La Opinión | Media Matters for America

La Opinión

Tags ››› La Opinión
  • After immigrants die in Texas, right-wing media push for policies that would exacerbate the problem

    Experts agree that hardline immigration policies correlate with an increase in immigrant deaths

    ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    Ten immigrants were killed and many others hospitalized after human traffickers promising to smuggle them into the United States failed to provide them with adequate ventilation or water for the journey. Conservative media figures have responded to the tragedy with calls for stricter immigration laws -- in particular, stricter border enforcement policies and anti-sanctuary city laws -- that experts have said would serve only to exacerbate the problem by diverting immigrants to more dangerous routes and empowering human traffickers without addressing the root causes of immigration.

  • These Four Outlets Are A Welcome Exception To Media's Failure To Appropriately Label This Anti-Immigrant Hate Group

    Media Need To Stop Helping The Center Of Immigration Studies Sanitize Its Nativist Image

    Blog ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    The media’s problem of citing the anti-immigrant Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) as merely "conservative" -- and effectively elevating it as a legitimate source -- has allowed for the proliferation of anti-immigrant extremist groups in mainstream media. However, some outlets have become a welcome exception by appropriately describing “the nativist lobby” of CIS and its sister organizations, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and NumbersUSA.

    The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has dubbed these three groups “the nativist lobby” for their ties to white supremacists. It has also specifically singled out CIS and FAIR as hate groups in its latest annual hate group census, listing them as among “the most extreme of the hundreds of nativist and vigilante groups that have proliferated since the late 1990s.” CIS is referred to as the “think tank” arm of the Nativist Lobby because it attempts to mask its extremist agenda under a veil of academic discipline. CIS produces studies that routinely use flawed methodologies, distort reputable research, and demonize immigrants despite its attempt to cast itself as being “low-immigration, pro-immigrant.

    Media have aided the group in sanitizing its image. Major newspapers such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, Politico, and others have all cited CIS within the last year without accurately exposing the group’s anti-immigrant agenda and unreliable research. USA Today routinely publishes articles written by CIS members that misinform readers about immigrants and refugees; the paper justifies the platform as “the opposing view,” offering the space as a counterpoint to the paper’s editorials. CIS is also no stranger to mainstream cable news outlets like CNN.

    But a handful of outlets are offering a refreshing exception to this media pitfall. The New Yorker, New Republic, and La Opinión have recently joined The Daily Beast in exposing the CIS anti-immigration campaign that is having tangible effects via President Donald Trump's administration. The New Yorker zeroed in on the group’s growing influence, calling it one of the most “prominent nativist groups” and writing, “Under the Trump Administration, the relationships between anti-immigrant stalwarts and Border Patrol are being strengthened, and formalized, as never before.” New Republic lambasted CIS for bolstering Trump’s border wall proposal with false statistics, noting that the group has been “Trump’s go-to source for research about migrants and the dangers they pose.” La Opinión pointed to CIS, FAIR, and NumbersUSA as “the pillar organizations of the nativist movement today,” noting that their roots “emerge from their concern that Latinos bring maladies and defects that damage [American] society.”

    Articles like these are welcome nuggets of truth in a political climate often devoid of facts, especially when it comes to immigration. CIS responded to the New Yorker and New Republic articles, attempting to discredit the outlets as well as the SPLC, which the articles cited. The group’s response underscores the need for other media outlets to ditch the “conservative” label when mentioning CIS and its cohorts and apply the proper name: “anti-immigrant hate groups.” Failure to provide audiences with the complete truth about the nativist lobby will only serve to further their already established influence within the administration and throughout government.

  • Trump's Fearmongering Has Forced Hispanic Media To Warn Against Voter Intimidation

    Spanish-Language Outlets Spending Final Weeks Of Election Preparing Viewers In Case Of Voter Suppression

    Blog ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    Responding to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s comments urging his supporters to be on the lookout for widespread voter fraud on Election Day, Hispanic media have repeatedly debunked the myth that such voter fraud exists and shared resources that their audiences could use if they are harassed -- or see others harassed -- at the polls.

    Since Trump began asserting in mid-October that the presidential election is “rigged” against him because of voter fraud and because “illegal immigrants are voting,” Spanish-language outlets and Latinos in the media have been debunking his false claims and noting that Trump’s accusations threaten American democracy. They also warned that these tactics could intimidate minorities, causing them not to vote. Univision correspondent Juan Carlos Aguiar explained that there is no shortage of “experts who confirm that this position assumed by Trump is very dangerous.” Aguiar’s report featured political analyst José Parra, who pointed out that Trump’s charges of voter fraud exacerbate racial tensions “because ‘electoral fraud’ becomes the equivalent of people of color are voting for many people.” Translated from the October 18 edition of Univision’s Noticiero Univisión: Edición Nocturna:

    JUAN CARLOS AGUIAR (CORRESPONDENT): It’s not just a few experts who confirm that this position assumed by Trump is very dangerous.

    JOSÉ PARRA (POLITICAL ANALYST): Racial tensions become exacerbated because ‘electoral fraud’ becomes the equivalent of people of color are voting for many people, and they think that by not being a white American then therefore you are not an American citizen.

    AGUIAR: In order to avoid possible episodes of racial discrimination, in New York, they created a mobile app to denounce them.

    JOANNA CUEVAS (SPOKESPERSON FOR LATINO JUSTICE): Race, color, national origin, ability to speak English. These are all forms of discrimination that we are monitoring.

    Faced with concerns over violence and the potential for intimidation of minority voters at the polls, Hispanic media have reported on various organizations’ mobilization efforts to protect voting rights on Election Day. La Opinión highlighted the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO)’s request that the Department of Justice send federal election observers “in particular to areas with high percentages of immigrant and Puerto Rican voters,” as well as the organization’s guide for voters, which describes “what to do in case of harassment at the polls.” Univision published an explainer on voter intimidation and what to do when faced with such intimidation, directing readers to resources that could help them. Also, Univision’s late-night news program reported that the Organization of American States (OAS) will be assisting with monitoring polls, while Fusion highlighted the Democratic National Committee’s lawsuit against the Republican National Committee, which alleges that the RNC is assisting Trump in his efforts to suppress voter turnout.

    Despite the deluge of coverage debunking Trump’s false claims, his fear tactics seem to be working. Telemundo reported that because of Trump’s fearmongering about a rigged election and his suggestion that he might not accept the results, 51 percent of Americans are worried that “violence will emerge the day of the elections” and “only 40 percent believe that the transfer of power will be peaceful.”

  • What It's Like To Cover Donald Trump As A Spanish-Language Reporter

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.

    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has broken the precedent set by presidential candidates before him by avoiding speaking to major Spanish-language media networks and outlets since June 2015, posing an unexpected challenge for the Spanish-language reporters covering his campaign, and forcing them to rely on campaign press releases, televised news conferences, the candidate’s Twitter account and the work of other journalists. Media Matters interviewed La Opinión’s Washington correspondent Maria Peña to find out what it’s like to cover Trump for an audience of Spanish-speakers in such conditions.

    While Trump’s animosity toward the major Spanish-language networks Univision and Telemundo has been well documented, the fact that his Hispanic media blackout has also affected print outlets is less discussed. La Opinión -- the Los Angeles-based largest Spanish-language daily newspaper in the U.S. -- has a strong digital and print presence among Latino readers. La Opinión’s Maria Peña told Media Matters that “the main difficulty” in covering Trump for a Spanish-language outlet has been “access” since the campaign “does not even respond to emails.”

    Trump has set himself apart from other candidates -- Democratic and Republican -- by repeatedly ignoring Spanish-language media figures’ requests for access. Peña said she had “no problems whatsoever with [covering] Mitt Romney’s campaign,” and was able to interview Romney’s wife and son during the 2012 Republican convention in Tampa, FL, and “almost always got written responses or helpful info[rmation]” from the other campaigns during the 2016 Republican presidential primaries.

    In this election cycle, Peña has interviewed “Hillary Clinton and Gary Johnson, as well as some of their surrogates” about the issues that “Latinos care [about] the most this year” such as “jobs, health care, education, national security, and immigration.” While a growing portion of the Hispanic community gets their news in English, Spanish-language media is still the tool many Latinos rely on to help them “navigate America.” According to Peña, “for many Latino voters who are just now flexing their political muscle, or learning about the electoral process in this country, getting reliable and accurate information in their own language is very important.”

    Spanish-speaking audiences have yet to hear Trump’s unfiltered views on the things that matter to them the most, since even when his campaign caved to Hispanic media’s pressure and conceded a short interview to a local Miami, FL, Telemundo station, Trump was neither challenged on issues that Hispanics prioritize nor questioned on his dismal Latino outreach strategy.

    Trump’s shirking of Spanish-language media is just one prong of his media strategy wherein he seeks exclusively fawning press coverage by denying interviews if he cannot have the questions in advance, or changing his mind seconds before interviews with local Hispanic journalists his campaign has already agreed to. Trump also has an extensive record of attacks against media figures and outlets he perceives as critical, and has a tendency to retreat to the protection of the sycophantic right-wing media bubble, often to whine about the “very evil” press.

    To many Hispanic journalists, Trump’s “unprecedented and dangerous” antics with the news media echo those of “political figures” who “use whatever is at their disposal to punish and silence unfavorable news coverage.” But, as Peña pointed out, Trump’s ignoring Spanish-language media figures “at his own peril” because "this voting bloc has the power to swing elections.”

  • La Opinión Reports On Exclusion Of Latinos In The Media

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    La Opinión reported on a Media Matters study that found that Latinos made up only a small fraction of guests invited on cable news shows to discuss Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s attacks on Judge Gonzalo Curiel’s Mexican heritage. The article featured input from Media Matters Hispanic media researcher Cristina López, who explained that this finding is representative of a larger tendency in the media to marginalize the Latino perspective in their reporting, which could have serious “negative effects” and “perpetuate damaging stereotypes” about Latinos.

    The September 21 report focused on a Media Matters quantitative study of guest diversity on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC that found that only 11.5 percent of guests discussing Trump’s racist attacks against a Latino judge were Hispanic, while the majority of those discussing the topic -- 88.5 percent -- were non-Hispanic. The article cited previous Media Matters studies that confirmed the media’s “broader pattern” of marginalizing Latinos’ voices “even when the [Latino] community is attacked” and often relegating them to the single issue of immigration.

    Media MattersCristina López pointed out that a failure to effectively include the Latino perspective on issues that affect them “can have negative effects on the narratives that come out of news shows” and explained that “without the inclusion of Latino voices in the discussion of topics of the day, including those that most affect them, we run the risk of having imprecise information that perpetuates damaging stereotypes.” Translated from the September 21 article (emphasis original):

    Latinos are the largest minority in the country and even when the community is attacked, they do not have a voice on cable news networks [to comment] on the electoral bloc’s most pressing topics, according to what a "Media Matters" study reported this Wednesday.

    [...]

    In statements to this newspaper, researcher Cristina López explained that the low representation of Latinos “can have negative effects on the narrative that come out of news shows.”

    “Without the inclusion of Latino voices in the discussion of topics of the day, including those that most affect them, we run the risk of having imprecise information that perpetuates damaging stereotypes” about Hispanics, she said.

    For López, it’s urgent that TV producers and executives improve the participation of Latinos and other minorities, especially in a hostile environment in which racist attacks have changed the current of the national dialogue.

    “Latinos have demonstrated, with campaigns like #AskMeMás, that they are anxious and capable of discussing issues that affect them most and being part of broader conversations. The ball is in the court of the news channels,” López stated.

    According to Media Matters, the lack of inclusion of Latino voices on national programs is not isolated but rather makes up a part of a broader pattern: after the massacre in a gay club in Orlando (Florida), none of the major cable channels included a significant number of Hispanic guests, despite the fact that 90% of the victims were of Latino origin.

    And an analysis of Sunday shows, in English and Spanish, left proof that Latinos are only sought out to comment about immigration issues, ignoring the diversity of opinions about other topics of life nationally.

    Although much is spoken about the importance of the Latino vote in this election year, the cable channels “rarely include Hispanics” in their news shows, Media Matters said.

  • La Opinión Highlights The Need For A Latino Presidential Debate Moderator

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    In reporting on the moderators for the 2016 presidential debates, La Opinión pointed out that the selection for the “political show of the century” includes “zero Latinos” “despite immigrants and Mexicans in particular becoming a central theme of the campaign” and noted the ways a Latino moderator would have been “very positive” for both the Latino community and the debate.

    The September 7 article reported that “in the diverse panel of the five selected journalists there are women, an Asian[-American], an African-American … and zero Latinos” and highlighted the backlash this selection inspired among prominent Latinos in the media such as the president of Univision Randy Falco, who “sent a letter to the [Commission of Presidential Debates] indicating his ‘disappointment’ with the lack of Latinos.” The article highlighted Falco’s disapproval with the commission’s failure to take into account “demographic patterns and the important role that Latinos play in the economy and socially” and quoted others who underscored the significance of lifting up Latino journalists.

    This “disappointing” moderator selection comes after Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump launched his most recent attempt to shield himself from scrutiny by conditioning the moderator selection with unfounded predictions of bias. Trump has been critical of Latinos for possible bias, citing his promise to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border as a reason that could compromise the neutrality a judge of Hispanic heritage. Translated from the September 7 article in La Opinión:

    There are some who say that it is not a relevant criterion in the selection of moderators for the important presidential debates, but the truth is that in the diverse panel of the five selected journalists there are women, an Asian, an African-American … and zero Latinos.

    In a little more than two weeks, the world will watch for the first time the presidential candidates Donald Trump and  Hillary Clinton face off on the same stage in the first of three presidential debates that are promising to become the “political show of the century.”

    Nonetheless, and despite immigrants and Mexicans in particular becoming a central theme of the campaign, mainly that of Republican [presidential nominee] Trump, none of the debates will be moderated by a journalist of Latino origin.

    [...]

    By that calculation, there are two women, one African-American (Holt is part Jamaican), and one Asian[-American]. [There are] [z]ero Latinos or Mexican blood or from any other place in Latin America.

    The decision was not taken generously by the president of Univision Randy Falco who sent a letter to the commission indicating his “disappointment” with the lack of Latinos in the debate panels. Falco pointed out in the letter that “taking into account the demographic patterns and the important role that Latinos play in the economy and socially in this nation.”

    Falco accused the commission of “abdicating its responsibility to represent the largest and most influential communities in the country.”

    [...]

    Stephen Nuño, associate professor of political science at Northern Arizona University, said that the presidential debates are something “very symbolic and important” in the electoral contest. “I think the most disappointing part is that it seems like the representation of minorities and women is not taken into account as one of the parameters.”

    [...]

    During the multiple debates that took place in the primaries, there were few Latinos asking questions, like José Diaz Balart, who represented Telemundo in its sister channel NBC’s debate and a debate organized by a Spanish-language network, Univision, of the democratic candidates, but not of Republicans.

    [Jorge] Ramos, of Univision, recently said that there are many Latino journalists on television that could have done the honors besides him, including his colleague María Elena Salinas, Díaz Balart, of Telemundo, Tom Llamas y Cecilia Vega of ABC or María Hinojosa of NPR.

  • Here's What Latinos In The Media Are Saying About Trump's Sudden Visit To Mexico

    ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    Latino media figures are infuriated at the announcement that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is traveling to Mexico to meet with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. Several Latinos in the media noted that Trump has built his campaign on aggressively attacking Mexico and Mexican immigrants in the United States, and called the move a Hail Mary pass between two “desperate men.”

  • Latinos: A New Immigration Plan From Donald Trump Won't Magically Erase His Previous Bigotry

    ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    Latino media figures are calling Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s “possible reversal” over immigration policy “too late,” noting that “Trump based his campaign on attacking immigrants,” and that the vague reports about a shifting stance on immigration come only a day after “Trump aired [a] xenophobic, anti-immigrant ad,” which “overtly” cites the anti-immigration group Center for Immigration Studies, whose founder “drifts in and out of overt white supremacist circles.” 

  • Hispanic Media Slam Trump For Defending His “Second Amendment People” Comment By Blaming Media

    ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    Hispanic journalists are criticizing Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for doubling down on his comments about “Second Amendment people” being able to “do” something about Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s potential judicial nominees, a remark that many interpreted as a call for violence against the Democratic candidate. Hispanic media rehashed Trump’s plethora of reckless statements and noted his pattern of responding to backlash “not with apologies but rather justifications” and by blaming the media.

  • Hispanic Media Highlight How The Supreme Court’s Landmark Abortion Decision Benefits Latinas

    ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    In a 5-3 vote, the Supreme Court struck down Texas’ HB 2 law that imposed “unnecessary health regulations” on abortion providers and clinics and created serious barriers for women seeking abortions. Hispanic media outlets lauded the decision, noting that HB 2 had a particularly negative impact on the approximately 2.5 million Latina women of reproductive age living in Texas.

  • Editorial Boards Blame Republican Obstruction For Supreme Court's Immigration Impasse

    ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    Numerous editorial boards slammed the Supreme Court’s “maddening” and “depressing” “nondecision” in United States v. Texas that upheld a federal court’s decision to block President Obama’s executive action on immigration that temporarily relieved millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation. The editorial boards blamed the impasse -- which “condemned” millions to “live in the shadows” -- on congressional Republicans’ obstruction of Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, as well as their failure to pass immigration reform.

  • Growing Consensus In Hispanic Media for Stronger Laws To Prevent Gun Violence

    ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    After the June 12 Orlando, FL, massacre -- which left 49 dead, a majority of them Latino -- various Hispanic media outlets and figures criticized Americans’ easy access to weapons and the National Rifle Association’s obstructive influence on gun legislation reform, making a renewed call to reform “our weak current legislation of firearms.” This response is reflective of the opinions of a majority of Latinos, who favor legislation to combat gun violence, perhaps because of statistics showing that Latinos are disproportionately victimized by guns.

  • The Right-Wing Media Figures Praising Trump’s Attacks On Press

    Major Media Figures Slam Trump’s Attacks For “Showing Little Regard For Democratic Accountability.”  

    ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    Mainstream media figures criticized presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump’s attacks on the press during a May 31 press conference as showing “a fundamental misunderstanding of reporters’ roles” and “little regard for … the legitimate role of a free press in a free society,” while right-wing media lauded the attacks as a “smart move” against the “corrupt media.”