Past and present members of the far-left Congressional Hispanic Caucus are now seeking to marshal the full power of the federal government in order to stop a conservative ownership group from taking ownership of an AM radio station in Miami, Florida.
Newsweek’s Adrian Carrasquillo reports:
Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) mobilized Wednesday to pressure the Federal Communications Commission to further scrutinize and reject the sale of the well-known Miami radio station Caracol 1260 AM to America CV, which owns the América TeVé network.
The congressmen's decision comes on the heels of a Newsweek report that detailed how America CV immediately fired the station's top-rated host, Raul Martinez, a Democrat and former mayor of Hialeah. The swift termination was viewed as a political decision, and led Florida Democrats to sound the alarm of a conservative media takeover on the Spanish-language airwaves.
In brief, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (a body largely composed of folks who couldn’t get elected dogcatcher in Miami-Dade County including, to wit, a literal Castro Brother) is using a labor dispute as cover to attempt to remove ideological opponents from the airwaves.
This effort to suppress Hispanic conservatives is by no means a new initiative, but began in earnest during the 2020 election and has been ongoing since. As the Trump campaign’s anti-communist message took hold, the left began to cry “disinformation”. Latinxtroturf organizations and defeated Democrats (like former congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, who asked her former CHC colleagues to intervene in Radio Caracol’s licensing) joined forces to try to pressure Miami stations into silencing conservative voices.
Miami is unique among cities with large Hispanic populations in that there is an abundance of conservative voices on the local airwaves. Univision and Telemundo, despite being headquartered in Miami, don’t get to impose narrative as they do in other cities. The left doesn’t run unabated in the Miami market as they do elsewhere, and Donald Trump’s improved performance over 2016 has sent them over the edge.
The fact is that format changes are commonplace in the radio industry, and Spanish-language news/talk is no exception. If there were truly a demand for progressive Spanish-language news/talk, Univision América would still be on the air. But there isn’t, and they aren’t.
The CHC’s intervention in America CV’s licensing, if successful, constitutes a grotesque abuse of power and sets an extremely dangerous precedent. Beyond that, it is comically ironic that the guys whining like stuck pigs about being called socialists would move against a privately-held radio station holding opposition views- as their party is moving in favor of gun grabs and court-packing. As did Hugo Chávez not that long ago.
UPDATE (4/19/21): FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr has issued a statement blasting the CHC's move as "a deeply troubling transgression of free speech and the FCC’s status as an independent agency." Full text of Carr's statement below:
DEMOCRATS PRESSURE FCC TO DENY SALE OF SPANISH-LANGUAGE RADIO STATION IN FLORIDA BASED ON POLITICAL VIEWPOINTS
“To win in 2022 this must stop!” Florida Democrat Says of Campaign
WASHINGTON, April 19, 2021—Congressional Democrats recently called on the FCC to reject the sale of a Spanish-language radio station in South Florida based purely on politics. According to the Democrat Representatives, the FCC must block this change in ownership to prevent what they view as a progressive broadcast station from beginning to air conservative viewpoints to Miami’s Hispanic community.
As Newsweek reported, “Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) mobilized … to pressure the Federal Communications Commission to … reject the sale of the well-known Miami radio station Caracol 1260 AM.” Separately, Newsweek wrote that Florida Democrats are sounding the alarm and reported that one former Obama Administration official called the sale of the station “‘a problem’ for the party.” Former Representative Debbie Mucarsel-Powell added that “To win in 2022 this must stop!” in reference to the Newsweek story.
FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr issued the following statement in response:
“This attempt by Democrats in Congress to pressure the FCC into blocking the sale of a Spanish-language radio station based on the political viewpoints that it would broadcast to South Florida’s Hispanic community crosses a line drawn by the First Amendment. The FCC has no business doing the Democrats’ bidding or using our regulatory process to censor political opinions that Democrats do not like. What’s worse, the Democrats appear to be treating the FCC as merely an arm of the DNC— expressly pressuring the agency to take action that they believe will increase their electoral odds in Florida in 2022.
“This is a deeply troubling transgression of free speech and the FCC’s status as an independent agency. I call on my FCC colleagues to join me in publicly rejecting this attempt to inject partisan politics into our licensing process. Doing so would go a long way in assuring the public that the FCC will review this proposed transaction free from political pressure and according to our long-standing rules and precedents.”