Miguel Ángel Aguilar: “Sectarian media in Catalonia incite the worst”
Miguel Ángel Aguilar (Madrid, 1943) was an astronomer, to follow the family tradition, but ended up being one of the most recognized political journalists . From its beginnings in the newspaper Madrid a Cambio 16, Diario 16, Agencia Efe or El País. Today in La Vanguardia, La Ser or La Sexta.
He publishes “En silla de pista” (Planeta), the professional memories of a whole career that began in the Madrid newspaper at the end of the Franco regime and continued with positions as correspondent director or columnist in Cambio 16, Diarios 16, Agencia Efe, El País , until today, when you can see, read and listen in La Sexta, La Vanguardia or La Ser.
Throughout more than four decades of profession he has reported the illness and death of Franco and the Transition , with the premiere of King Juan Carlos I , his trips abroad and the 23rd F. After, the terrorism of ETA until nowadays . “Nothing is the same after having been published as news,” he says.
The title “On the track chair” is because politics is a circus, a show? Journalists often have a position of privileged observers, we are in the front line. As in the circus, the track chair is the one closest to the beasts, to the spectacle.
What is the event you most liked to report? (Reflect) The signing of the Constitution in Congress.
In the book, he uses a serious tone to narrate the last executions of Franco. Was that the worst? Yes, the one of greatest desolation, without a doubt. It still moves me to remember it.
He says they were in the “Prehistory of new technologies”. How would it have been to cover the death of Franco or the coup d’état for a newspaper web edition or with Twitter? We were following the last hours of Franco’s illness outside the El Pardo wall. We did not have a cell phone, we communicated because the Telefonica, very helpful, put a trailer with booths, the conference was paid. There was not that instant access everywhere and we set different guidelines, but the search to know what happened and to interpret the keys has not changed.
I invent the ‘aplausometer’, which I took to the Cortes to see the degree of adhesion of the procurators. Have you thought about taking it to Congress now? I’ve thought about it, but I have not done it yet. I think I will, I will soon.
With Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón or Luis Carandell he awarded the Contemporary Tonto prize. What sentence do you think could fall today? It was a daring because we did not give it to strangers, but to the governor of the Bank of Spain and the Duke of Alba, who tried by all means not to give it to him. But the press did not give news, did not tell, there was a special care that this issue was dangerous. Maybe now there is less audacity in that kind of thing.
Have we gone back? Well, our sensitivity has increased. And that is having consequences in the way we express ourselves.
He perceived the “sense of responsibility” of the politicians of the Transition. And in those now? In that there has been a regression. Many things of the Transition are explained from an attitude of generosity and to put ahead of personal interests those of the country, of the coexistence. Before they moved without asking the question of ‘what do I win’. People went because they thought it had to be.
Do you recognize that attitude in some current politician? Of generosity, of anticipating the interests of the country over their own? Surely yes, we should look (laughs) So suddenly no name comes, but it is possible. Maybe not those who are above, but surely in other steps there are many people who believe in what they do.
He says that in the Transition the press chose between encouraging concord or just the opposite. What role do you play now in Catalonia? They have played an important role and continue to play it. The media that are tied to sectarian independence are constantly inciting the worst, without stopping to think if what they do is true or false. If the lie helps, then lie. You can not understand the wars of the former Yugoslavia without what the Belgrade media did, or the conflict between Hutus and Tutsis [in Rwanda] without paying attention to what the radio of the Thousand Hills did. Beware of the media, which the devil loads.
Should we inform about Vox or not? I would encourage reflection. I put a different case: I had to reflect on how to cover terrorism. On first page in big headlines? Are you trying to make it as unnoticed as possible? The conclusion I reached is that in the best way liberties are defended at every moment.