Al Punto | Media Matters for America

Al Punto

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  • Three ways Hispanic media has changed in the Trump era

    Blog ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    President Donald Trump’s rise in politics has posed new challenges for journalists covering the White House, but for Spanish-language outlets, it has created unique obstacles. As Hispanic Heritage Month comes to a close, here’s a look back at some ways Hispanic media is changing in the Trump era:

    1. Racist attacks on Hispanic journalists have intensified. In an illuminating interview on CNN, Henry Gomez, the senior political writer at, told host Brooke Baldwin that he has “noticed an uptick” in racist insults while covering Trump as compared to his previous decade-plus of experience. He explained that many of the emails and tweets that he receives are “parroting a lot of Donald Trump’s greatest hits,” referring to Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric. Gomez’s case is not unique. The conservative Media Research Center launched a literal campaign against Univision’s Jorge Ramos for his coverage of Trump, and Fox News has fed the fire and called for Ramos’ resignation. Other journalists have voiced concerns over the intensifying anti-Latino environment in op-eds and on Twitter. The challenge for Hispanic journalists covering Trump is unique because, according to Cal State Northridge journalism professor Jose Luis Benavides, interviewed by KQED, “if you’re from a Spanish-language news organization … some people may assume you have a built-in bias.”

    2. Republicans are giving less access to Spanish-language networks. One of Univision’s top news anchors, Enrique Acevedo, told Politico in March, “It’s harder to get access to Republicans than it is to get access to Democrats and I understand why that is,” noting that it has “happened more since the inauguration.”

    A Media Matters review of appearances by elected Republican officials on Univision and Telemundo in both 2014, before Trump launched his political campaign, and 2017 confirmed Acevedo’s observation. During Hispanic Heritage Month 2014, an equal amount of elected Republican officials and elected Democratic officials appeared as guests on Telemundo and Univision’s Sunday news shows. During that same time period in 2017, only two Republicans appeared on the Sunday shows compared to five Democrats.

    Republicans’ aversion to Spanish-language outlets seems to echo Trump’s attitude toward the networks. As a candidate, Trump denied press credentials to Univision, Telemundo and La Opinion, blacklisted prominent Hispanic journalists, including José Díaz-Balart and Jorge Ramos, and declined an invitation to address the joint convention of the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

    3. Telemundo launched a campaign to empower Latinos to improve their lives. In February, Telemundo launched “El Poder En Ti,” -- which translates into “The Power Within You,” -- a campaign designed to empower Latinos and encourage them to take initiative to improve their lives and the lives of others. Influential news shows such as Enfoque and Al Rojo Vivo presented profiles of Latino immigrants and nonimmigrants who have made positive impacts on their communities.

    The shows’ depictions of Latinos as role models, community activists, politicians, innovators, media executives, and philanthropists contrasted with the way that Trump and his media allies typically depict Latinos. In one segment of “Nuestra Gente Extraordinaria” -- which translates into “Our extraordinary people” -- on Enfoque, which was part of the “El Poder en Ti” campaign, National Hispanic Media Coalition’s Alex Nogales recognized this discrepancy, explaining that immigrants are “judges, police officers, lawyers, dentists,” and more, but “media outlets that broadcasted in English treated our community … as if we were all criminals.” This trend is also borne out in right-wing media. As the president continues to disparage Latino immigrants, he counts on his media allies to vindicate his painting them as criminals.


    Media Matters skimmed Univision’s Al Punto and Telemundo’s Enfoque during Hispanic Heritage Month of 2014 (September 14, 2014 to October 12, 2014) and Hispanic Heritage Month of 2017 (September 10, 2017 to October 8, 2017) and coded for each guest. The party affiliations of guests who were elected officials still in office during the time that the show aired were also coded. Any person who gave unique commentary to the given networks was coded as a guest.

  • Media Take Note: Trump Is The Worst Possible Messenger On The Clintons’ Marriage

    ››› ››› CAT DUFFY

    When media report on Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s latest attacks on former President Bill Clinton’s history with women and Hillary Clinton’s responses to those women, they should also mention the immense hypocrisy of Trump levying those claims. Trump and several of his closest advisers have long histories of infidelity, workplace sexual harassment, and misogyny. And Trump himself previously said both that Clinton’s relationship with Monica Lewinsky was “totally unimportant” and that people would have been more “forgiving” if Clinton had a relationship “with a really beautiful woman.”

  • Former Miss Universe Alicia Machado Told Univision In May That Trump Treated Her Terribly

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    During the first presidential debate, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton pointed to Republican nominee Donald Trump’s record of mistreating women, highlighting his attacks on former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, whom he referred to as “Miss Piggy.” Trump, who owned the Miss Universe pageant from 1996 to 2015, doubled down the morning after the debate on the September 27 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, saying Machado had “gained a massive amount of weight and it was a real problem.”

    Machado appeared on Univision’s Al Punto in May after a New York Times report about Trump’s treatment of women in private described the insults and humiliation Trump subjected her to during her time as Miss Universe. Machado told host Jorge Ramos that Trump had treated her terribly and had mocked her appearance, calling her “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping” and saying she was an “eating machine.” She also said the experience had caused her “huge emotional pain.” From the May 22 edition of Univision’s Al Punto:

    Translated transcript:

    JORGE RAMOS (HOST): What happened? What happened when you win Miss Universe in 1996, you were 18 years old, and then the New York Times report says you had gained weight after. Enter Donald Trump; what happened?

    ALICIA MACHADO: Well, first I want to take advantage of this opportunity to talk to the Hispanic community, with all the love I’ve always had for it in the past 20 years, to tell them that all of what’s happening with my voice is not something I have sought out. It’s something that has come to me. The people from The New York Times have come to me and asked me to speak for this report, along with other women who’ve had the opportunity or had the experience of being close to Trump, women of different socioeconomic status and careers.

    RAMOS: And how did Donald Trump treat you?

    MACHADO: Terribly, and this isn't something new for me to say. I’ve been saying this for 20 years, what I lived through in that year, how that affected me as a person, I suffered a lot of psychological violence.

    RAMOS: We’re going to show a video of you, when you get there, and you told this story to the NYT, you get to the gym--

    MACHADO: Yes and I had no idea any of this was going to happen.

    RAMOS: You didn’t know there was going to be media?

    MACHADO: No, I didn’t know anything at all. All that I can say about Trump is something I can prove, it’s all documented, I’m not making anything up.

    RAMOS: These reporters, you didn't know they would be there.

    MACHADO: No, I didn’t know they were going to be there. This happened about four months -- yes, I think it was around December or November, because I remember it was really cold in New York. And I had won in May, so it wasn’t like I gained weight immediately. I won the best body in Miss Universe that year, I lifted a lot of weights. It was the time where fit bodies were starting to become trendy, “light” things were trendy.

    RAMOS: How did all of this affect you?

    MACHADO: A lot. I'm going to tell you quickly, I went to the company and asked them for help, I went to their office in Los Angeles. I told them I had gained weight, I don't feel happy, if you put me with a nutritionist I can lose this weight quickly. They told me pack your bags you're going to New York. I said great, I go to New York, and the next day they tell me we’re going to a gym, to set me up with a personal trainer, and a diet. And when I arrived at the gym, I find all this [media] circus. And I tell him I don’t want to do it, that I was embarrassed. And he said, "I don't care, I pay you for this, smile.”

    RAMOS: You have a big social media presence. One of your followers asked, "Why did it take you so long to denounce this?"

    MACHADO: Because he wasn't running for president before, I think -- he's not going to run a casino, he's going to run a great nation, the United States. I also had to overcome a huge emotional pain that even now when I remember it I am upset about it --

    RAMOS: You responded saying, "I didn't think he could ever be a presidential candidate and when I was 18 I was afraid [of speaking out]. Without fear." You were scared of Donald Trump?

    MACHADO: Of course. Very afraid, I was very afraid of him. How could I not be, if was coming from a city at 18 years old as a beauty queen, I didn't have a multimillionaire family that could support me against such a powerful man. So I want to take the opportunity to tell voters in this election -- this country and the world does not need a man who can just do business. I also think we need a good human being, a person with a good heart, and I am totally and absolutely convinced that Donald Trump is not a person that has a good heart.

    RAMOS: You will become a citizen of the United States soon?

    MACHADO: Yes, I want to be able to vote, to have the moral authority to be able to fight for the well-being of this country. I forgave Trump for this episode and other things that happened in that time --

    RAMOS: What else did you see, in Donald Trump and his treatment of other people?

    MACHADO: I'm just going to be talking about my own experience. What I lived was not pleasant, it was humiliating. He's a cold, calculating person, he’s a man that has very little consideration for anyone he thinks is inferior.

    RAMOS: He called you Miss Piggy once?

    MACHADO: He called me Miss Piggy, he called me Miss Housekeeping, he called me an eating machine. And I would argue with him saying that I'm Latina and have a little bit more than others.

    RAMOS: You considered in an insult at that time?

    MACHADO: Yes of course, and it was also how he said it. It’s not just what they say to you, it’s also how they say it.

  • The Latest Edition Of Univision's Sunday Show Featured No Women

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.

    The latest edition of Univision’s Sunday interview show, Al Punto, featured eight guests, none of them women.

    On July 10, León Krauze -- who was standing in for regular host Jorge Ramos -- discussed an array of topics with his guests, including the Dallas shootings, assault weapons, the presidential race, police brutality, Hillary Clinton’s emails, the Mexican presidential race, a recent court decision that ordered the release of immigrant children from detention centers, and Latino voter engagement in the upcoming elections. Female voices were left out of every single conversation.

    The show’s featured guests were:

    Rep. Henry Cuéllar (D-TX)

    Judge Alberto Milián

    Democratic strategist José Parra

    Republican analyst Adolfo Franco

    Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA)

    Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL)

    Mexican presidential hopeful Miguel Ángel Mancera

    Actor Edward James Olmos

    With this episode, Univision perpetuates a trend in which female voices are critically underrepresented on the Sunday interview shows of the main Spanish-language networks. A Media Matters study analyzing all guest appearances from January 3 to April 24 on Spanish-language Sunday interview shows found that on Al Punto, male guests appeared more than three times as often as female guests, making up 76 percent of total guests compared to female guests’ 24 percent representation.

    Latinas are also underrepresented on English-language shows of similar format, a disquieting fact considering the role of Sunday shows in setting the political agenda and addressing current events, and given that Latinas are more politically involved than their male peers, according to Voto Latino CEO Maria Teresa Kumar. Women make up 50.8 percent of the American population, so it is crucial that their perspectives are included when discussing issues that affect the nation.

  • Media’s Recent Stereotype That Hispanics Are Ready-Made Republicans Not Borne Out By Facts

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.

    When covering the Latino vote, media figures -- including Univision’s Jorge Ramos -- have been helping conservatives push the myth that Latinos are ready-made Republicans, but this fiction cannot be backed by data.

    Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, with the help of media, has baselessly tried to paint himself as “number one with Hispanics” -- yet data consistently shows that’s “simply not true.” National outlets like The Wall Street Journal have allowed representatives from the right-wing, Koch-funded Libre Initiative to erroneously suggest Latinos are becoming more conservative.

    On the July 3 edition of Univision’s Al Punto, anchor Jorge Ramos introduced conservative guest Lionel Sosa as a Republican “communication adviser who has better understood that Latinos share a lot of values with Republicans.” Sosa, who recently publicly renounced the Republican Party in protest of the likely presidential nomination of Donald Trump, said Latinos are people “with conservative values.” He added, after being prompted by Ramos, that Reagan had told him that “Latinos are Republicans but they just don’t know it yet,” and said that because Latinos “have conservative values” like believing strongly in family and God, they are a natural fit with the Republican Party.


    Translated transcript:

    JORGE RAMOS (HOST): Lionel Sosa is quite the legend. For decades he’s helped Republican presidential candidates take the White House. That’s what he did with Ronald Reagan and with both Bush presidents. He is, without exaggerating, one of the communications advisers who has best understood that Latinos share a lot of values with Republicans, but now he’s decided to not support Donald Trump. Lionel joins us via satellite from San Antonio. Lionel Sosa, thank you so much for speaking with us from San Antonio.

    LIONEL SOSA: Good morning, Jorge. A pleasure to be with you.


    RAMOS: Part of the story, Lionel, is it true that President Ronald Reagan told you that he knew that Hispanics are really Republican, but that they just didn’t know it -- that’s a historical phrase -- but did Ronald Reagan tell that to you?

    SOSA: Ronald Reagan told me that --

    RAMOS: What did he tell you?

    SOSA: When I met him -- he told me, “Look, Latinos are Republican but they don’t know they are Republican.” See, and I’ll tell you why. Because Latinos have conservative values like the Republican Party. Latinos don’t want to be given stuff, they want to be placed where there is stuff. Latinos want opportunities, Latinos are smart. We don’t have to be a government that gives like this and that because we don’t know how to work. We know how to work. We believe in family, we believe in God, we believe in being responsible for the things we do. Those are conservative values and those are the values of Latinos and the Republican Party. So when he told me this, it gave me the idea to work the campaigns of other presidents under that philosophy.  

    This isn’t the first time Ramos has misrepresented the Latino vote -- He previously (incorrectly) suggested that if not for the single issue of immigration, Hispanics would support conservative platforms. On another occasion, he agreed with Helen Aguirre Ferré when she charged that Hispanic views on the economy and family align with Republicans. But the idea that Latinos are really Republicans is not backed up by data.

    Polling from Pew shows that immigration is not the only issue keeping Latinos from voting for conservative candidates, as more than half say they would support a candidate who disagrees with them on immigration “if that candidate agrees with them on most other issues.” Pew has also found that Latino voters rank education, health care, jobs, and the economy as more important than immigration, which demonstrates that the electorate's concerns are much more complex than what the media often paints them out to be.

    A majority of Latinos support marriage equality, a position that a majority of Republicans reject. And Latinos are also at odds with the GOP when it comes to supporting action on climate change and gun safety policies.

    Moreover, recent data contradicts the opinion that the deeply held religious beliefs of Latinos (more than half of whom are Catholic) make them lean Republican because of “presumed conservative views on abortion,” showing that close to three-quarters of Latinas lean Democrat and 63 percent would back candidates who would “protect abortion rights”:

  • What The RNC's Newest Hispanic Outreach Director Used To Tell Hispanic Media About Trump

    ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.

    The Republican National Committee’s (RNC) new Hispanic Outreach Director, Helen Aguirre Ferré, has repeatedly criticized presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Hispanic media. Aguirre has compared Trump to a “street dog,” said he would not be able to unite the Republican Party and said he had shown an “anti-female” pattern of behavior.

  • Las Mujeres Están Críticamente Subrepresentadas En Los Programas Dominicales De Entrevistas En Español

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G. English language version

    Las voces femeninas fueron subrepresentadas de manera crítica en los programas dominicales de entrevistas en las principales cadenas en español, Univisión y Telemundo, durante el primer tercio de 2016.

    Un estudio de Media Matters que analizó a todos los invitados que aparecieron desde el 3 de enero al 24 de abril en los programas dominicales de entrevistas encontró que en el programa de Univisión Al Punto, aparecieron tres veces más invitados que invitadas, mientras que en el programa de Telemundo Enfoque, hubo el doble de hombres invitados que de mujeres. Durante el período analizado, el programa de Univisión Al Punto -- que dura una hora -- tuvo un 76 por ciento de invitados y solamente un 24 por ciento de invitadas. Por su parte, el programa de media hora de Telemundo Enfoque tuvo un 68 por ciento de invitados y un 32 por ciento de invitadas.

    La subrepresentación de mujeres invitadas a los programas dominicales en español es especialmente grave, considerando que las latinas "están más involucradas políticamente que sus pares masculinos", según la presidente de Voto Latino María Teresa Kumar, siendo asuntos como la salud reproductiva o la desigualdad salarial los que animan a votar.

    La programación dominical es una de las plataformas principales en las que se discute la coyuntura nacional y por ende, las programas de entrevistas juegan un rol principal en establecer la agenda política. Es crítico que se incluyan voces femeninas en la discusión de asuntos que afectan a la nación, ya que sus perspectivas pueden agregar una profundidad valiosa a las conversaciones. Además, algunos temas, como la salud reproductiva y la desigualdad salarial, afectan a las Latinas de manera desproporcionada.  

    La exclusión de mujeres como invitadas a los programas dominicales en español refleja una tendencia que demuestra la subrepresentación de latinas en programas de formato similar en inglés: En 2015, las latinas fueron solo el 1 por ciento del total de invitados a los programas dominicales de entrevistas en inglés, a pesar de que conforman el 9 por ciento de la población general.  


    Media Matters analizó cada invitado que apareció en el programa de Univision Al Punto y en el programa de Telemundo Enfoque del 3 de enero al 24 de abril usando iQ media, y codificando a cada invitado acorde a su género. Se consideraron invitados a todos los participantes que aparecieron en el programa para participar en discusiones significativas, que se definieron como dos personas o más, durante un segmento, hablando la una con la otra.

    Dina Radtke y Sarah Wasko aportaron a este estudio.