackerman. Titled “The Return of the Mexican Dinosaur,” it is subtitled “Mexico’s pretty-boy president is more dangerous than he looks,” so one can quickly deduce Ackerman isn’t happy with the election results.
That's not the only place that Ackerman's views have appeared. In a July 4th article at The Daily Beast/Newsweek, Ackerman warned that "Obama Plays Risky Game in Mexico With Embrace of Enrique Peña Nieto".
And in May prior to the election he was backing the Occupy Wall Street-style anti-Nieto "YoSoy132" astroturfing operation in The Nation, saying the "movement" represented "A Left-Wing Comeback in Mexico's Presidential Elections". As the election showed, that appears not to be the case.
But there is one crucial element missing from all three of Ackerman’s screeds in these establishment media publications: his glaring conflict of interest.
John Ackerman is not some academic offering his independent view of the situation from the ground, but an outspoken partisan supporting Nieto's opponent, far-Left Chavista PRD candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
More than that, completely undisclosed by all three of these publications is that Ackerman is married to one of Obrador's top campaign advisers and volunteers, Irma E. Sandoval.
Following the last Mexican presidential election in 2006 Ackerman and Sandoval were regular joint commentators in American media outlets complaining about the razor-thin loss of their candidate to PAN candidate and current president Felipe Calderone. In one LA Times oped the pair even dubbed Obrador the “legitimate president” and likened their man to Al Gore in 2000. Following Obrador's 2006 loss, they attacked President Obama for choosing a meeting with Mexican President Calderone for his first stop on his pre-inaugural tour of Latin America. No one should be surprised that his wife used to work for George Soros' Open Society Institute.
This time, in what has widely been described in the media and by top independent election officials as the cleanest election in Mexico’s history, Obrador’s margin of loss is nearly 7 percent — meaning that the wide margin of victory for Nieto might discourage the weeks-long protests in Mexico City that paralyzed the country in 2006 (and which were cheered by Ackerman and his wife) when Obrador's claims of widespread fraud were found to be baseless and his demands for a nationwide recount were dismissed. And yet Ackerman has launched similar claims of vote fraud as 2006. Obrador has also already vowed numerous challenges to the most recent vote that could take months to sort out, and Ackerman The new president will take his office in December.
Other US publications have been caught pushing Ackerman as a supposedly academic analyst. In a May 22nd oped in the LA Times, Ackerman grimly warned of “The PRI Peril“, saying that:
Pena Nieto is a wolf in sheep's clothing. He hides behind a telegenic smile and sharp attire, but he represents Mexico's old corrupt political class.
To their credit three days later the LA Times issued this correction:
A May 22 Op-Ed about Mexican presidential candidate Enrique Pena Nieto should have disclosed that the author’s wife serves as an unpaid volunteer coordinator with civil society organizations for another candidate, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
So far, Foreign Policy, The Daily Beast/Newsweek and The Nation have failed to make the same disclosure to its readers.
These publications are free to publish opinions from a broad range of opinions, just like we do here at PJ Media, but they it owe its readers full disclosure with such a highly partisan commentator as Ackerman. This should apply as well to the other US media outlets that have reprinted Ackerman’s anti-Nieto screeds.
You can see John Ackerman in action in this video from last week by Kremlin front Russia Today (RT) complaining about the failure of "Yo Soy 132":