Maybe the American audience does not know too much about what is going on in the Argentina media world and never heard about a situation that has started a year ago and is seriously damaging the already problematic and unreliable government of Cristina Kirchner. All started with a Sunday night political TV show.
Jorge Lanata is a very well-known journalist who initiated his career when he was 14 years old. He founded and later sold a famous political critic newspaper (Pagina 12) that is still being distributed in Buenos Aires, although now changed to a daily publication mostly supportive of the official agenda. Lanata has done several radio programs and TV shows and has also participated in a nightly comedy show presented in a famous old Theatre of Buenos Aires. Some recent years ago Lanata also recreated another newspaper project named "Critica" that failed financially after the Kirchner's government rescinded all federal advertising and pressed indirectly much of its sponsors, upset with Lanata's editorials. The bearded Lanata, who uses glasses and is 53 now, is also a heavy smoker and a fanatic of the "colloquial language." All his TV programs were always considered "high rating prime time" because of the public and constant denunciation of hundreds (not to say thousands) of corruption cases during the last years of Argentine democracy.
Three years ago Jorge Lanata felt after that last breakdown that his career in Argentina was almost ending. He was out of the TV or the radio, and only randomly producing some documentary films. Hired by Turner, he traveled around the world interviewing leaders in a TV mini-series for the network that had limited success.
In 2012 Lanata, who was also suffering some physical health problems, returned to Buenos Aires and embarked in a project with the group Clarin. Lanata used to be a critic of such multimedia corporation, but life continued and Clarin became in its war with Cristina Kirchner, the only safe heaven able to mount a new show where Lanata will feel comfortable. This new era in the Argentinian TV, and with the backup of Clarin, was thought as a strong bet.
Not only in 2012 Lanata has shown corruption cases related to the Kirchner's and their allies in several impoverished provinces of Argentina. He also travelled to Caracas where he was almost detained in the airport by Chavez's thugs until his team erased all cameras and recordings done in Venezuela, especially to opposition leaders and other local censored TV anchors by the chavista's regime.
Since his return, Lanata in Channel 13's Sunday night show called PPT, has become the rating leader in its segment, every week showing serious investigations mostly in the Province of Santa Cruz where the Kirchner's and its friends ruled for near two decades. Heavy connections and corruption scandals linked to construction corporations, luxury houses, investments, private jets and money laundering in countries like Panama are shown in TV prime time to all the country. Lanata has released documentation that linked the official family to public figures and other businessmen that grown enormous fortunes during recent times. He has shown land, money transfers, and all kinds of vicious arrangements, many of them involving hundreds of million dollars.
Lanata came back on stage and the image of the Argentinian president, Cristina Kirchner has dropped sharply, as it was revealed by some well-known opinion poll consulting companies and the Argentinian press. The government of the South American country has become so nervous that there are rumors of an intervention to the Clarin group, who is owned in a limited share by State Funds. Word of mouth mentioned that during last weeks a maneuver related to Clarin or any other possible legal alternative to shut Lanata's "big mouth" was being thought as an urgent fast track. Also the government has ruled out a new press regulation some months ago that is pressing group Clarin to reduce their national presence, although the group is resisting at Judicial Courts.
Argentinian authorities have said that they do not have the intention to ban the "press freedom," but it is well known that they are using its entire national publicity budget to help other friendly media and public stations. The situation has created tensions between well-known journalists that are losing independence, in a war where money and political stability is really at stake in the "pampas" land. The possible intervention and the battle against Clarin has become a national state matter and is ongoing.