by Victor Loza and Sharon Heafey
Is the Press biased when it comes to reporting about dangers in Mexico? In our opinion, yes, it is. There is no doubt that Mexico is having problems right now, but does that really affect the average student, tourist or investor?
Recently there were shootings during Mardi Gras in New Orleans that were not widely reported in the US media. Yet CNN on the same day ran a report of three drug dealers killed in Mexico. After that, more warnings were released advising tourists and students to stay away from Mexico. Should there have been warnings to the same groups to stay out of New Orleans?
The recent news has once again injured northern Baja’s tourist trade by repeating old news that, in most cases, happened a year ago. At the same time, reporters are saying little to nothing about the shootings during Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Why didn’t the shootings in New Orleans make a bigger splash in the US media? According to Bob Johnson, general manager of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center-New Orleans, it would be an unfair tactic, because crime is a problem in most metropolitan cities. “I’m not sure why New Orleans is picked on,” Johnson said. “Certainly New Orleans doesn’t have a corner on the crime market. Other cities are as bad or approaching as bad with street crime.”
Still, cities that compete with New Orleans convention business and leisure travel may try to use the Mardi Gras incident and the city’s other crime problems to try to persuade visitors not to visit. See the full story at http://www.nola.com/news/?/base/news-1/1235630007176920.xml&coll=1. Many cities in Mexico, such as Rosarito, Ensenada and Tijuana are already suffering greatly from the exaggerated media reports.
A recent report in the Los Angeles Times stated that Los Angeles had 130 murders by gunshot over the period from January 1 to March 9, 2009 (http://www.latimes.com/news/local/crime/homicidemap/). In stark contrast to this, Rosarito beach had ZERO persons killed over that same period and Tijuana had THREE – all related to drug crimes.
While living in the United States we experienced the fear of going to McDonalds or the mall, or worrying that some deranged individual would take a gun to school and start shooting innocent children. We lived through “Freeway Rage” where innocent people were shot and some were killed. We sat in front of the television in horror while the news reported killings in high schools and government offices. In all of these cases innocent people were hurt or killed.
In Mexico, almost all of the shootings are taking place between drug dealers or between police and the drug cartel. The U.S. also has its share of drug related shootings but they are commonly referred to as “Drive bys.”
Obviously some of the news about Mexico is accurate, and we are not going to deny that innocent people are killed in Mexico, but it is not to the extent the U.S. media makes it out to be. It is upsetting and hurtful to watch what is presented by the press, especially knowing that family and friends, in addition to the millions of other individuals watching the news, may actually believe what they are hearing.
We both live full time in the Rosarito/Ensenada area and are not afraid to walk the streets, visit our favorite restaurants, go shopping, go to the movies, or go to any government agency. We feel safe. We love both the United States and Mexico. It’s like having two very different children that you love the same but for different reasons. We hope that no one ever encounters the horrors discussed above and we invite you to visit our Mexico and enjoy the sun, the food and the wonderful people.