My boss sent me once to a press conference at the headquarters of a political party during a campaign. One big fish from the capital was coming to hold a meeting with his supporters, and before that, he wanted to meet the press.
I was a kind of persona non grata in that party because I investigated a case of corruption in which one of the indicted was the former president of the regional government and leader of that particular party.
When I arrived at the room, the organization guys were checking the speakers with the music of the campaign. I told them to stop doing that because we were journalists. We were there to inform and period.
When the politician from Madrid finally arrived, accompanied by the new head of the party in our region, I was surprised to hear my colleagues asking questions that were too soft, like inviting him to begin his campaign right there with us.
In one moment, he began to say that his party was the one who fought more the corruption among its members and had thrown away from the basket the rotten apples.
I couldn’t resist more, and I asked:
- Mr. Serra, if you had come three months earlier, by your side would be Mr. Urralburu, indicted for corruption. Is he a healthy or a rotten apple? Why is he still in the federal committee of your party?
Serra was a seasoned politician and answered that the judges would decide if he’s guilty or not, and until then, they are not the ones who would condemn him.
The conference finished. We were leaving when the Organisation chief of the campaign and another member of the party approached me and began to yell to me:
-Why did you ask that question?
-Why don’t you ask that to the opposition leader?
I felt all the pressure over me.
-What was this? I said. A press conference or a political meeting? If it was a press conference, I could ask what I wanted, and if it is a political meeting, I’m out of here.
And Where is the leader of the opposition to ask him questions?
None of the other journalists came to my support, only to camera operators. It was sad.
Mr. Urralburu finished in Jail, and his substitute had his problems with justice.
But nothing matters, rotten apples and all, they won the elections again.