Lara Logan and Fake News

Those that watch Fox News know that the station has been touting a new digital channel that is supposed to be a more intimate connection to Fox personalities and news. One of the news personalities launching a Fox Nation program is Lara Logan, formerly of 60 Minutes. In a profile on The Hill yesterday, by Joe Concha, Lara Logan said that her docuseries would be a “journalism show, not an opinion show.” In Lara Logan Has No Agenda, Logan purports to report news about immigration and other issues. Her launch topic is the Drug War.

Lara Logan having to explain that her new show is not “opinion” but rather “journalism” has to do with two issues. The first is that the show runs on Fox News which many have described as propaganda for Donald Trump. The other issue has to do with Logan, herself.

In 2013, Logan was forced to apologize to her audience on CBS This Morning for her report about Benghazi that CBS found “deficient in several respects”.

Journalist Glen Greenwald, which is known for publishing the Edward Snowden files stated in 2010 that although Logan had done some good reporting, he felt Logan had become a spokesperson for the government and the military instead of a news reporter.

What brought Lara Logan to my attention was a Fox Nation “EXCLUSIVE: Lara Logan confronts alleged Mexican cartel doctor accused of torturing DEA agent” published on Monday. The “confronted” doctor is Dr. Humberto Alvarez Machaín, who was alleged to have kept DEA Agent Enrique Camarena alive while he was tortured by drug lords in 1985.

There are several versions of what happened to Camarena and there are tapes of the torture. What happened remains in some debate. But Camarena was tortured and killed by drug lords, that much we know.

Logan and Fox News are obviously using the border security issue, the drug issue and recent attention on Chapo Guzman to bring eyeballs to her show.

That is expected in today’s news environment.

Logan’s show even includes the sensational shots of a wanna-be soldier of fortune all decked out in military garb with some badge and 5.56 clips strapped on him. Presumably he is a retired DEA agent, but it is unclear from the pictures posted on the article.

But nothing brings more eyeballs to sensationalized news about México then some guy all dressed up to play war supposedly in the bad lands of México.

Par for the course.

But what grates me is the obvious spin on the facts by ignoring them.

The Logan article states that Lara Logan and her entourage “tracked” and “confronted” the doctor that allegedly kept Camarena alive during the torture. They throw in El Chapo for good measure even though Chapo was nothing more than an underling when Camarena was killed and had little to nothing to do with that murder. But, El Chapo makes headlines so they add that El Chapo “was a young lieutenant in the Guadalajara cartel” when the DEA agent was murdered.

It helps that El Chapo brings in “clicks” which is what they are after.

According to the article, the intrepid crew of Logan, a former DEA agent and some other people drove to the U.S. consulate where Camarena was kidnapped from just so that they can throw in superlatives of “human life means nothing here,” attributed to a DEA agent “whose voice and appearance were disguised for his safety”.

Oh, the danger!

Of course, they had to throw in “this is no different than what you see in the Middle East” for click bait.

I spent much of my early life in Guadalajara in the 1980’s and I can tell you from firsthand experience that it has never been or is like the war-torn Middle East.

But that sensationalism is not enough for Lara Logan and Fox News.

They went to the taco shop that Alvarez Machaín owns although they started out by having to “track” the doctor down. To keep some semblance of journalism intact, the piece interjects that in 1992, the doctor went on trial and that a judge dismissed the charges against him because “the government lacked evidence” for trial.

At the doctor’s taco restaurant Logan asks him if he had an involvement in Camarena’s death. The doctor denied involvement. Logan then asks her DEA agent escort, “how come the doctor’s not in jail?”

His reply was; “there’s no justice for anyone here.”

The inconvenient fact is that it was a United States court, not a Mexican court that tried and released Humberto Alvarez Machaín and why he lives “openly” in Guadalajara today, meaning that there was no need to “track” him down and “confront” him about the murder.

Here are the inconvenient facts that Lara Logan conveniently ignored.

Humberto Alvarez Machaín was kidnapped from México and illegally brought to the United States by bounty hunters. In 1992, Alvarez Machaín was tried in California on charges stemming from the murder of Camarena. It was a United States courtroom that tried Machaín.

The court ruled, before the defense even began its case, that the prosecution of Humberto Alvarez Machaín was nothing more than “suspicion and hunches” and that the prosecution “offered no proof”.

Again, it was a United States courtroom with a U.S. prosecutor presenting the case and a U.S. judge dismissing the case because of the lack of evidence.

Humberto Alvarez Machaín sued for his illegal abduction from México and a United States court, along with a United States Court of Appeal ruled that Alvarez Machaín was entitled to $25,000 because of his kidnapping by U.S. officials.

The Supreme Court intervened and ruled that the one-day detention, the illegal kidnapping and transportation to the U.S. was not enough harm for relief under the law. However, the Supreme Court’s ruling did not negate the underlining fact that Alvarez Machaín was illegally brought to the U.S. to stand trial.

More importantly, it was a U.S. courtroom that released Humberto Alvarez Machaín and found that there was not enough evidence to convict him.

But none of those facts made it into Logan’s piece because they do not serve to further the illusion that México is “no different than the Middle East”.

The clickbait news cycle is about sensationalism at the expense of anyone that gets in the way. In this case, México, the Mexican government and the Mexican people.

It is no wonder that those watching these shows believe that México is on the brink of a failed state. Which is no where close to the reality.

But reality doesn’t generate clicks and thus the false news reporting continues.

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