Enfoque | Media Matters for America


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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 Cleveland.com, 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.

  • This Is How Right-Wing Myths About Sanctuary Cities Spread

    Blog ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    On Telemundo’s Sunday news show, José Díaz-Balart demonstrated how the host of a news program can allow misinformation to take root and fester by failing to correct misinformation about immigration detentions.

    On the April 2 edition of Enfoque, Díaz-Balart hosted Jorge Silva of the Latino Victory Project and Alfonso Aguilar of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles to discuss the Trump administration’s recent threat to block federal grants to sanctuary cities. Aguilar -- who supported Trump during the campaign, then briefly withdrew his support following Trump’s hardline immigration speech in September, and then in December declared that he supported Trump “100 percent” -- falsely claimed the Trump administration is focused on detaining only those undocumented immigrants with serious criminal records. He said it “is simply not true” that all undocumented immigrants sentenced for crimes are reported to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Silva corrected the misinformation, but Díaz-Balart failed to explain the facts, potentially leaving viewers unclear which of the guests was correct. From the April 2 edition of Telemundo’s Enfoque:

    Translated transcript:

    JOSÉ DÍAZ-BALART (HOST): Alfonso, is this a wise policy on the part of President [Donald] Trump’s administration?

    ALFONSO AGUILAR: Look, I think so. What has happened is that this debate has become highly politicized. There is no standard definition for what is a sanctuary city. It is not a technical term. There are different cities that treat undocumented immigrants in a different way. There are cities that give some local benefits to undocumented immigrants. This is not what the Trump administration is focused on. What the Trump administration wants -- and it’s something basic, I don’t understand why someone could be opposed to this -- is that the local authorities, if they arrest an undocumented immigrant who has a criminal record or is involved in serious criminal activity, they refer them to federal authorities to be removed.

    DÍAZ-BALART: Jorge?

    JORGE SILVA: Let’s remind the viewers that, in this moment, an undocumented immigrant who has been sentenced for a crime is immediately referred to the deportation agencies, to the federal immigration agencies.

    AGUILAR: That is simply not true. You are alarming the community unnecessarily. This is not what is happening. What they want to address are situations like that of Kate Steinle in San Francisco, a woman who was murdered by an undocumented immigrant who had a serious criminal record. Here there is not a mass deportation, here they are not seeking to deport people who are do not have criminal records. Please stop scaring our community.

    SILVA: In this moment, we have seen that ICE is arresting people without criminal records. And you can’t lie to me, Alfonso, please. You have seen it.

    AGUILAR: I am not lying.

    SILVA: They are arresting and deporting people without criminal records.

    AGUILAR: But it’s not the vast majority. It is a minority and this also happened under the Obama administration.

    SILVA: In the Obama administration, there was a prioritization for people who had violent criminal records.

    Aguilar’s assertion that ICE is not notified when an undocumented immigrant is arrested is false. According to The Washington Post, when a person is arrested, local authorities send his or her fingerprints “to the FBI, which sends the inmates’ information to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.” ICE may then issue a detainer request for local authorities to hold the person in custody for 48 hours. In many “sanctuary” jurisdictions, local authorities do not honor the 48-hour detainer request due to Fourth Amendment concerns. Sanctuary cities typically honor detainer requests for violent criminals but neglect to hold people past their sentences if they do not pose a threat to public safety.

    Aguilar’s false equivalency between Trump’s and Obama’s immigration policies also is not consistent with facts. Border patrol and ICE agents are “newly emboldened” to detain all undocumented immigrants under Trump, whereas they were required to “concentrate on deporting gang members and other violent and serious criminals” under Obama.

    Lies about sanctuary cities and immigration in general run rampant in the right-wing media echo chamber, but they can easily spread to mainstream media when hosts fail to push back on right-wing myths.

  • Prominent Hispanic Anchor Asks For Help Getting Trump Interview

    Trump Has Done Only One Interview With Hispanic Media, But He Gave Fox Over Three Hours In June Alone

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.

    Telemundo anchor José Díaz-Balart asked Helen Aguirre Ferré, the Republican National Committee’s Hispanic outreach director, to help him get an interview with Donald Trump this week. Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, has only given one interview to a Hispanic media network since announcing his presidential run.

    During the July 17 edition of Telemundo’s Sunday interview show, Enfoque, Díaz-Balart requested Aguirre Ferré’s help, saying, “Helen Aguirre, what I want is for you to help me get Donald Trump in this chair with us this week, to talk more clearly about these details, but you’re always so kind being here with me.” Díaz-Balart, a Telemundo and NBC anchor, is regarded as one of the “most prominent voices in Hispanic journalism in the United States.”

    Trump’s presidential run has been marked by clashes with Hispanic media, including denying press credentials to Univision correspondent Lourdes Del Rio, ejecting Univision’s Jorge Ramos from a press conference, publishing Ramos’ personal contact information on social media, and shutting down Díaz-Balart at a press conference by telling him “You’re finished” and that Telemundo “should be ashamed.”

    Despite the anemic support he’s receiving from the Hispanic community, Trump has granted only one interview to a Hispanic media network, sitting down with Telemundo back in June of 2015. To date, he has continued to ignore requests for an interview from Univision, the largest Hispanic network. In a recent sign that Univision is still attempting to get an interview with Trump, Jorge Ramos revealed on July 18 that Trump had reached out to him with a “personal” letter, whose contents have not yet been disclosed.

    In marked contrast, Trump has given Fox News 3 hours and 20 minutes of interview time in the month of June alone. If Aguirre Ferré manages to grant Díaz-Balart’s request, it would mark a break in Trump’s pattern of largely ignoring Hispanic media, even though the Spanish-language outlets have proved their value in their coverage of the 2016 election. But Aguirre Ferré, who was critical of the presumptive Republican presidential candidate before joining the RNC, has noted that she has yet to meet Trump.

    UPDATE: Ramos has become the second Hispanic journalist this week to request the help of a Republican National Committee official in trying to get Trump to sit for an interview. While interviewing RNC communications director Sean Spicer during Fusion’s July 19 convention coverage Ramos asked Spicer, “Do you think Donald Trump would give me an interview?” adding that “everyone is talking to us, but he doesn’t want to talk to us.” Spicer said he would “try” to get Trump to agree. Trump recently responded to Ramos’ interview requests by sending the anchor a “personal” letter containing a bumper sticker and a donation request.

  • Hispanic Media Figures Slam Trump For Racist Attacks On Judge

    ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.

    Latino media figures are criticizing presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald  Trump for his “racist,” “highly offensive” assertion that the federal judge presiding over  two civil lawsuits against the defunct Trump University, Judge Gonzalo Curiel, is biased against him because of his Mexican heritage.

  • 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.

  • How Coverage Of Transgender Issues In Hispanic Media Is Improving

    Blog ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    Univision and Telemundo, the biggest players in Spanish-language media, are making notable strides in their coverage of transgender issues, a topic in need of improved visibility among Hispanic audiences. 

    During the first third of 2016, a Media Matters guest demographic study showed transgender voices were absent from Spanish-language Sunday shows. But recently, Univision and Telemundo have both included transgender voices -- Univision on their nightly news show and Telemundo on their Sunday show -- in their reporting on the recent slew of  anti-LGBT bathroom bills, which bar transgender people from using facilities that correspond to their gender identity. On the May 22 edition of their Sunday show Enfoque, Telemundo brought on a transgender teenager to talk about discrimination:

    Latinos and Latinas face extra hurdles compared to other LGBT folks in the form of family structure and religion that may often suppress their ability to be open about their gender and/or sexuality. When Hispanic media gives transgender people a platform to tell their own stories, it helps educate viewers and debunk myths and stereotypes about transgender people.

    In the past, Spanish-language news networks have aired stories that include inaccurate and dehumanizing language about transgender people. Last year, networks also failed to cover a wave of deadly violence against  transgender women of color. National news networks have a history of irresponsible and inaccurate journalism when it comes to transgender issues, but Spanish-language networks are taking a much-needed step in the right direction.

  • 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. 

  • Women Critically Underrepresented In Spanish-Language Sunday Shows

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G. Versión en español

    Female voices were critically underrepresented on the Sunday interview shows of the main Spanish-language networks, Univision and Telemundo, in the first third of 2016.

    A Media Matters study analyzing all guest appearances from January 3 to April 24 on Spanish-language Sunday interview shows found that on Univision’s Al Punto, male guests appeared more than three times as often as female guests, while on Telemundo’s Enfoque, men appeared more than twice as often as women. During the time frame analyzed, Univision’s hour-long Al Punto had 76 percent male guests and only 24 percent female guests, and Telemundo’s half-hour show Enfoque brought in 68 percent men and 32 percent women.


    The underrepresentation of female guests on Spanish-language Sunday shows is especially glaring considering that Latinas “are more politically involved than their male peers,” according to Voto Latino president María Teresa Kumar, with issues like reproductive health and the wage gap likely driving them to the polls.

    Sunday shows are a primary setting for discussing current events and thus play a major role in setting the political agenda. It is critical that women’s voices are included in the discussion of issues affecting the nation, as their perspectives can add valuable depth to the conversations. And some issues, like reproductive rights and wage inequality, impact Latinas disproportionately.

    The dearth of female guests on Spanish-language Sunday shows follows a trend of underrepresentation of Latinas on English-language shows of similar format: In 2015, Latinas accounted for only 1 percent of total Sunday show guests, despite making up 9 percent of the general population.


    Media Matters analyzed every guest appearance on Univision’s Al Punto and Telemundo’s Enfoque from January 3 to April 24 using iQ media, coding guest appearances for gender. All participants appearing to engage in significant discussion -- defined as at least two speakers in the segment talking to one another -- were considered guests.

    Dina Radtke and Sarah Wasko contributed to this report.