MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Friday revealed what he said was the salary of a prominent journalist, arguing the public had a right to know about the financial interests of his administration’s critics.
Lopez Obrador set out the earnings of Carlos Loret de Mola, a journalist who has published a string of damning reports about the government, and who recently reported details on the lifestyle of one of the president’s sons in Texas.
He told a regular news conference the journalist earned far more than he did in 2021, comparing their wages on a screen.
“Do you think this is because he’s a high-flying, very intelligent journalist, a good writer? No! It’s because of his hatchet jobs,” Lopez Obrador said, explaining he had to defend his political project of ending injustice and corruption.
“This is not a personal matter,” he added. “My conscience is clear.”
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Lopez Obrador, who slashed his own presidential salary when he took office in late 2018, said he had earned just over 2 million pesos ($98,000) before tax last year. He did not make clear where the information on Loret’s earnings came from.
“What a thing! Using finance ministry data to go after a journalist. And the data are also wrong, inflated sums! He says I earned millions in 2021 at (broadcaster) Televisa … where I stopped working in 2019,” Loret said on Twitter.
Lopez Obrador, who sets great store by his personal austerity and moral authority, has variously described Loret as a “mercenary,” “corrupt” and “lacking principles”.
In a second tweet, the journalist said the president had put him in danger by his actions.
“It’s a crime,” said Loret, who has more followers on Twitter than the president.
Lopez Obrador’s revelation of the salary came a day after police confirmed the killing of a journalist in Mexico, the latest in a series of deadly attacks this year https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/mexican-journalist-killed-latest-violent-attack-media-2022-02-11.
The president has recently castigated a number of critical journalists, including Carmen Aristegui, whose work helped expose conflicts of interest among Lopez Obrador’s political adversaries during the previous administration.
($1 = 20.49 Mexican pesos)
(Reporting by Dave Graham in Mexico City; Additional reporting by Raul Cortes in Mexico City; Editing by Matthew Lewis)
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