Jan 13, 2008


When we study telenovelas, it's important to examine the entertainment press. Quality-wise, these reports have a huge range in the Venezuelan press. We can find smart and respectful interviews, and analysis that incite reflection. But, we can also encounter speculations without any connection to reality and "analyses" that read more like blatant propaganda or as ingredients of a vendetta, than as responsible criticism.

Because of the latter, many people disregard the entertainment press as plain gossip and "not real journalism." However, in the entertainment world this press is key to promote artists' work and performances, and encourage societal reflection. In the telenovela world, in particular, press and message boards continuously interact. Press reports are posted and commented in message boards. And, frequently, the press publishes information posted on the boards by some particularly well informed participants. For all these, I believe that the entertainment press should strive for objectivity and accuracy, the standards of excellent journalism. Unfortunately it isn't always so.

I'm not easily surprised by the press' speculations. I've seen my share of false news. (My favorite is from June 5, 2006, when pseudonym Chepa Candela wrote that actress Marisa Román had fallen from a horse while taping Ciudad Bendita, an urban telenovela without any horses!)

Recently I've been following a case that illustrates quite well how speculations and lies published repeatedly in the press can become "truths" in the eyes of its readers.

On November 29 of last year, Jesús Bustindui published in daily El Mundo:
The protagonists for Leonardo Padrón's new telenovela will be Marisa Román and Josué Villaé. The story is similar to El país de las mujeres, but men are victims of love.

 They say that he already turned in three episodes...

Very soon the "information" was repeated by other outlets:

…Leonardo Padrón, has his eyes on JOSUÉ VILLAÉ, as the protagonist of his new telenovela...(Chepa Candela, Diario 2001, Dic. 13, 2007).

On January 4th, the respected daily El Universal published a note stating that actors Roque Valero and Daniela Alvarado would be Padrón's protagonists:
Telenovela writer Leonardo Padrón hasn't finished yet typing his new love story, but he already knows that the protagonists will be Daniela Alvarado and singer-actor
Roque Valero.

The next days, other writers echoed this "information:" El Sepulturero, Panorama, Chepa Candela, etc. In the message boards, the "news" were talked about as a fact. Some participants even mentioned that it was most probably true because El Universal had published it. Other participants published polls about Valero and Alvarado as Padrón's new protagonists.

Finally, on January 9th, journalist Blanca González interviewed the source, Leonardo Padrón, who said he had not written a single word of his telenovela yet, nor had he chosen his protagonists. He was specific in his criticism of some reporters who had ventured that he had turned in three episodes already and that his novela was similar to a previous one.

I thought this would stop all speculations. However, the very next day on the same daily El Mundo, Jesús Bustindui, the same journalist who first wrote about Padrón turning in three episodes, etc, further speculated about Padrón's cast:

Leonardo Padrón is considering actress Pierina España for a special cameo in the first episode of his next telenovela. Apparently, she is willing to do it, even without any monetary compensation. In this initial episode we could also possibly see first actress Bárbara Teyde in only one scene. Both these actresses have many years in retirement

Meanwhile, William Guzmán, the writer behind the pseudonym Chepa Candela, wrote in his column "Así es el Rollo":

Josué Villaé is surprised to be singled out in several columns as one of Leonardo Padrón's new protagonists...

The problem is that one of those "several columns" is Chepa Candela, written by William Guzmán, himself...

Our entertainment press has to be better than this...

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