The Guardian manipulated us, claim professors quoted in article, as letters sent to ZP

La Voz de Almería’s defense of the province against the accusations that Almería’s agriculture is based on “modern day slavery” published recently in The Guardian continues, with another four pages dedicated to the issue.

This time, the newspaper has gone and asked the professors from Almeria University quoted in the article if they agreed with the article. The professors, possibly with one eye on their tenureships, are unanimous in decrying the article. One of them, Checa, claims that the journalist, Felicity Lawrence, never spoke to him and simply lifted a line out of an article he once wrote, the other, Aznar, says that he did speak to her but that she was “selective” in which parts of the conversation she used in the article, and in no way did he think that immigrants were exploited in Almería. He says that Felicity asked him that exact question, and he said no, this was not his opinion, but that she wrote him up as if he had said that.

In a short piece that Professor Aznar wrote for La Voz (he’s a professor of Applied Economics), he claims that he was naive in the interview, and that looking back on the interview it was obvious the reporter was trying to manipulate him into “expressing an opinion contrary to my own, and indeed, contrary to the truth”.

Someone at La Voz has managed to get hold of Giles Tremlett, who has written for The Guardian, to ask him if he thinks there is a plot against Almería. Giles seems a little baffled by the interview, and it strikes me he doesn’t have a clue what’s going on when someone rang him up. Asked “Do you know that this article has caused great local unrest?” he replies “Why? Isn’t it true?”

ASAJA, a farmers cooperative, have sent a letter to Zapatero asking for a formal rebuke, a request backed by the local PP, who are planning to table a question next week about it.

Pedro Manuel de la Cruz, editor of La Voz de Almería, has no doubts on the matter: This is an attempt to undermine our commercial interests, he thundered on Carlos Herrera’s national radio programme on Onda Cero yesterday evening.

So now we know what owners of illegal builds in the area have to do to get attention: just point out the living conditions of the local migrant workers, and two minutes later the Establishment is up and running.

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