Leaked Video Shows Mexican Reporters Accepting Payment From Prominent Drug Lord

By McCarton Ackerman 09/26/14

TV reporter Eliseo Caballero was caught taking money from Servando Gomez Martinez, leader of the Knights Templar cartel.

bribery cash bag.jpg

A prominent news reporter in Mexico has been fired after a leaked video showed him accepting money from one of Mexico’s most-wanted drug lords.

Eliseo Caballero, an on-air correspondent for Televisa in Michoacán, was let go after an aired 25-minute clip showed him sitting down with Servando Gómez Martínez, the leader of the Knights Templar cartel. He and Jose Luis Díaz Pérez, the owner and director of Esquerna, are shown accepting an unspecified amount of money from Martínez in exchange for offering tips on how to improve his media image. Caballero is also shown asking the drug lord for cameras, while Díaz Pérez asked for a vehicle for moving gear.

"This is a blow to the credibility of Mexican journalism, to the credibility of the journalism we should have—critical, independent, and autonomous from the forces of power it covers," said political analyst Denise Dresser. “Now apparently the cartels aren't only buying police officers and mayors, they're also buying journalistic consciences.”

Both reporters defended their actions by saying they were coerced into the meeting with Martínez. Caballero also said he did not recall taking money from the drug lord, but may have taken a “little bit” to cover gas. Díaz Pérez also cited an October 2010 incident in which he was kidnapped and tortured for reporting on the drug trade, declaring that “the reality is, when organized crime took control of the state, the things we end up doing, many times, are against our will.”

Televisa denied any prior knowledge or complicity in the events of the tape, but they have long been accused of media bias. Despite this, they have continued to dominate the nation’s TV market and grossed about $5.5 billion in 2013.

Check out the entire video here:

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix

McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.