Want to see a phony talking point wielded by Puerto Rico governor Luis Fortuño obliterated by a serious journalist on live TV? Then click on the video above and watch Rafael Lenín López ask the governor about what I’d cast doubt on in my previous post. “At what moment,” asks Lenin, “did you hear of or receive information that there was a plan to take the Capitolio by force?” Fortuño pauses for a microsecond, his eyes darting back and forth, then completely ignores the question. “If you go to a peaceful demonstration, why would you bring a backpack filled with stones, or why would you bring pepper spray?” The press, he goes on to say, has a responsibility to present both sides.
But why then, did he not have a direct response to the question? Because he had no answer, because there was no published threat to take the Capitolio by force! Wouldn’t he be sitting there waving the flyer or identifying the speaker or quoting from more of the violent rhetoric that he says is a threat to Puerto Rico, wielded by a group, which he says does not believe in democracy? How simple it would have been to say so right there!
The sequence occurred, incredibly on a show called “Super Xclusivo,” which is the highest rated local television show in Puerto Rico, hosted by a female puppet that is voiced by a seasoned male comedian.
The puppet, called “La Comay,” is a kind of archetype of gossip who fuses criticism of the government with tabloid celebrity journalism in a way that always seems to offend someone in every household, leading them to announce that they will never watch the show again. Only to return to it when the bad taste has worn off.
To its credit, Super Xclusivo gave Fortuño all he could handle, seemingly sneaking in Lenín López, an obvious adversary and author of a recent book that makes a very good case that the previous governor, Anibal Acevedo Vilá, was set up in a corruption investigation that pretty much destroyed his career, allowing for Fortuño to be elected in 2008. (The fact that this investigation originated with George W. Bush’s discredited Justice Department will be the subject of another post.)
Here’s the amazing conclusion of the Super Xclusivo interview, which shows a statement from Betty Peña and Elisa Ramos Peña, the mother and daughter who were famously photographed while menaced by Puerto Rico’s out of control police force.