Author Page | Page 30 | Media Matters for America

Cristina López G.

Author ››› Cristina López G.
  • National Hispanic Leadership Agenda Members Call For Saturday Night Live To Drop Trump

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.

    The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda -- a coalition of 40 leading national and regional Hispanic organizations -- is calling for NBC Universal to revoke Donald Trump's invitation to host Saturday Night Live.

    The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA) is condemning the NBC network after it announced that Donald Trump is scheduled to host Saturday Night Live on November 7. The NHLA previously praised the network when they cut all business ties with Trump following his comments about immigrants, explaining that Trump's "derogatory statements" were antithetical to the network's values.

    In an October 15 letter sent to Stephen Burke, NBC Universal's CEO, and Lorne Michaels, Saturday Night Live's executive producer, the NHLA criticized the network for giving the GOP presidential candidate a platform, which in their opinion would "legitimize and validate his anti-Latino comments," and denounced the show's lackluster track record with Latino representation: in 41 seasons, the show has only cast 2 Latinos and zero Latinas:

    NHLA is flabbergasted that Saturday Night Live (SNL) has invited Donald Trump to host the November 7, 2015 show. 

    Donald Trump has yet to apologize for his bigoted comments about Mexican immigrants. Allowing Trump to host SNL will legitimize and validate his anti-Latino comments. NHLA had praised NBCUniversal, when it severed its ties with Donald Trump. We are appalled that you would enable Trump's hateful speech for nothing less than a ratings ploy and ask that you rescind the SNL invitation. 

    How can SNL justify casting zero Latinas over 41 seasons and only 2 Latinos over the same period, while promoting Trump's divisive speech toward Latinos? U.S. Latinos represent more than half (56%) of net population growth from 2000 to 2010 and are projected to contribute 100 percent of the population growth between the ages of 18-49, key demographics for television networks. On one hand, Comcast is reaching out to Latino viewers on its English language platforms and on Telemundo, its Spanish-language network, while it uses the other hand to face slap us with this unconscionable invitation to Trump. It is unconscionable that a major U.S. corporation-- who needs Latino viewers--is acting so clueless.

  • Vox Asks Why CNN's "Nonwhite" Moderators "Were Expected To Ask 'Ethnic' Questions First" During Democratic Debate

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.

    Vox highlighted how CNN's "nonwhite" moderators, Don Lemon and CNN en Español's Juan Carlos López, were given limited opportunities "to ask questions" during the Democratic presidential debate, and "were expected to ask 'ethnic' questions first."

    CNN hosted the first Democratic presidential debate on October 13 and is receiving media criticism for its limited representation of ethnic groups and minorities. Though the network included Don Lemon and Juan Carlos López -- two moderators of color -- they were tasked with introducing or asking the race-related and immigration questions in the limited air time they received. 

    In an October 14 article, Vox's Dara Lind highlighted how "The only two nonwhite people who participated in the debate were CNN anchor Don Lemon and CNN Español's Juan Carlos Lopez" and that "even though both Lemon and Lopez weren't just limited to 'ethnic' questions, the debate gave the impression that that was their primary role." This is because, as Lind noted, although "CNN apparently wanted to be sure to address issues it thought were particularly relevant to black and Latino voters, and to have black and Latino people do it," the network "simply didn't give black and Latino people many chances to ask questions, period":

    The only two nonwhite people who participated in the debate were CNN anchor Don Lemon and CNN Español's Juan Carlos Lopez. Lemon didn't even ask questions himself -- he introduced video clips from young people. As a result, the majority of screen time occupied by nonwhite people asking questions were on issues that are supposed to be of interest to their particular ethnic groups.

    [...]

    Lemon and Lopez were the only representatives of that half of the Democratic Party. But they got way less than half the speaking time. They were both supporting players to Cooper. At least Lopez got to ask his own questions, or questions that appeared to be his own; Lemon was tasked with mediating between the candidates and the questions of "young people." (Of course, the fact that the only "young person" who was visibly nonwhite was the one who asked about Black Lives Matter raises its own questions about what issues CNN thinks are important to young people.)

    So it's not surprising that, even though both Lemon and Lopez weren't just limited to "ethnic" questions, the debate gave the impression that that was their primary role. CNN apparently wanted to be sure to address issues it thought were particularly relevant to black and Latino voters, and to have black and Latino people do it. But CNN simply didn't give black and Latino people many chances to ask questions, period. So the "ethnic issues" questions were forced to occupy precious slots.

    The result isn't exactly tokenization: CNN didn't appear to be bringing in Lemon and Lopez just to address black and Latino issues, respectively. But in its effects, it looks a lot like that. At least some of the CNN debate moderators were aware that the Democratic Party is a lot more diverse than they were. It wouldn't have been that hard to give the nonwhite moderators more time -- and with more time, they could have asked more questions that weren't about the issues "people like them" are assumed to care about.

    The media often treats Latinos as a constituency only concerned with immigration, despite the fact that they consistently rank other issues as just as important to them.

  • What A Student Newspaper Can Teach The Media About Latino Voters

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.

    In their coverage of the 2016 presidential debates, national media outlets could take a cue from the University of Nevada's student news publication, The Nevada Sagebrush, which recently highlighted how the media often pigeonhole the Latino vote as a single-issue constituency concerned only with immigration, and consequently overlook the many other issues that keep Latinos away from the polls on Election Day.

    CNN will broadcast the first Democratic presidential debate October 13. Media figures are predicting that "immigration could be a major issue" in the debate, given the large Latino population in Nevada, where the debate will take place, and the growing importance of winning the Latino vote for presidential candidates. The media has a long track record of portraying the Latino vote as mostly concerned with the single-issue of immigration, despite the fact that recent polls have shown that Latino voters identify education, the economy, and health care as the issues they are actually most concerned with.

    In an October 13 article for The Nevada Sagebrush, Ali Schultz illustrated why the media, and presidential candidates, should not treat immigration as the only issue of interest to Latino voters, arguing, "It is high time politicians recognize that the Latino population is as diverse as it is large, and it cannot and should not be pigeonholed as a single-issue constituency." Schultz wrote, "If politicians truly want Latinos to vote for them, they should start by addressing the circumstances that prevent individuals from many groups from going to the polls," citing education, income inequality, voter ID laws, and criminal justice. According to Schultz (emphasis added):

    While immigration is indeed a complex and far-reaching problem that must be addressed, the use of immigration policy as an attempt to pander to Latino voters needs to stop. It is high time politicians recognize that the Latino population is as diverse as it is large, and it cannot and should not be pigeonholed as a single-issue constituency.

    [...]

    The diversity of people we classify under a broad term makes it difficult, almost impossible, to unify their varied social and political interests into a single platform addressing a single issue. Doing so not only disparages the cultural differences among Latinos but also serves to alienate the 64.4 percent of Latinos the Census Bureau reports are native citizens as of 2012.

    Focusing on immigration reform as a way to win over Latino voters also presents a larger problem:-- non-Latino politicians effectively deciding what matters to Latino voters.

    [...]

    If politicians truly want Latinos to vote for them, they should start by addressing the circumstances that prevent individuals from many groups from going to the polls.

    A vast array of political research strongly suggests that the more educated and wealthy an individual is, the more likely they are to be politically engaged. Given this research, it is little surprise that Latinos vote at such low rates.

    [...]

    The research does not lie; the Latino population is one at a distinct disadvantage in terms of education and income. Ignoring this information and shoving all Latinos into a stereotyped category is not only a disgraceful insult, it is also perpetuating the inequalities that make it more difficult for any group to achieve educational and socioeconomic advancement.

  • Fox Sports Ignores Anti-Immigrant Sentiment Of Trump To Promote U.S. V. Mexico Soccer Match

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.

    Fox Sports promoted a video in advance of the October 10 U.S.-Mexico men's soccer match that featured clips of GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump's inaugural campaign speech, during which he used highly offensive language to describe Mexican immigrants. The disparaging comments were edited out of the video.

    The promotion was a response to Mexican network TV Azteca's own advertisement for the match, which used Trump's vitriolic anti-immigrant rhetoric to hype the sports rivalry between the two countries. Fox Sports is owned by 21st Century Fox, the parent company of Fox News, which has repeatedly defended the candidate's extreme rhetoric characterizing immigrants as criminals and "rapists," his disparaging language toward children of immigrants, and his problematic immigration policy.

    The use of an anti-immigration icon to promote the match also ignores the fact that a significant number of the U.S. national men's soccer team players are the children of immigrants (image via Fusion):

  • Fox News Discouraged Presidential Candidates From Courting Latino Voters, But Fox News Latino Calls Them "An Important Voting Bloc"

    ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.

    Fox News Latino highlighted how presidential debates, forums, and media coverage of Republican presidential candidates often miss out on the importance of pressing the candidates on Latino issues despite the growing significance of the Latino voting bloc. Fox News Latino's coverage stands in stark contrast to Fox News' coverage of the Republican presidential candidates, as the network has frequently mocked candidates' use of Spanish language, used incendiary rhetoric to describe Latinos, and encouraged candidates to follow Donald Trump's lead in advocating for harmful anti-immigrant policies.

  • Latino Voices Call On Media To Improve Hispanic Representation

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.

    Prominent advocates for the nation's Latino community highlighted how badly America's second-largest demographic is underrepresented in the media during a September 17 Media Matters-sponsored event to mark the start of Hispanic Heritage Month. The panelists underscored how the media's nearly complete lack of Latino representation ranges from the dearth of Latino voices and perspectives included in English-language news to the absence of substantive coverage of issues that matter most to Latinos -- and how that underrepresentation is mirrored by underrepresentation in the government, which deeply impacts "the quality of life of the Latino community."

    Panel moderator and CEO of Voto Latino, María Teresa Kumar explained that despite the fact that Latinos "are the second-largest demographic group of Americans ... our policies, our issues, and our opinions are completely missed from mainstream."

    National Council of La Raza's (NCLR) Janet Murguía pointed out that when the media does cover Latino issues, the stories often present "a very shallow view of what the Latino voter looks like," and frequently portray the community as concerned with the single issue of immigration, despite evidence that the economy, health care, and education are just as important to Latinos. Murguía noted that Latinos "are not monolithic, but we are multidimensional in terms of what we care about and how we engage in different roles in society."

    Hector Sánchez, executive director of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) and chair of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, illustrated how media coverage often fails Latinos by "responding to ratings" and overemphasizing sensational stories -- like Donald Trump's inflammatory rhetoric about immigrants -- rather than providing a balanced platform for substantive coverage of issues that affect their lives:

    The media is responding to ratings. When you have to respond to ratings, the sad reality is that you're not reporting what's important for the nation, what's important for the community. You're not researching in depth the issues that are happening on the ground. But it's more about tabloid news. This has a deep impact in the quality of life of the Latino community.

    [...]

    This is not a superficial issue. This has a deep impact in the quality of life of the Latino community, hate crimes against Latinos have increased 50 percent in the last five years, poverty increases because of this, there is a direct correlation with anti-immigrant pieces of legislation.

    Felix Sánchez, co-founder of the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, shed light on the importance of increasing Latino visibility in the media. As Media Matters has documented, improving diversity remains a challenge for decision-makers at media outlets: every broadcast Sunday morning political show is hosted by a white man, and guests of color are still underrepresented on not just the major broadcasters' Sunday shows, but also on morning political talk shows on MSNBC, and CNN.

    As Voto Latino's Kumar noted, representation of Latino voices and perspectives in the media is "not just good for American Latinos, but it's actually good for the country to make sure that we are covering stories and our issues accurately." NCLR's Murguía added that Latinos who actually work in media have "a real understanding of the Latino community" and are therefore uniquely positioned to make "sure that our community is more informed" and "can engage at a higher level."

    Cristóbal Alex, president of the Latino Victory Project, also explained that the underrepresentation of Latinos in the media is matched by their underrepresentation in government, saying, "When we talk about our voice missing in media, think about our voice missing in government."

  • According To La Opinion, This Is What Hispanic Audiences Should Look Out For In Tonight's GOP Debate

    Pilar Marrero Cautions Against Falling For Candidates' Insincere Attempts To Curry Favor While Pushing Anti-Latino Policies

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.

    La Opinion, one of the largest Spanish-language daily newspapers in the U.S., highlighted the issues that Hispanic audiences should take note of during the September 16 Republican presidential debate on CNN.

    According to a study by Latino Decisions, the eventual 2016 Republican Party nominee will need more than 40 percent of the Latino vote in swing states to win the White House. As the number of Hispanics in the American electorate continues to grow, courting this demographic has become a political necessity.

    Tonight's debate will receive significant media coverage, and in a September 15 article, La Opinion writer Pilar Marrero provided a lens through which this increasingly important Latino audience should view the debate, with an eye toward judging which candidate would best serve the Hispanic community.

    Marrero cautioned Latinos against falling for candidates who falsely pander to them by paying lip service to Hispanic Heritage month, despite their records of advocating anti-immigrant policies. She also said she hoped "topics of interest such as education, the economy, [and] healthcare" would be discussed in the debate, rather than treating Hispanics as a single-issue constituency focused solely on immigration.

    Translated from La Opinion:

    On Wednesday afternoon, 15 Republican presidential-nomination hopefuls will debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, in Simi Valley, California. We are pointing out below what can be expected from the second debate between the candidates, and what details deserve the most attention:

    [...]

    4. The debate is taking place in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, and as a given, this will spark comparisons with the late president and conservative leader. Let's see how many times Reagan is mentioned and who claims to be the most like him.

    5. Regarding Reagan and the current candidates, a lot has been said about the differences between the ex-president who signed Amnesty into law, and who repudiated both walls and the exploitation of immigrants. We'll have to watch out for candidates daring to contradict the late republican idol by saying "if he were alive today..."

    [...]

    7. It's California, Hispanic Heritage Month and, on top of that, Mexican Independence Day. We'll see how many bring these up and say how much they appreciate Hispanics while at the same time, advocate to deport many of them. It would take a certain degree of shamelessness...

    8. Will topics of interest, such as education, the economy, healthcare, etc. be discussed? So far the race has focused on divisive and ideological topics.