Mexican-Owned NY Times Uses Papal Visit as Stick to Beat American Conservatives

Pope Francis waves from the popemobile in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, Mexico on February 17, 2016. Throngs gathered at Mexico's border with the United States on Wednesday for a huge mass with Pope Francis highlighting the plight of migrants -- a hot-button issue on the US presidential campaign trail. AFP …
Pedro Pardo/AFP/Getty Images

The New York Times editorial board is taking advantage of Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S.-Mexico border to slam U.S. conservatives and push for its (and the Mexican government’s) agenda for immigration reform.

In an official op-ed, the newspaper, whose major stockholder is Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, said that as the Pope was peacefully celebrating Mass in Mexico, “across the river, was a nation that has frightened itself to the point of panic about foreigners, with help from Republicans running for president.”

During his entire Mexico trip, the Pope made a concerted effort to depoliticize his message, keeping a pastoral tone and never referencing U.S. immigration policy.

In fact, when speaking about the immigration crisis, Francis chose to point the finger at Mexico, denouncing the injustice and violence that compels countless men, women and children to leave their homes in search of a better life, which he called “forced migration.”

In his visit to Ciudad Juarez, the Pope carefully sidestepped politically charged issues such as U.S. border controls and focused instead on the unchecked corruption and violence that drives individuals away from their homeland, calling to mind all those “expelled by poverty and violence, by drug trafficking and criminal organizations.”

In his words Wednesday, the Pope reiterated a message he had spoken earlier in the week, reminding Mexicans that the best way to combat the immigration crisis is by making Mexico itself the sort of place where people want to stay and build a home with no need to look elsewhere for opportunity and happiness.

The New York Times, however, could not resist the temptation to convert the pastoral visit into a cudgel to beat conservatives.

“It’s not just Donald Trump, or Sen. Ted Cruz, or the rest who would expel immigrants by the millions and deny safety to refugees fleeing war in Syria,” they wrote.

“So deep is the Republican fear that a once-feasible campaign for immigration reform now lies damaged beyond hope and recognition,” the editors continue.

“Even Gov. John Kasich, the candidate of restraint and civility, who rejects mass deportation, said in last week’s debate that unauthorized immigrants must never be given a path to citizenship.”

In January 2015, the Mexican Carlos Slim acquired an additional 15.9 million shares in the New York Times Co, making him the largest stockholder in the company. Slim, who is the second-richest person in the world, bailed the company out in January 2009 to the tune of $250 million in exchange for stock options, which he has since exercised.

His stake in the company is now 16.8 percent of the company’s Class A shares, giving him an important bullhorn to make his voice–and interests–heard in the United States.

With Reuters goading the Pope into saying something against Donald Trump, the Times has further ammunition to continue its unapologetic campaign to publish all the news that fits the Democratic platform, and that of its shareholders to the south.

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