Tucker Carlson: If Mexico is "such a dangerous country filled with so many violent people, why would we let any of them into our country?"
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Univision’s Ilia Calderón: “The president used his speech once again to stigmatize all immigrants”
Univision hosts Jorge Ramos, Ilia Calderón, and Enrique Acevedo responded to President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address on January 30 by denouncing his attempt to “once again stigmatize all immigrants,” with Ramos noting, “it must be strongly emphasized that a large part of immigrants in the United States is not members of MS-13”:
JORGE RAMOS (CO-HOST): This is a president that, particularly at the end of his speech, was reading very slowly -- there was a moment, perhaps the most emotional, for me, was between the parents of Otto Warmbier, the young student who died in the United States after being tortured in North Korea. His parents crying in that moment seemed terribly [moving] to me.
Difficult, also, is the situation, of course, of those who lost their children to MS-13 gang members. But it must be strongly emphasized that the large part of immigrants in the United States is not members of MS-13.
ILIA CALDERÓN (CO-HOST): That's right, Jorge. The president used once again his speech to stigmatize all immigrants who came to the United States because the first thing he mentioned in his speech were those young people who died at the hands of gang members. And, like you said, all Hispanics are not gang members.
CALDERÓN: There are hardworking Hispanics. There are Hispanics doing things right in this country.
In a dishonest ploy to usher in anti-immigrant policies that would be counterproductive to improving public safety, Trump and his allies routinely depict undocumented immigrants as criminals and gang members. This racist and xenophobic rhetoric is particularly disingenuous when it comes to MS-13, which has American roots. As explained by Splinter News, “Trump failed to mention that MS-13 is actually a gang that was born in Los Angeles in the 1980s. It only spread abroad because of the U.S. government, and experts have found scant evidence that its American branch is primarily made up of immigrants.” Speaking to White House Director of policy and interagency coordination Carlos Díaz-Rosillo, Acevedo called out this tactic, noting that Trump spoke heavily about the criminality of immigrants, but did not mention their “contributions and value”:
ENRIQUE ACEVEDO (CO-HOST): Even though the idea of reconciliation and unity was discussed, the entire immigrant community was presented through the filter of criminality, of gangs, like Jorge and Ilia said at the beginning of the program. There was not much about the contributions and value of immigrants in the country. Was it not worth it to mention, at the same time, in the speech, both?
CARLOS DÍAZ-ROSILLO: But he said something even more important, which is that he wants to give, not only a legal status, but also a path to citizenship for more than 1.8 million young people. It was expected that that would only be granted to 690,000. Almost 2 million young people will benefit if the president's proposal is approved by Congress.
After listening to immigrants and Dreamers respond to Trump’s speech with dismay, Ramos summarized their message. Speaking directly to the camera, Ramos declared, “The message is clear, Mr. Trump. We are not members of the Mara Salvatrucha. We're not”:
Assaults on reporters are too frequent in the Trump era; the Ramos example shows what can come next
Sarah Wasko / Media Matters
Journalists reacted in disbelief after reports surfaced that Greg Gianforte, a Republican candidate for Montana’s House seat, allegedly “body-slammed” and punched Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs after he asked Gianforte a question. This incident is sadly just the latest in a string of increasingly hostile attacks on the press that President Donald Trump has encouraged both as candidate and president. An earlier confrontation Trump had with Univision and Fusion reporter Jorge Ramos serves as a warning about what can come next.
Gianforte’s alleged assault on Jacobs has spurred a national outcry from journalists. Many are blaming Trump for encouraging “fear and anger and resentment” toward the press. And the altercation itself is not without precedent. Since Trump declared his candicacy and made his hostility to the press a central part of his persona, while covering political events (many Trump-related), members of the media have been reportedly choked, slammed to the ground, punched, shoved, arrested, pinned, slapped, and dragged down.
In August 2015, Jorge Ramos was another of these examples, when he was forcibly removed from a news conference after pressing candidate Trump on his proposals to build a physical wall across the southern border of the United States and to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants. Trump told Ramos to “go back to Univision” and claimed that Ramos was removed because he “stood up and started screaming” and later commented, “He's obviously a very emotional person.” Ramos was later granted re-entry into the news conference and was able to ask multiple questions. At the end of their exchange, Trump reminded Ramos that he was suing Univision and that Ramos was part of the lawsuit.
Later, Ramos was harassed by an unidentified man who told him, “Get out of my country.” In response to the confrontation, Ramos commented, “It’s the first time in my life anywhere in the world in which I’ve been escorted out of a press conference.”
But what happened next was another first. As the campaign continued, Trump refused every single one of Ramos’ requests for an interview, despite his prominence in both English and Spanish-language news media -- though he did solicit a donation from Ramos and sent him a bumper sticker -- and blacklisted Univision along with nearly every other Spanish-language outlet. Ultimately, Trump did only two interviews with Spanish-language media throughout the 16 months of his presidential campaign.
Just as right-wing media rushed to defend Gianforte after his assault of Jacobs, conservatives subsequently attacked Ramos, with the conservative Media Research Center even launching an (unsuccessful) pressure campaign for him to resign.
During the campaign, Spanish-language outlets and those focused on Latin American affairs didn’t hesitate to compare Trump’s antagonism toward the press to that of Latin American dictators and warn of the dangers that would come with Trump’s war on the press. This incident is just the latest evidence that Trump’s antipathy to a free press is not only becoming normalized but is even spreading.
The outrageous assault on Jacobs is a reminder that when journalists are dehumanized they become targets for political violence. What happened to Ramos is a reminder that once the actual reporters are dehumanized, aggressively blacklisting the media is an easy next step.
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On an Election Day that could be marked by a historic turnout of Latino voters, cable news morning shows had almost no Latino guests, and more than 80 percent of the guests brought on to discuss the 2016 elections were white.
Media Matters analyzed the guests who appeared on the Election Day editions of CNN’s New Day, Fox News’ Fox & Friends and MSNBC’s Morning Joe and found only one Hispanic guest in the three hours of coverage: Rachel Campos-Duffy appeared on Fox News alongside her husband, Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI), to discuss their support for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump; the remaining 92 percent of the guests on Fox News were white. CNN and MSNBC did not feature a single Hispanic guest discussing the election; 84 percent of guests on CNN were white, and on MSNBC 92 percent of guests were white.
Latino journalists have taken notice of the dearth of Latino voices in election discussions that often touch upon the importance of the Hispanic vote. Univision anchor Enrique Acevedo noted the absence of Hispanics on CNN and MSNBC in a tweet, and Futuro Media Group’s Julio Ricardo Varela remarked that there were “no Puerto Ricans at the table” even as MSNBC’s Morning Joe discussed the influence of Puerto Rican voters in Florida.
In this election cycle, the Latino electorate is “on track for historic turnout,” according to the polling firm Latino Decisions. The firm projects a “three percent to five percent” increase in Latino voter turnout compared to 2012. In states with Latino-heavy populations like Florida and Nevada, the record-setting surge of Hispanic voters -- likely motivated by Trump’s xenophobic rhetoric -- could help define the election. And yet, like in past situations where Latinos are at the center of the issues being discussed, Hispanic voices continue to be marginalized in the news media.
Media Matters analyzed all guest appearances on November 8 from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. on CNN’s New Day, Fox News’ Fox & Friends, and MSNBC’s Morning Joe and coded them for ethnicity.
Latinos in the media are criticizing the lack of questions in the first and second presidential debates about what was expected to be an “issue of contention”: immigration. Latino journalists have pointed out that opposition to immigration has “been a centerpiece of Donald Trump’s blustery campaign for more than a year,” yet moderators have not asked “one specific question” about the issue.
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.”
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 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.
Many Hispanic journalists have pointed out that the Democratic National Convention is “notably distinct” from the Republican National Convention in terms of diversity, noting that the Democratic convention featured “almost as many” speakers of color on its first night as the Republican convention did in four days.
Enrique Acevedo, who anchors Univision’s late night daily news show Edición Nocturna, commented on Twitter on the contrast between the Republican convention of 2000, which featured both a Latino theme and Mexican Ranchera singer Vicente Fernández performing on stage, and this year’s convention, which featured Trump’s favorite anti-immigration sheriff Joe Arpaio. Translated from Acevedo’s July 21 tweet:
“16 years ago, the Bushes invited Vicente Fernández to sing at the Republican convention. Today Trump brought Sheriff Arpaio. Progress?”
Hace 16 años los Bush invitaron a Vicente Fernández a cantar en la convención republicana. Hoy Trump trajo al Sheriff Arpaio. Progreso?
— Enrique Acevedo (@Enrique_Acevedo) July 22, 2016
A July 20 report on the Republican convention in The New Yorker highlighted a side event put together by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) in which Republicans defended their stance on stricter voter ID laws. According to The New Yorker, these laws “appear to be suppressing the Latino vote,” a point that is backed up by studies. According to The New Yorker, members of Hispanic media spoke out to debunk the myth that voter fraud is “overwhelming,” with one noting that in decades of reporting, she had never “found that situation”:
In the background of the discussion was an issue that runs deeper than Trump: for all its talk of reaching out, the Republican Party has taken steps that actually appear to be suppressing the Latino vote. The Party has tried to pass stricter voter-ID laws across the country, even though studies have found that fraud is exceedingly rare and the laws have a disproportionate effect on minority turnout. (A recent study found that Latino turnout is 10.8 percentage points lower in states with strict photo-ID laws.) Lori Montenegro, a Telemundo correspondent, questioned whether voter fraud was being hyped by Republicans, saying, “I haven’t found evidence that there has been an overwhelming fraud.”
Daniel Garza, who served in the Bush Administration, disagreed. “Well, I come from the Rio Grande Valley,” in South Texas. “It happens.”
“That’s one place,” Montenegro said.
Maria Hinojosa, the host of “Latino USA,” on NPR, spoke up. “I just want to second Lori in saying that, in twenty-five years, in all of my reporting, I have never found that situation.”
According to Univision.com, Univision News’ efforts to reach the Trump campaign for comments always go unanswered, in part because Donald Trump is the first Republican presidential nominee in 20 years not to have a specialized Spanish-language communications team. The July 20 report explains that George W. Bush was the first to hire a spokesperson for Hispanic media, and that both John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012 followed his lead.
The Hill reported on July 21 that the signs written in Spanish that were “being waved at the convention” by attendees had grammatical mistakes. They read “Hispanics para Trump,” failing to translate “Hispanics” and using the preposition “para” instead of the correct one, “por.”
Latinos in the media denounced the speech Donald Trump delivered when he officially accepted the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, condemning the candidate’s hateful and anti-immigrant rhetoric, referring to the speech as “disgusting,” noting it contained “fearmongering” and “divisiveness,” and criticizing him for linking immigration and terrorism.
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.
More than a hundred Univision News journalists have signed an open letter to presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump condemning his “unprecedented and dangerous” revocation of press credentials for The Washington Post.
Trump revoked the Post’s press credentials after the paper published an article highlighting comments Trump had made linking President Obama to the June 12 massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, FL. Univision News reacted with an open letter to the candidate on June 14, echoing the sentiments of several other media outlets and journalists by condemning what the letter’s signatories describe as an “unprecedented and dangerous” action:
Your action is unprecedented and dangerous. Mainstream press organizations in the United States are always granted access to presidential candidates events. Never before have so many of them been denied this access.
Candidates for public office in the United States have always accepted that some of the news coverage they receive will be critical. Candidates often answer unfavorable coverage, arguing that it was inaccurate or unfair. What they don't do – not in the United States – is attempt to obstruct coverage by denying press organizations access to campaign events. There are too many places in the world where political figures use whatever is at their disposal to punish and silence unfavorable news coverage. The U.S. is not one of those places
Hispanic media has a reason to be concerned about threats to free press. Such threats -- whether by criminal organizations or public authorities -- have been on the rise in Latin America. According to Freedom House, “criminal gangs and overweening authorities” were major threats to media in Latin America in 2015. While interviewing The Washington Post’s executive editor, Marty Baron, back in May, Univision’s Enrique Acevedo asked whether he had any concerns that “during a Trump administration” there would be “issues related to freedom of the press in this country.” Baron responded, “I am concerned,”, noting that Trump was “sounding a lot like Hugo Chavez in Venezuela on the issue of the press:”
Baron is not the only journalist to liken Trump’s battles with news media and blacklisting of reporters to the anti-free-press antics of dictatorial regimes. After he was booted from a Trump press conference in August, Univision’s Jorge Ramos drew a parallel between Trump and Fidel Castro’s treatment of the press, saying: “I thought that was impossible that I would ever see something like that in the United States, which is a direct attack on freedom of the press.”
As presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump campaigns in California for the state’s June 7 primary, various Hispanic figures have pointed out the similarities between the candidate’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and California’s Proposition 187. The ballot measure, which passed in 1994 and was eventually struck down by the courts, barred immigrants in the country illegally from accessing certain public services in California. Proposition 184 galvanized Latino voters against the GOP. Hispanics are pointing out in the media that Trump’s xenophobic messages could have the same effect on a national scale.