a winsy rant on newspapers and readers in the sd-tj border area

I have always found spanish media a tad cumbersome. They inform the public, period. Rarely do they call to agitate. Tijuana spanish media always has this ‘miralos, miralos, pinches gringos, ya ni la chingan’ attitude. Probably party line stemming from Mexico City. It is inherent in our society to have echelons. So this is also plastered in the news. Hence nothing ever gets too out of proportion.

Most spanish newspapers go from the perspective that people are just plain dumb altogether. There is a sense that they are doing the people a favor. But let me back up some. When I say they inform I mean they pass on the information as if it had nothing to do with the community. It is always somebody else doing the action, unknown actors so far removed from the community as posible that it bears no resemblance with us to the extent that they even seem unmexican. Stories also tend to have no secondary sources or opinions being consulted to confirm or back up the ‘truth’ of the story. One must wholy rely on the integrity of the reporter that tells of the news, reports it. That is it.

A newspaper has so many facets. So I am just gonna be referring to a greater extent to the news that concern border issues which often tend to be matters of state. This in turn always leads to finger pointing of the worst kind at all levels of government administration. Just as well, rarely or seldom at best, is there a public reaction to anything, the San Andreas Fault could come loose and tijuanenses would be the last to know. There is no sense in the population to bring accountability to the powers to be . This goes back to the echelons I bespoke of before. Power stems from the top down and not the other way around.

Tijuana is a city populated by immigrants, which at any given time, constitute the majority of the population. So the spanish media more often than not has to address this crowd, not the native population. The latter has to do with second rate publications, plain old gossip or look to San Diego or L.A. for deeper analysis that concerns their region. The immigrant population tends to also be less educated than the native tijuanense. Immigrants have different customs and traditions. They come with a sense of human relations that is almost alien to the native tijuanense.

Immigrants tend to respect those in power. They revolve around power like sycophants. Immigrants tend not to question authority [feeling of not belonging what not] and those in power are looked upon as a hierarchy that is unremovable, except, off course, every three years which is when Tijuana has to go to the polls to elect a new mayor. This explains rather well the misunderstood feeling that native tijuanenses feel every three years.

It is not that there is apathy running amok in the city. It is the general lack of interest for the city as a whole. Tijuanenses in general do care for their city but because immigrants carry with them this sense of feeling that Tijuana is not their city and that they will not be staying in Tijuana too long no matter what, [they are just passing by] why vote. If they do vote it is so because they get something in return. It gets them something that puts food on the table. Immigrants outnumber tijuanenses and politicians understand this very well and fully take advantage of it. But I digress.

People born or raised in Tijuana tend to have a higher degree of education not because they attend institutions of higher education in masse but because we are bombarded day in and day out with all sorts of information from two language sources. Sadly enough there is also a brain drainage from the city. Educated tijuanenses are ill understood because we do not have the more mexican accepted customs in our sociological view of the world. This tends to askew the mexican view of how the world ought to be and which thereby tends to loath independent thinking. This makes for poor readership and least to say, leadership. This makes the many educated and well raised look elsewhere for a better future for themselves, for their personal development and their own good. Forget about the mexican diaspora, what about the tijuanense diaspora? Lalo Alcaraz, Luis Humberto Urrea, beisbol players, arquitects and a whole lot of other people that are later ‘forgotten’ by the city’s leaders or populace because they left the city. They may have left the city but the city never left them. They proudly say where they come from. But I digress once again.

On the other hand, whenever I read American anglo newspapers detailing news of Tijuana one is often struck with a sense of awe at the portrayal of heroism that a few mexicans seem to acomplish, read: it is laudable to be able to see ourselves in the mexican character because someone did something Anglo America can identify itself with which in most cases tends to mean progress. Progress is always a headline whenever Tijuana or México are talked about in the San Diego news media. It is news whenever we seem to be moving forward. The kind of ‘forward’ anglos seem to be abe to relate to.

News articles about Tijuana, or México, are designed to make us english speaking mexicans feel good. We like to hear and read about the bastards down in México, who did us wrong, get in trouble. They also tend to be articles that cause ‘indignación’ that is, these pieces of information are made to cause public reaction. Speacially concerning border issues. They agitate, they are a call to do something about the current situation at hand and that will inevitably affect the lives of our people for generations to come.

This has very much to do with the anglo American sense that Washington just can’t get away with anything it wants. It must have and does have opposition to its will. There is a price to be paid for messing with public opinion not so in Tijuana, México.

So this tends to create more news. This off course has more to do with the ‘business mentality’ of our gringo neighbour than anything else. More news means more stories, which in turn means more readers and more newspapers being printed and sold, so these articles tend to be follow-ups which in turn creates a loyal and interested readership. Everybody loves a good a fight specially when the big guy is getting knocked down.

This ‘indignación’ is far different than that from mexicans that are not from Tijuana where ‘indignación’ is often toothless and damped with a sense of resignation and powerlessness. The articles tend to be more informative with third party involvement. They are often small pieces of investigation, or so it would seem, though I suspect this is more rutine than ‘investigation’. The difference is a legal one. In Anglo America they are afraid of being sued for libel, so they have to get their facts straight. Besides, at the local and civic level, the code of ethics is much higher in San Diego than in Tijuana. What matters is to get to the truth regardless of who is affected by it. In México, people can also be sued for slander and libel as well but differently.

I imagine it is very hard to get people to talk or express their opinion or professional opinion on any matter that may affect them because they fear retaliation.