Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Even outsiders see "Bordertown" 's misinformation-but mayor lauds Roker's work

At Monday's Laredo city council meeting, mayor Salinas spent several minutes defending the Laredo Police Department's role in the new A&E reality show Bordertown:Laredo. He repeated over and over that our police department came off looking like professionals. The problem is : nobody was criticizing the LPD to begin with.

The criticism has been directed at the mayor, council & staff for selling out the reputation of the Gateway City. As bad a rap as Laredo gets, it certainly didn't need our own mayor & gang to contribute to the negative publicity that has already been generated by A&E's promos for the upcoming series. Why did they expect someone who's main objective is to get high ratings to lookout for the best interest of our city?

By Jose De La Isla
Hispanic Link News Service

According to A&E cable channel publicists, a new reality show, called "BORDERTOWN: LAREDO" starts in October. It's about "five Mexican-American cops determined to take back their community." The question is who kidnapped it?

The cable publicists say, "The explosive drama, violence and conflict that unfold daily along the U.S.-Mexico border" is the story about "local cops, members of the Laredo Texas Police Department narcotics unit, who are waging a daily battle to protect the U.S." Okay, so it is about local police who protect not just the border city but the nation.

It has all of the elements of that new blend of entertainment where reality gets mixed with misconception and passes as non-fiction dramatization. It's as if "COPS" is about police-community relations. Or as if Jerry Springer is about family therapy.

At least A&E ("arts and entertainment") is an admission that its program is not truly true -- just kinda, sorta, could be, but probably or maybe not, or another kind of truth.

Laredo is an important U.S. community and it is undeserving of a flawed mischaracterization. It is a shame that A&E's publicity department says Laredo is the largest inland port on the U.S.-Mexico border and in the next long sentence claims it "is the premier gateway used by Mexican drug cartels to transport illegal narcotics into the U.S. and exports billions of dollars in cash to Mexico." That may or may not be true.
I'm not so sure about "premier" and what sounds like trailer trucks hauling back "billions of dollars in cash to Mexico." The drug trade just doesn't work that way.

The disingenuous part is conflating this nation's second largest NAFTA trading partner (read, helps create jobs) with U.S. demand-driven drug trade. This confetti of concepts would be comical were it not so bloody.

But truth doesn't have the entertainment value it used to, so it's better just to make it all up instead.

(Jose de la Isla writes a weekly commentary for Hispanic Link News Service. E-mail him at joseisla3(at) See this column and more at


  1. Nice catch, LT. Have you seen the number of border law enforcement shows there are on cable?? I was surprised as I channel flipped late one night.

  2. I want to see the show where we take back the city from polluters.


  3. And not supprising, the LMT reports today that more money will be coming to Laredo law enforcement. This is what this is all about, Laredo getting part of the "War on Drugs" money.

    Someday, America will wake up and end this stupid war.

  4. I guess the mayor was trying to deflect the criticism from himself and pit the public vs the LPD. It didn't work. Any bad publicity (and there's already been a lot) is due to the mayor, council and staff for agreeing to do this ill-conceived deal with weatherman AL Roker.

  5. This is just too funny. Tuesday's article of the SA Express News was commenting on how Obama and Perry's view on border violence differ. Obama agrees that Texas border cities are among the safest in the nation (the stats speak for themselves), while Perry says there is spillover violence. I guess my point is that Perry has thrown border cities (that obviously don't vote for him in big numbers) under the bus for votes; just like Salinas has sold out the city of Laredo for a little TV exposure and a shitload of mullah.