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Argentina | “All The President’s Organs”

“Newspapers are like revolvers: You keep them around jsut so you can pull them out when it’s time to open fire.”Julio Mario Santo Domingo

Happiness, is a warm gun, momma …

New and noted:

This episode surrounding a government lawsuit that challenges control of the newsprint monopoly Papel Prensa S.A. of Argentina is fascinating on so many levels — not least as a peek at political risk management as practiced by a major South American media group or two.

I am just going to translate to the file, underline the references to be googled …. maybe I will eventually work up a pauta — a “pitch,” I mean — for some magazine. Who is writing about this case in the Reuters-Bloomberg-DJ leagues, if anyone?

If they relied on Spanish Wikipedia — admit it, you peek, it’s okay — they are probably pretty well informed. Portuguese Wikipedia, not so much.

The scandal over the e-mails of Manuel Vázquez, former aide to ex-Transportation secretary Ricardo Jaime, keeps on producing headlines. Two of them involve media matters..

One concerned Jaime’s purported ownership of a  “multimedia” company in Córdoba which includes the La Mañana newspaper and radio station LV2.

The other appeared on Sunday in La Nación with the headline “The Telefé deal and the government’s war with Clarín”.

In the unsigned article, La Nación said: “Manuel Vázquez tried to take charge of the sale of Telefé to certain friends of Néstor Kirchner. Rumors of this deal circulated in 2008 and 2009, but were denied by Telefónica, owner of the open-to-air broadcaster.”

It added: “The e-mails show that Vázquez was maneuvering in 2008 with Juan Riva, a former Telefónica exec. ‘The person they recommended was the neighbor of Number One,’ Riva wrote to Vázquez on February 26. He was referring to Rudy Ulloa, a close friend of Néstor Kirchner. ‘The media is not just a business, it is a vast platform they use to do other things,’ he says. Vázquez responded as follows: ‘I have begun looking for investors and informed the government’. He added that ‘There are businessmen and bankers looking for an in with the Big Cheese.’

El mandemás, the guy who gives all the orders..

In the next paragraph, he reports, “Riva warned days ago that Telefónica did not want to sell, but could accept the deal if it came with ‘a change of regulations favoring their acquisition of TDT for their channels, rather than giving it to the  Clarín group.’ Vázquez saw the deal as difficult: ‘What weighs increasingly in the balance is NK’s good relationship with Clarín. Clarín is practically the president’s organ bank.'”

Televisíon digital terrestre or terrestrial digital TV, the acronym is the same.

This occurred “six days before Resolution 125 and the beginnings of the agricultural protest.” Later, “in April, Riva was enthusiastic about the rift between Clarín and the government, and sent Vázquez a note about Ulloa and Telefé. ‘I cannot see very well how we can intervene; they are already in direct contact’,  Vázquez told him on April 14.”

Colorful detail: the government’s man in charge of public-private partnerships accusing the two majority private-sector owners of giving themselves fat discounts off the books and spying on the credit card accounts of judges for the purposes of blackmail.

These things do happen, but I would just say at this point that we are watching one of those media-driven hurricanes of mutual public recrimination. Where it will make land, your guess is as good as mine.