As if it was the most important news of all, Telemundo dedicated three slots of a recent edition of its national evening news - adding up to nine minutes - to promote an exclusive half-hour interview with Emma Coronel, the wife of Joaquín 'El Chapo' Guzmán, the leader of Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel who is currently on trial in a New York federal court.
The “news” report, headlined by anchor José Díaz-Balart along with correspondent Rebeka Smyth, was the result of what Smyth described as “many hours of public relations” between the network, Coronel and her attorneys.
Inserted along with beauty shots of the trial’s “guest star”, Smyth said the clear objective of “the spouse of who is considered one of the most dangerous men on the planet” for the interview was “to show the nicer side of one of the major drug lords” as if that can be achieved for a man on trial for allegedly trafficking 440,000 pounds of cocaine in addition to tons of other drugs, carrying out hundreds of assassinations, kidnappings and tortures and bribing authorities with millions of dollars.
REBEKA SMYTH, CORRESPONDENT, TELEMUNDO: To show the nicer side of one of the major drug lords was clearly the objective of Emma Coronel during the interview... the spouse of who is considered to be one of the most dangerous men on the planet.
Telemundo’s promo for its exclusive with the “elusive” Coronel includes a chummy shot of Smyth embracing and kissing Coronel on the cheek as if they were the best of friends. Hardly a role model for an audience largely made up of Latinos who have lived the horrors of drug wars in their countries of origin, not to mention the millions of people battling drug addiction in the United States.
Below is the transcript of relevant portions of the above-referenced segment, as broadcast during the December 10, 2018 edition of Noticias Telemundo:
6:31 p.m. Eastern
JOSÉ DÍAZ-BALART, ANCHOR, TELEMUNDO: And now about to show you the exclusive interview with the spouse of “El Chapo” Guzmán. Almost an hour of conversation during which Emma Coronel tells us who is the man behind "El Chapo", what she believes the future holds, what her daughters know about their father and much more. We see a young woman, but with much experience, a shy woman who keeps many secrets yet for the cameras of Telemundo, revealed, for example, that “El Chapo” is interested that people continue to talk about him.
EMMA CORONEL, WIFE OF “EL CHAPO”: And I know that he says that, like, pressure from the media exists so that all can be clearer, and that they see him and can see what really goes on so that all is clear for all the world as it is. That is that he also wants for the whole world to realize and see how things really are, and they can see things from another perspective and that so much attention is put on these things and the media to expose it, right?
DÍAZ-BALART: The interview with Emma Coronel is one of the most sought after interviews by journalists around the world. Her testimony at the trial can even influence the judicial process and as you can imagine, it has not been easy to convince her. Rebeka Smyth explains how it was possible.
REBEKA SMYTH, CORRESPONDENT, TELEMUNDO: So far she has shunned the cameras, microphones, reporters and has refused interviews requested by major media around the world.
SMYTH: And getting an interview with the guest artist seemed like an impossible mission. But Telemundo News got it. It took many hours of public relations, many sleepless nights at the court in Brooklyn and obviously speaking the same language. At the end the wife of "El Chapo" agreed. But another problem arose when looking for a place with the security and discretion required. Many hotels refused to accommodate the spouse of who is considered one of the most dangerous men on the planet. Others asked for astronomical sums to do it.
SMYTH: To show the nicer side of one of the major drug lords was clearly the objective of Emma Coronel during the interview. She appeared at ease and smiling and for more than 40 minutes she answered dozens of questions about how divine and human her husband is. With some exceptions, Emma did not speak about crimes and legal issues.