Monday, May 2, 2011

Mad As Hell About Negative Media Coverage on Puerto Penasco

I don't mean to go on a rant here, but...

I'm fed up to HERE with the over-the-top alarms, fear mongering media pieces and exaggerated government warnings about the safety of Puerto Penasco. It's ridiculous! Enough already!

It would be one thing if all that crap was actually based on fact, written by people who have some first hand knowledge of the place. But most of it comes from people who have never set foot in Penasco, whose knowledge of geography is so vague that they can barely find Mexico on a map let alone little Rocky Point/Puerto Penasco. And most media coverage tends to go for the headlines that sell newspapers rather than provide any kind of real reporting.

Take this headline in The Seattle Times: Travel briefs: State Department heightens Syria, Mexico travel warnings. Really? They tossed Mexico in with Syria for gawd's sake? And then they quote the travel warning, saying only "More drug-related violence in Mexico prompted the department to widen a previous warning to include a Gulf of California resort area known as Rocky Point, and the area in Mexico around the border crossing near Nogales, south of Tucson."

That's not "reporting", it's just cut-and-paste mindless filler. And you have to wonder how many people never go beyond the headline. Syria equals Mexico, DANGER, Will Robinson! I wonder how many Americans don't even know that Syria and Mexico don't occupy the same continent? It drives me nuts!

Heaven forbid that anyone should pay attention to the gringos who know Rocky Point best. You know, the folks who actually live there or travel there frequently. What could WE possibly know about it? After all, we only live there every day, do business there, play there, prepare our meals there, experience the life of the city in all its best and worst ways, on its best and worst days.

There's a difference between "feeling" safe and "being" safe. Most people feel pretty safe in their daily lives (unless they live in a gang-ridden neighborhood). Things are familiar to them and they feel safe right up to the moment that the home invasion is in THEIR home, when the carjacking is THEIR car, when the feel-safe moment of greeting their congresswoman in a Safeway parking lot turns out to be not safe at all.

Puerto Penasco is at least as safe as your city, and if you live in a big city like Phoenix we're safer in Penasco than you are. No brag, just fact. What we aren't is stupid. We can assess the facts and the risks, and we know what we're talking about.

Following recent seriously negative articles in the Phoenix and Tucson newspapers about the dangers of Rocky Point, a lot of folks from Penasco wrote letters to the editor decrying the poorly vetted "facts" that were presented to a largely ignorant public. I read some of the comments that followed those letters and they just about had me tearing my hair out, written as they were by your average low-information "experts" (many of them displaying an overt bigotry against Mexicans) who sanctimoniously called anyone who goes to Puerto Penasco (or Mexico in general) "Morans". Yes, that's how it was spelled, it's not a typo. "Morans." I'm sure they wouldn't get the irony of that even if it were spelled out to them.

No amount of reasoning, of fact checking, of putting things in proper context, will affect the opinions of that segment of the population. I'd like to say forget about them, ignore them, but there's a problem with that.

Because while I'm perfectly fine with those "morans" staying home, keeping Mexico and Rocky Point free of their particular brand of ugly-Americanism, their incessant braying infects others who fall for the fear mongering, who are then too afraid to come and "Si" for themselves.

I guess the best we can do against the relentless propaganda against us is to remain vigilant, to fight fire with fire, continuing to put the true face of Puerto Penasco in front of people with articles, letters, pictures, events, full page ads and so on until the nay-sayers cry Uncle and crawl back under their rocks. We can outlast them (Yes, we can!).

Until then, Frack them and the jackasses they rode in on!

End of rant. Peace out...

La Huerita
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain