Judicial Watch • Mexican, U.S. Media Too Scared To Cover Border Crime

Mexican, U.S. Media Too Scared To Cover Border Crime

Mexican, U.S. Media Too Scared To Cover Border Crime

MARCH 19, 2013

Violence along the southern border has gotten so out of control that both Mexican and American journalists have stopped reporting it out of fear that drug cartels will retaliate against them and their families.

 This means Americans will be kept in the dark about the crisis along the porous and increasingly dangerous Mexican border. We certainly can’t expect the truth from the government. Remember that the nation’s Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, insists that the region is “as secure as it has ever been.” This delusional assessment has been repeated by Napolitano over and over again in a seemingly desperate effort to make people believe it.

Without accurate information—say, from the media—to counter the Obama administration’s version, the public is likely to swallow the government’s less than accurate assessment. First Mexican journalists dropped like flies, either as victims of drug-cartel violence or out of fear, and stopped reporting crime in the region. U.S. journalists located in American border cities soon followed and have stopped reporting on drug-related violence.

 “Mexican journalists, because of fear for their own lives and the safety of their families, are increasingly reluctant to cover drug cartels’ violence and mayhem,” according to Lee Maril, the director of the Center for Diversity and Inequality Research (CDIR), a university group that studies human diversity and social inequality. Maril recently published a piece on the topic in a Homeland Security news site. “What has occurred in recent months is that American reporters located in American border cities also have stopped reporting on drug-related violence across the border for the same reasons as their Mexican counterparts.”

That means no one really knows the true magnitude of the violence, though it’s apparent that the U.S. government is downplaying it. “It would seem that drug violence only stops at the Mexican border in the imaginations of Washington politicians,” Maril says, offering a recent example in Reynosa, the twin border city of McAllen in south Texas. A small local newspaper reporter dared to publish this: “Fear and panic filled the streets as rival gunmen battled during a three-hour firefight that saw automatic weapons and grenades used.”  

For the most part American reporters have stopped crossing the border into cities like Reynosa because they are afraid, according to Maril. National journalists from major newspapers like the Washington Post and New York Times simply ignore major stories of drug-cartel violence like what just occurred in Reynosa, says Maril who monitors the coverage closely with his group of academic researchers.

Judicial Watch has for years reported on the discrepancy between reality and the administration’s line that the Mexican border is secure. The truth is that overwhelmed federal agents are increasingly attacked by heavily armed drug smugglers and the U.S. Border Patrol has ordered officers to avoid the most crime-infested stretches because they’re “too dangerous” and patrolling them could result in an “international incident” of cross border shooting.

The violence has inevitably spilled into U.S. communities near the southern border, forcing local law enforcement agencies to create special units dedicated to combating criminal activity related to illegal immigration and Mexican drug cartels. In the absence of federal action, border crime has risen sharply in the last decade and will only get worse, according to statistics provided to congressional leaders by frustrated Arizona authorities.

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