Mainstream news media is taking a big hit on how it failed to cover Mexican American singer Jenni Rivera who died when the plane in which she was traveling crashed in Mexico on Sunday.
Author Gustavo Arellano has been leading the criticism that started as he began getting requests for comment on the late star who lived in Encino, Calif.
“If only to help the (mainstream news media) correct their pathetic record on reporting on a mega-superstar that operated in plain sight under a media that, like usual, didn’t bother to pay attention while she was alive because she was a Mexican and popular mostly to Mexicans—and they never matter unless you can get a diversity grant to cover them,” Arellano wrote in OCWeekly.com, which he edits.
“No media outlet is the bigger sinner, however, than the Los Angeles Times, the perpetual pendejos when covering Latinos in Southern California,” wrote Arellano, author of Ask a Mexican which he said imminently qualified him.
“After all, I’m America’s Mexican, right?”
“A look through the Proquest archives show that they never did a single full profile on Rivera—not once. The only full stories on her were two—one was a story on a reality show involving her youngest daughter.”
“Another—of all things!—was a real-estate story on Rivera purchasing a multimillion-dollar estate in Encino. Before her death, there were only two other shorter stories, both by freelancers: a concert review, and a record review.”
The Times’ snub of Rivera was also significant because she had been married to former Dodgers pitcher Esteban Loaiza and sang the national anthem at Dodger Stadium on Aug. 26 this season.
Arellano’s critical rant was one of the main links posted by LAObserved.com, Southern California’s biggest websites for local journalists.
That site’s editor, Kevin Roderick, who was among the first U.S. reporters to report the plane crash also immediately noted that “fans are placing flowers at Rivera’s home in Encino and her parents’ home in Lakewood.”
“Also killed in the plane crash were her attorney, Mario Macias, publicist Arturo Rivera, stylist Jorge Sanchez and makeup artist Jacob Yebale, plus the flight crew.
LAObserved.com also posted part of a blog by local public station reporter Adolfo Guzman-Lopez on why he appreciated Rivera.
Jenni Rivera belonged to one of the most important dynasties in contemporary U.S.
“Look at the audience. The women,” wrote Guzman-Lopez. “The lyrics speak to them. I ❤ Jenni because of what she does for her fans. Jenni Rivera’s singing chops are far from a Lucha Villa or even Paquita la del Barrio. What Rivera represents for many of her fans and the experience she embodies could be just as important as the singing.”
On Monday, though, mainstream news media were all over the story, and Rivera had become bigger in death than she ever was in life, not unlike Selena with whom she was being compared.
“Rivera belonged to one of the most important dynasties in contemporary U.S.-based Mexican music,” wrote the Los Angeles Times. “Her father, Pedro Rivera, launched the independent label Cintas Acuario in 1987; it grew out of a booth at an area swap meet. Her four brothers were also involved in music, and her younger brother Lupillo also is a wildly popular Mexican regional singer.”