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  • Despite Saturating The Airwaves, Trump Has Yet To Sit Down With Hispanic Media

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

    Despite giving generous amounts of interview time to nearly every other broadcast news network, Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump has yet to sit down with the largest Spanish-language news network.

    In roughly nine months of campaigning, Trump has saturated the airwaves with all sorts of media appearances, even taking advantage of unprecedented phone-interview privileges on nearly every major broadcast news network. Yet, the candidate has not granted Univision, the largest Spanish-language network, a single interview, and his campaign has repeatedly blocked Hispanic media journalists from attending his events or asking questions at them, even while granting press credentials to white nationalist media.

    Univision's Jorge Ramos first attempted to get face time with Trump in June, seeking to confront him for his vitriolic anti-immigrant remarks, but Trump responded by publishing the journalist's personal contact information online and mocking Univision for "begging" him for an interview. In August, Trump threw Ramos out of a press conference in Iowa, saying, "Go back to Univision," after Ramos attempted to question the candidate about his immigration plan. One day after settling a lawsuit with the network in February, Trump vowed to grant Ramos an interview, but Ramos told CNN's Reliable Sources on March 20 that he is "'still waiting.'"

    Ramos hasn't been the only Hispanic journalist targeted by Trump's anti-press antics. The candidate also shut down Telemundo's José Díaz-Balart, another highly visible Hispanic journalist in the United States, during a press conference, calling on the reporter only to tell him, "You're finished!" and to say that Telemundo should be "ashamed," before touting his $500 million lawsuit against Univision. Trump did sit for an interview with Diaz-Balart in June, prior to the press conference.

    Hispanic media has contributed meaningful coverage of the 2016 presidential campaign, by conducting fact checks and relentlessly holding candidates accountable, and many Latinos say Univision is their most trusted institution, second only to the Catholic Church.

    Data demonstrates that in order to win the White House, Republican presidential candidates will need to garner at least 40 percent of the Latino vote, which makes Donald Trump's decision to ignore the platforms that can effectively reach this important constituency particularly perplexing.

    CORRECTION: The original piece erroneously stated that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump had not done interviews with either Univision and Telemundo. In fact, while the candidate has not submitted to an interview with Univision, the biggest Spanish-language network, he sat for one interview with Telemundo in June.

  • LULAC Director Pens Op-Ed Calling The Trump Brand A "Bankrupt Brand Of Hate"

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

    Brent Wilkes, executive director of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), denounced Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump's brand as a "symbol of bigotry, hatred and exclusion."

    In a March 16 op-ed, which ran in English on HuffPost Latino Voices and in Spanish on Univision.com, Wilkes wrote that Trump's campaign slogan "is an overt message to his followers" that he will reverse the country's demographic changes, "excluding immigrants, Latinos, Blacks, Asians and the disabled." According to Wilkes, Trump has "dispensed with the usual dog whistles and gone straight for the bullhorn" when it comes to racially-motivated political rhetoric.

    Media figures have already pointed out the harmful effects of Donald Trump's rhetoric. Despite evidence that some violent incidents have been inspired by Trump's discourse, many Fox News figures still refuse to "brand Trump as racist" and continue to whitewash the violence at his events, often even blaming the victims.

    From Wilkes' op-ed:

    The Trump brand, once synonymous with ostentatious luxury, has been twisted by the candidate himself into a worthless symbol of bigotry, hatred and exclusion. The moment that Donald Trump announced his candidacy, he condemned the entire 58 million-strong Latino community in the United States as rapists, murders, drug dealers and criminals. Trump has targeted ethnic minorities as the centerpiece of his campaign and the only promise for which he has released a detailed agenda.

    Even his campaign slogan "Make America Great Again" is an overt message to his followers that he will somehow turn back the clock on our nation's demographic changes. Making America great in Trump's ominous rhetoric means excluding immigrants, Latinos, Blacks, Asians and the disabled, just to name a few.

    A clear example of the rebranding of Trump can be seen in high schools across the country where kids are using Trump's name and likeness to taunt racial minorities.

    [...]

    Emboldened by candidate Trump's ability to sell overtly racist views as merely "politically incorrect" and still command relentless media attention, some students are using Trump as a synonym for the bigotry and exclusion that his brand now represents.

    [...]

    For a businessman who values his personal brand at $3.3 billion -- more than a third of his total worth -- Trump's eagerness to associate his name with hate speech defies the norm. Virtually all other businesses in America do everything possible to protect their brands rather than to destroy them.

    Yet Trump's naked appeal to white angst about our nation's changing demographics is not unique, just the most overt. He has dispensed with the usual dog whistles and gone straight for the bullhorn, spewing hateful rhetoric and betting that racialized whites are a bigger block of voters than many previous candidates thought possible.

    By playing on people's hatred, fear and prejudice, Trump is bringing out the worst in Americans in order to win their vote. He is exploiting and aggravating racial divisions in the United States in a gambit to win the Republican Party's nomination for president.

    Yet he is also transforming his namesake luxury brand, gaudy as it was, into the brand of hate and dragging down the Republican brand along with him in the process.

  • Media Call Out Rubio For Shift Right On Immigration

    ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN Versión en español

    Media are calling out Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) for his "mad rush to the right" on immigration after he promised to -- on his "first day in office" -- end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program instituted by President Obama to protect some undocumented immigrants from deportation. Right-wing media have pushed Rubio to take a stronger stance on immigration because of his past sponsorship of bipartisan reform.

  • If "Establishment" Is Code For "Moderate," Media Need To Stop Calling Rubio The Establishment Candidate

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT Versión en español

    The press wrote this script a very long time ago: Senator Marco Rubio could become the favored establishment candidate in the Republican Party primary as party elites search for answers to the insurgent campaigns of outsiders Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz.

    That note has been hit especially hard in the press since the Trump circus arrived on the campaign trail last summer: The GOP is hoping for a tempered, pragmatic savior who can appeal to mainstream voters and help Republicans avoid disaster come November. ("Allowing Trump to have its nomination would saddle Republicans with the worst nominee any party has had in decades," wrote Jonathan Chait at New York.) 

    Rubio's third-place finish in the Iowa caucus has only cemented that claim, with the press essentially anointing him the Iowa winner. He "may have won the establishment credibility he needs to stay near the top of the Republican presidential race for the long-term," according to CNN. Reuters agreed, crowning "Florida Senator Marco Rubio and the Republican establishment" as one of the big Iowa winners on the GOP side.

    But what happens when the facts change but the script does not? What happens when a so-called Establishment candidate like Rubio starts espousing ugly, divisive rhetoric that's synonymous with the darker regions of Fox News and the Republican Party? What happens when he adopts radical policy positions that just years ago would have been seen as borderline even for AM talk radio? (i.e. Outlawing abortions even for victims of rape and incest.)

    In other words, what happens when Rubio takes a very hard right turn and obliterates meaningful differences between himself and Trump? Between himself and Cruz? Don't calming, feel-good code words like Establishment then become irrelevant and misleading?

    I don't think there's any doubt that, overall, Rubio has benefited from very generous press coverage. Whether it's the sweeping conclusion that he's a "charismatic" communicator, the media happily running with his campaign's spin that it essentially won in Iowa by finishing third, or the press' steadfast refusal to delve deeply into the senator's questionable finances, watching Rubio at the Republican debate last year attack the press as a liberal super PAC for Democrats was amusing. The truth is, pundits seem to revere him.

    One way that affection is displayed is to ignore the substance of Rubio's campaign; to whitewash the extremism now at the base of his pitch. To acknowledge that Rubio occupies the far reaches of the political spectrum, and that he's actually sprinted there in recent months, taints the portrait the press likes to paint of him: establishment savior.

    To me, establishment sounds like a placeholder for "moderate." And in the case of Rubio, that's a complete myth.

    By placing the Florida senator in that wider establishment lane, pundits and reporters seem to suggest that he's somehow part of a pragmatic Republican wing (does that even exist?) that practices common sense conservatism; that he's separate and above those outlier disrupters like Trump and Cruz who embrace more political chaos.

    This week, a New York Times dispatch placed Rubio outside of the Republican "hard right" that seems to be flocking to Trump. Reuters explained what distinguished Rubio from the so-called outside, even though Rubio seemed to agree with Trump and Cruz on so many issues, including their disdain for President Obama: "[Rubio] embedded his criticism within a more optimistic, inclusive message."

    But just because an extremist coats his divisiveness in "optimistic" language, doesn't mean the campaign press should play along and portray him as something he's clearly not. And yet ...

    Forecasting Rubio's White House chances, FiveThirtyEight recently claimed that Democratic strategists are "terrified to face Rubio in the fall." Why? Because of his establishment ability to broaden the GOP's "appeal with moderates, millennials and Latinos."

    "Rubio is aiming to be the GOP candidate with the establishment credibility and broad appeal needed to win in a general election, a unifier who can bring together young, moderate voters, along with conservatives and evangelicals," the Christian Science Monitor reported.

    A unifier? Rubio walked away from his one stab at establishment legislating with the immigration reform bill that he, as part of the Gang of Eight, helped shepherd through Congress. But quickly finding himself out step with a rabid Republican base that's adopted anti-immigration as its defining litmus test, Rubio sprinted so far to the right on this issue that not only does he oppose his own reform proposal, he's connecting the issue to the rise of ISIS.

    No unity there.

    As for Rubio's potential appeal to young voters and moderates, a central part of the media's establishment narrative, the senator's increasingly right-wing agenda certainly raises doubts.

    Rubio opposes expanding background checks for gun owners, even though 90 percent of Americans support the measure, as do an overwhelming majority of gun owners and even NRA members. He opposes marriage equality and "believes some kinds of businesses, like wedding photography, should be allowed to turn away gay customers." He doesn't want to increase the minimum wage (even though he thinks it's currently too low). He doesn't believe in climate change.

    From PolitiFact [emphasis added]:

    Rubio will support anti-abortion legislation that includes an exception for rape and incest, but he prefers that the procedure be illegal even in cases of rape and incest.

    It's important to note that in terms of the "Establishment" branding, a string of recent Republican Establishment nominees for president, including Mitt Romney, Sen. John McCain, and George W. Bush, all agreed that allowing abortions to be legal in the case of rape and incest was the best approach. Rubio, though, has broken from that model and staked out a far more radical stance.

    And when Trump proposed banning all Muslims from entering America, Rubio seemed to out-flank him in the fevered swamps, at least initially. "It's not about closing down mosques," he soon told Fox News' Megyn Kelly. "It's about closing down anyplace -- whether it's a cafe, a diner, an internet site -- anyplace where radicals are being inspired." (Rubio later said Trump hadn't thought through his Muslim ban.)

    Overall? "He's been Trumped," noted Peter Beinart at The Atlantic.

    There may still be an establishment candidate lurking in the Republican field who can try to save the party from its own extremism, but based on the media's apparent definition of Establishment, Rubio isn't that person.

  • David Gregory Ignores Rubio's Shift To Hardline Immigration Stance To Claim He Could "Bring Conservatives Around" On The Issue

    ››› ››› KATIE SULLIVAN Versión en español

    Former Meet the Press host David Gregory argued on CNN that Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio could "bring conservatives around, potentially, on immigration," failing to note that Rubio has changed his stance on immigration, walking back his previous support for comprehensive reform while gradually adopting extreme conservative positions.

  • Huffington Post Debunks Rubio's False Claim That Undocumented Immigrant Population Has Grown

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

    The Huffington Post debunked Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio's unsubstantiated claim that there are more undocumented immigrants in the U.S. now than there were five years ago.

    During a January 31 appearance on NBC's Meet The Press, Rubio told host Chuck Todd that "we are worse off today than we were five years ago. We have more illegal immigrants here." As Huffington Post reporter Elise Foley pointed out on a February 1 article, Chuck Todd didn't press the candidate on the validity of his stats. Despite evidence that the undocumented immigrant population has been declining since 2008, Republican candidates have increasingly taken anti-immigrant stances and spouted alarmist anti-immigrant rhetoric that echoes the most extreme voices on right-wing media.

    Foley cited data from Pew Research Center to indicate that the undocumented "population has remained essentially stable for five years," directly contradicting Rubio's claim. She also pointed to a report from the Center for Migration Studies that demonstrates that in 2014, the undocumented population reached its lowest point since 2003 and that it has continued to decline since. Citing some of the same data, Politifact also rated Rubio's claim as false. As reported by Foley, Rubio has been using the same undocumented population estimates -- 11 million to 12 million -- for the past three years (emphasis added):

    Republican presidential hopeful and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio paints himself as the most informed and realistic candidate when it comes to immigration reform. He spent months helping draft a comprehensive immigration reform bill in 2013, and has spent even longer defending it.

    So it seems like he should be especially aware of how many undocumented immigrants are in the U.S. -- and the fact that the number has leveled off or even decreased in recent years.

    Rubio said the opposite Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."

    "We are worse off today than we were five years ago," he told host Chuck Todd. "We have more illegal immigrants here."

    Rubio wasn't pressed on where he got that information. HuffPost contacted two spokesmen for Rubio on Sunday and again Monday to see if the senator had a source for his claim that the number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. has risen in recent years, but neither of them replied.

    What he said doesn't square with most reputable studies. Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan think tank, estimated last year that there were 11.3 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. in 2014, and that the "population has remained essentially stable for five years." The number peaked in 2007 with 12.2 million undocumented immigrants, according to Pew estimates.

    Center for Migration Studies, another think tank, released a report based on Census figures this month estimating there were 10.9 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. as of 2014 -- the smallest the population has been since 2003. The number has been on the decline since 2008, according to the Center for Migration Studies.

    [...]

    Rubio has been saying for years that there are 11 million to 12 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. -- he used that figure in 2013, the year the Senate passed its comprehensive reform bill, and has cited it during the current campaign.

    Other Republicans have also said the undocumented population is larger than it is, although with more specifics. Front-runner Donald Trump said last year that there were more than 30 million people living in the U.S. without authorization -- a claim for which Politifact found no basis, other than statements from conservative columnist Ann Coulter.

  • Michael Savage Tells Trump "Hispanics Are Going To Vote For You" Because They "Don't Like Reporting To A Woman"

    Trump Praises Savage As "So Amazing," Thanks Him For The "Support"

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI Versión en español

    Far-right radio host Michael Savage told Donald Trump that Hispanics will support his presidential campaign because "the Hispanic culture is a macho culture. Men don't like reporting to a woman." Trump did not refute Savage's characterization, and later told him "I appreciate your support, you've been so amazing."  

    During his January 11 program, Savage remarked to Trump that "the reason Hispanics are going to vote for you -- and I'll say it, I'm not going to ask you -- is because, to be honest, and it's very clear, the Hispanic culture is a macho culture. Men don't like reporting to a woman. It's just the way the culture is. And they'd rather have a man than a woman as president." Savage then asked Trump, who did not refute or respond to Savage's characterization of Hispanics, about his polling with Hispanics:

    SAVAGE: I'm asking you the questions about the audiences that we normally don't think would vote for you. On this show, Donald, last week I said the reason Hispanics are going to vote for you -- and I'll say it, I'm not going to ask you -- is because, to be honest, and it's very clear, the Hispanic culture is a macho culture. Men don't like reporting to a woman. It's just the way the culture is. And they'd rather have a man than a woman as president. What are your poll numbers amongst Hispanics?

    TRUMP: Well we're doing well. In Nevada we just came in and we were at 34 or something like that, number one, the state of Nevada, which is very heavily Hispanic. And you know I have thousands of people that work for me that are Hispanic. And tens of thousands over the years that have been Hispanic and from Mexico and different places and they're phenomenal people. And, you know, they frankly, you know they don't want people coming into the country illegally and taking their jobs.  

    Trump later added that he's the one who "came up with" getting rid of "anchor babies" from the country, claiming that "people come over, they have a baby, now we have to take care of the baby for the next 90 years. It's ridiculous." The Associated Press noted that it's "extraordinarily rare for immigrants to come to the U.S. just so they can have babies and get citizenship. In most cases, they come to the U.S. for economic reasons and better hospitals, and end up staying and raising families."

    Numerous polls have shown that Trump is actually extremely unpopular with Hispanics. A recent ABC News/Washington Post poll found "Trump's favorability rating is just 18 percent among Hispanics and blacks alike, vs. 44 percent among whites." 

    Savage praised Trump for starting the debate on immigration and said "frankly, the entire Democrat machine lives off the illegal alien vote. Without the illegal alien vote, I don't think they'd be where they are today."

    Trump heavily praised Savage during the interview, stating at the beginning that it was "always an honor" to be on his program and ending the interview by saying, "I appreciate your support, you've been so amazing and I really do, thank you very much for it." 

    Savage is one of the country's most extreme radio personalities. The Cumulus Media-syndicated talker has called autism "a fraud, a racket," said PTSD and depression sufferers are "losers," advised people not to get flu shots because you can't trust the government, theorized liberals have been driven insane because of seltzer bubbles, claimed President Obama was intentionally trying "to infect the nation with Ebola," and once told a caller he was a "sodomite" who should "get AIDS and die."

    Trump has repeatedly appeared on The Savage Nation and said in a prior appearance there would be "common sense" if he appointed Savage to head the National Institutes of Health if he became president.

  • Will CNN Debate Moderators Ask Marco Rubio About His Shifting Position On Immigration?

    Rubio Has Not Been Asked About His Changing Positions On Comprehensive Immigration Reform In Any Presidential Debate

    ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY Versión en español

    As CNN prepares to host the fifth GOP presidential primary debate on December 15, a Media Matters analysis has determined that moderators of the past GOP debates have not asked Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) about his shifting positions on immigration reform, while other candidates have been asked about their immigration stances.

  • Fox News Uses New California Voter Registration Law To Fearmonger That State Will "Provide Shelter For Illegals To Vote"

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ Versión en español

    Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano used California's newly-approved law that automatically registers voters when they obtain or renew a driver's license to fearmonger that undocumented immigrants will now be able to vote - but experts and election officials say the new law "is actually a more secure way of doing things" and will likely improve California's legal voter participation, which hit a record-low turnout in the 2014 midterm elections.

  • 5 Things Hispanic Media Should Know About Houston's Fight For Equal Rights

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

    Houston voters will decide in November whether the city's Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), which bans discrimination based on a number of characteristics, including sexual orientation and gender identity, is repealed or stays on the books. Hispanic media reporting on the ordinance should note a few important points in order to avoid reinforcing falsehoods about the measure.

  • Conservative Media Laud Scott Walker's Harmful Health Care Proposal

    Mainstream Media Explain Walker's Proposal Would Disproportionately Harm Low-Income Americans And Those With Preexisting Conditions

    ››› ››› KATIE SULLIVAN Versión en español

    Conservative pundits are hailing Republican presidential candidate and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's proposed plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), while mainstream media and experts are pointing out how the costly proposal would disproportionately harm low-income Americans and those with preexisting conditions.