20/04/2022

Madrid's reaction to mass surveillance? "Not to my knowledge"

2 min

Political Madrid should not be able to bat away accusations of conducting mass surveillance with exclusively political motivations. At the very least, it must demand to get to the bottom of the matter, if the victims are part – even if to their dismay – of the administrative apparatus of the State. The same happens with the Madrid media. Only El País covers the matter on the front page (and dilutes Sánchez's responsibility by explaining that those spied on are "the last four Catalan presidents"). It only appears in the inside of Abc, while La Razón only includes it in its Catalan edition – lest it disturb its general reader's peace – in a few paragraphs without a photo and where it writes that the espionage is only "alleged", despite overwhelming evidence. And El Mundo does not carry the news in its print format. Meanwhile, in Catalonia the issue is the main topic in all newspapers except El Periódico, where it is still on the front page but relegated to a side column.

Front page April 19, 2022 El País

The most paradigmatic case is that of Abc because just the day before it had dedicated its front page to the topic: "La Moncloa uses algorithms to control Sánchez's image". Invoking the word algorithm as if it were something obscure, close to black magic, is a bit laughable: to anyone who has entered the 21st century without trauma it sounds just as extemporaneous as if they read the headline "La Moncloa uses calculators to draw up the State budget". But it is significant that on Easter Monday they opened with this minor issue, yet mass surveillance that compromises (once again) Spain's ramshackle democratic quality does not deserve any attention. The only spies Madrid is interested in are the poor sociolinguists who try to carry out studies in school playgrounds, with the unacceptable method of listening and writing down in a notebook, without names, which languages children speak. What a meek Catalan SPECTRE!