An example of the propaganda and misinformation some call 'journalism'

Vox, 'Ivan the Terrible' and Francisco Marhuenda: the inconsistencies of a fictional novel

Being a journalist and writing novels are two very respectable trades. What can be criticized is that a journalist confuses one and the other.

Iván Espinosa, the elegant farewell of a great politician, a good person and a friend
Vox and the curious things that some media are trying to sneak in as 'information'

This week we received the sad news of the abandonment of the policy of Iván Espinosa de los Monteros, deputy and spokesman for the Vox parliamentary group in Congress. In Spain there is a cliché that dying helps to finally get people to speak well of you, and my dear Iván can feel relieved that he did not have to be inside a coffin to be able to see how some who praise him they slandered him.

One of those affected by this sudden change has been Francisco Marhuenda, director of La Razón, one of the media closest to the Popular Party, who has been pampering this medium especially (remember that another PP-affiliated media, Abc, revealed in 2017 that La Razón "copied 60% of Metro de Madrid's advertising investment between 2011-2015", a controlled company by the Community of Madrid, in the hands of the PP since 1995). The day Iván announced his resignation, Marhuenda said about him that he was "the representative of the most liberal wing" of Vox.

Indeed, Iván is an admirable liberal-conservative for those of us who share that ideological affiliation. Another thing is what Marhuenda understands by "liberal" in this fictional story that he and his newspaper have written about Vox. Let's see an example. On July 7, 2019, La Razón published a fictional story on Iván Espinosa stating that "he has taken absolute control of Vox". The news was based on anonymous sources and was full of false data, a true classic in that type of current literature that some sell us as "journalism."

Iván himself dismantled the falsehoods of that news in a Twitter thread published that same day. Despite this, La Razón did not rectify any of the falsehoods published and maintains them today on its website despite having already been denied, which reflects the particular sense of professional ethics that they have in that newspaper.

Even today, in that same piece of news, it is still stated that Iván acts "like a chieftain" and that he and his wife, Rocío Monasterio (an excellent person, as is his husband), are the "guillotine couple". Perhaps Marhuenda confuses liberalism with the Jacobin Terror, the first totalitarian regime of the Contemporary Age... La Razón added: "because of the whip of Espinosa de los Monteros, everyone agrees in calling him «Iván the terrible". A powerful boss who, like the czar of all the Russias, leaves no head puppet to whoever stands in front of him."

This crude caricature, appealing to anonymous sources, accused Iván of "generating an extreme-right anti-system party, a kind of Podemos in the antipodes", and insisted on resort to the Russian simile to end up qualifying him as "the authentic czar of Vox". And now, four years after that cataract of lies, Marhuenda tells us that Iván was from the "more liberal wing" of Vox, all without Iván having taken a sudden ideological turn: he continues to defend the same thing he did then.

This is an example of how certain media outlets have dedicated themselves to lying about Vox to create a false image about that party, resorting to hoaxes like those included in that embarrassing news item from 2019. Now it is worth asking: How many other false stories about Vox has La Razón published in all these years?

Of course, I would have no objection -beyond harsh literary criticism- if Marhuenda had written a novel in which Iván Espinosa was Sauron's successor in charge of the destinies of Mordor, to in the end, make him the hero of the story and crown him as Aragorn's successor in the Kingdom of Gondor, without the protagonist changing his speech at any time. Marhuenda and La Razón are very free to write incoherent works of fiction. The problem is calling that "journalism" and trying to convince their readers that this novel, this invented story, are real events.

Certainly, Vox will have to do its part to improve its relationship with the media, but companies like La Razón and journalists like Marhuenda should also reflect and criticize themselves, because what they have done against Vox could be labeled novelism, political activism, propaganda, or disinformation, but to call it "journalism" is an insult to good journalists.


Photo: Efe. Francisco Marhuenda, director of the newspaper La Razón.

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