2020: A Catastrophic Failure For Spanish-Language Media

November 22nd, 2020 3:13 PM

To hear it from the nation’s Spanish-language media, 2020 was supposed to be the year that Latinos, having displaced African-Americans as the nation’s largest ethnic minority, asserted their power and at long last brought change to the country. But the exact opposite happened, and the media outlets that heralded this wave have so far avoided serious scrutiny. 

Ahead of the election, national Spanish-language media pitched the idea of a national Latino monolith that would sweep the Biden-Harris ticket into power, flipping Texas and Florida along the way. Univision went so far as to bill its Election Night Coverage “La Gran Noche” (“The Grand Evening”). Of course, there was no massive Latino blue wave. Neither Florida nor Texas flipped to the Democrats and President Donald Trump, far from losing ground among Latinos, actually improved his percentage of the Hispanic vote versus 2016. Per Marc Caputo of Politico, Trump improved his performance in 78 of the nation’s 100 counties where Hispanics are a majority

These gains occurred despite the efforts of the self-proclaimed gatekeepers in Spanish-language media, which did everything in their power to steer their viewership towards the Democratic ticket.

Our five-year study reflected than an already liberal skew turned significantly worse during the Trump administration. The networks gave outsized priority to immigration issues, which garnered greater coverage than was given to the impeachment of President Trump and to the initial outbreak of COVID-19

Latinos in places such as Florida and Texas expressed a forceful rejection of so-called “Democratic Socialism”, despite Univision and Telemundo’s favorable coverage of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jorge Ramos’ outright whitewash of the term, and the networks’ beatific coverage of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). Here again, Jorge Ramos is distinguished for his servility, going so far as to say to Spain’s El País that AOC should be president because:

There are more Latinos than African-Americans. They’ve already had one. The next giant step would be to see a Latina in the White House.   

The networks showed that they were out of touch on cultural issues as well. Regarding the violence in America’s cities, they went to great lengths to avoid mentioning Antifa

The networks were also complicit in the effort to shove the impositive “Latinx” down the community’s throat. Here again, Ramos sticks out:

At the same time, a revolution is taking place within the Latino community itself. The political leadership is changing. Our opposition strategy is changing. Even the words we use are changing.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 29-year-old Democratic representative from New York, is at the forefront of this generational transformation. But she isn’t alone. American-born Hispanics, not immigrants, are driving most of the growth within the Latino community. And this in turn is giving rise to a new and dynamic political class. Nothing is beyond their reach.

I don’t know if “Latinx” will replace “Latino” or “Hispanic” any time soon. But “Latino” and “Hispanic” are both male-gendered terms, which already leave out half the population. That’s not fair. “Latinx,” in contrast, isn’t a binary term. This makes it more egalitarian.

As we celebrate America’s Hispanic heritage, the fight continues for the Latinx idea to be seen as an essential part of that heritage, and of the nation’s future. The Latino-American labor leader Cesar Chavez had it right when he said: “We have seen the future, and the future is ours.”

Once Vice President Joe Biden secured the Democratic nomination, Univision and Telemundo worked overtime to suppress coverage of the sexual abuse allegations made by Tara ReadeUnivision and Telemundo also suppressed coverage of the explosive allegations surrounding Hunter Biden, hiding mentions of this important story within reports on how Trump might say mean things at the presidential debates.  

It appears that an increasing number of viewers actually tuned out the networks' insanely biased news coverage and voted for President Trump anyway. Instead of showing humility over their massive institutional failure, Spanish-language media now appear to be pointing at the localized nature of Arizona’s results as proof of success. Far from absorbing the lessons of their failure, it appears that they’ve learned nothing.

It appears, now more than ever, that the market is ripe for an alternative.