Call of the Andes
"This is a media alert for
editors and television producers who thought they could safely
ignore all news outside the United States: the permanent drug
war is going military -- and abroad... this story promises to
be around for years. Alert media, however, will want to prepare
to field Spanish-speaking correspondents, duly covered by kidnap
insurance, to follow the action across the photogenic terrain
of the Andes.
"It would be unwise to expect
trustworthy information from Washington...."
April 30, 2000
We sent this letter to Max Frankel,
answering his call, ten days ago:
May 6, 2000
Dear Max Frankel,
Your essay, "Call
of the Andes," was marvelous and much needed: a message
to the press corps from an Authentic Journalist.
I write from Latin America,
and came across your essay through the NY Times Magazine internet
In fact, 18 days ago,
we launched an online newspaper, The Narco News Bulletin, precisely
to help fill the vacuum of authentic bi-lingual coverage of the
Like your essay, we have
praised the coverage of NY Times reporter Tim Golden.
I'm sorry to
say -- I might as well tell you up front -- that we have also
been sharply critical of the reporting of other NY Times correspondents
down here. But we call it like we see it, let the chips fall
where they may.
There is a very real desire
among the public to receive better drug
war coverage from south of the border. In our first 18 days,
The Narco News Bulletin has received more than 39,000 visits
to our online publication.
In our May 15th edition,
we will surely quote from your essay and link to the Times magazine
I'm a New Yorker who grew
up reading Max Frankel. Seeing your essay made me remember a
time when the NY Times represented to me a more authentic journalism
than exists among major dailies today. All power to you, Max,
for keeping the dream alive.
salud y abrazo,
Those of us who
favor the term "authentic journalism" over "alternative"
journalism are sometimes seen as out of style, looking to history
in an era when nearly everyone in the media looks no further
than to the next deadline.
As I wrote to
Max Frankel ten days ago. I grew up reading his reports: from
Washington, from Moscow, from Havana, from the Dominican Republic,
the location of this week's top story in The Narco News Bulletin.
Times have changed, but we confront the same injustices. In part,
because the North American public is so badly informed. The imposed
amnesia of the mass media causes us to forget the lessons of
Max Frankel could
write those words above because of his status as a veteran soldier
of authentic journalism. The NY Times correspondents in
Latin America almost never write words so true: even if most
of them could, they would fail to do so. They wouldn't know how.
Already The Narco News Bulletin -- if you read what we've
published so far -- has made mention of the worst of them. We
have declared ourselves sworn enemies of the bought-and-sold
journalism of our era.
there is a better journalism than exists today. One that is grounded
in history. And so we tip our sombrero to Max Frankel, and encourage
our readers to see
his entire essay, "Call of the Andes." Courtesy of the Media Awareness
Project and its extensive archives of press coverage on the drug
With those words
from an Authentic Journalist, Max Frankel has penned the best
argument for the birth of The Narco News Bulletin.
Would that all
the NY Times correspondents in Latin America read it,
understand it, and take it to heart. The US public would be better
informed, and wouldn't tolerate Washington's prohibitionist drug
policy for a New York minute.
in a country called América,
Narco News Bulletin is an affiliate of another flagship of Authentic
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