Editores de rapiña

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“The Yellow Press”, por H. D. Spalding, 1959

Raymond Chandler creó el personaje del detective privado Philip Marlowe como un arquetipo del caballero andante contemporáneo. Marlowe, por supuesto, era mucho menos iluso que los desfacedores de entuertos medievales, no en vano vivía en una gran ciudad, Los Ángeles, y en plena expansión del capitalismo, mediados del siglo XX. Él no comulgaba con ruedas de molino tales como Dios, Patria y Rey, e incluso tenía serias, y casi siempre finalmente justificadas, dudas sobre la completa inocencia de las damiselas en apuros.

    Marlowe sabía que el muro que separa el lado limpio y el lado sucio de la lucha por el dólar es tan delgado como el papel de fumar. Al igual que lo es el que separa el glamour del crimen.

    Y sin embargo, el personaje de Chandler actuaba conforme a sus principios, por minoritarios que fueran; libraba las batallas que creía que debía librar, por perdedoras que se anunciaran, y, en su relación con la gente, prefería a aquella que es mejor que otra.

    En El largo adiós, Marlowe simpatiza con un periodista, Lonnie Morgan, que trabaja para el imaginario Journal, el último diario más o menos independiente que queda en Los Ángeles. Morgan es el único que espera al detective cuando sale de pasar varios días en comisaría, y, aunque sabe que no va a sonsacarle la menor información, se toma la molestia de llevarlo en coche a casa. Más adelante, Marlowe confiará en Morgan para filtrarle un documento policial explosivo, y éste y su director, otro periodista de raza, tendrán lo que hay que tener en este oficio para publicarlo por mucho que fastidie a los amos de la ciudad.

    En esa novela, Marlowe se las tiene que ver asimismo con Harlan Potter, un multimillonario que es dueño de un montón de periódicos y uno de los amos de la ciudad. Lo mejor que Marlowe puede decir de Potter es que no tiene el menor remordimiento a la hora de usar sus diarios y sus influencias para ocultar aquellas informaciones que le desagradan y para aplastar a los que se entrometen en su camino.

William Randolph Hearst, 1863-1951

    Inspirado en buena medida en la figura de William Randolph Hearst (Citizen Kane), el personaje del editor de diarios -manifiestamente amarillos o supuestamente serios- que gana dinero a espuertas y teje una tupida trama de cuello blanco con políticos, jueces, empresarios y banqueros, es un habitual de la novela y el cine estadounidenses de la época clásica del thriller

    raymond-chandler-el-largo-adiosSeis o siete décadas después, la distinción que, a través de Marlowe, hace Chandler en El largo adiós entre los periodistas y los dueños de los periódicos, entre los profesionales de la información y los negocios mediáticos, es aún más notoria. La figura puente del burgués ilustrado que editaba un diario local ha sido barrida por empresas multinacionales y multimedia dedicadas a la maximización de compadreos y beneficios en el menor plazo posible.

    A los editores de rapiña el periodismo les importa un rábano; el futuro del periodismo está en los periodistas… y en los ciudadanos.

     En un momento dado de El largo adiós, el reportero Morgan le explica a Marlowe: “Los periódicos son propiedad de gente rica, y todos los ricos pertenecen al mismo club. Sí, claro, hay competencia, una dura competencia, por la difusión, por noticias potentes, por historias en exclusiva. Pero siempre y cuando ello no dañe el prestigio y la posición de los propietarios. Si lo hace, entonces es cuando aparece la tapadera”.

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