Latest Dávila Colón book chronicles recent history through anticolonial lenses
BY DENNIS COSTA
For nearly four decades, Luis Dávila Colón has been among the most well-known political analysts in Puerto Rico, consistently pulling in high ratings as a radio commentator in part because he has cultivated an outsider persona opposed to what he calls a “colonial mediacracy.”
Dávila Colón frequently rallies against the alleged influences of a biased media in favor of Puerto Rico’s commonwealth status—called “colonial” by detractors—and the political institutions that support it, particularly the Popular Democratic Party (PDP).
One particular target, San Juan-based news conglomerate Grupo Ferré Rangel (GFR) Media, has often been in his sights, with the political commentator cataloging the company, and specifically the editorial line of its main newspapers, as one of the main factors in the island’s current political and economic travails.
Such a thesis not only pervades Davila Colón’s latest book, “Tirando al Medio: Faenas de la Prensa Colonial,” but also suffuses every word. Its title, which roughly translates to “putting someone on the spot,” aims to do precisely that, at least in terms of how the “colonial” press has manipulated public opinion.
Whether the book, his 12th, actually achieves such a goal is debatable. It’s certainly not the first time Dávila Colón has broached the topic, having done so in previous books, such as “La Dictadura de la Prensa” and “Justicia Roja.”
Despite this, Dávila Colón’s latest—his first in seven years—is arguably his most ambitious book yet, combining his constant criticism of GFR Media and like-minded media outlets with a full chronicle of Puerto Rico’s politically and economically tumultuous years from 2001 to 2012.
When it comes to the latter, the book simply shines, offering a painstakingly researched account of the political maneuverings and rivalries between and within the island’s main political parties. Those uninitiated in the workings of Puerto Rico’s “true national sport” (and who can read in Spanish) are well-advised to pick up this book for that reason alone.
Almost equally interesting are the passages dealing with the local press’ stance in its coverage of key events, as well as developments surrounding the fate of other news outlets aiming to off er a counterpoint to the more-or- less official media narrative.
“Tirando al Medio” also levies plenty of criticism against the usual suspects in Dávila Colón’s oeuvre. For every sentence detailing political goings-on, the text highlights the alleged spin that the press gave to such developments. As a result, the book sometimes tries to cover too much ground, with some passages reading like an extended diatribe.
A book that tries to achieve some semblance of objectivity, this is not. Dávila Colón is prostatehood; he makes no bones about it. Whether you share his political views will influence your degree of enjoyment of the material (pointedly, the book also criticizes the New Progressive Party, Puerto Rico’s de facto pro-statehood party, for its alleged colonial mindset.)
However, the research and effort involved in “Tirando al Medio” is certainly apparent, and make up for a mostly fascinating read that will partly serve as a preview for the madness that lies ahead during the 2016 elections.