WashPost Makes Fun of Newt's YouTube Spanish Accent in a Debate about Immigration

April 8th, 2007 7:01 PM
Photo of Newt Gingrich from Newt.com

The Washington Post’s Jose Antonio Vargas wrote about former Rep. House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s recent remarks, which were mischaracterized as calling immigrants’ native languages “ghetto” and Newt’s subsequent YouTube mea culpa, which set the Internet ablaze with snickering about his “bad” Spanish (emphasis mine throughout):

The apology was delivered in English and Spanish, with the three-minute Spanish video, "Mensaje de Newt Gingrich," subtitled in English. Can't get any more bilingual than that.

(However: Memorando al Señor Gingrich: In Spanish, the "r" is rolled and the syl-la-bles are se-pa-ra-ted.)

How droll. Another example of someone “joking" about a non-native speaker’s accent— conservatives' accents only, though. Anyone remember Arnold Schwarzenegger running for governor? I always thought that it was racist to make fun of the accent of someone speaking a second language, but I guess not. And now for the mislabeling.

Without fully identifying them, Vargas countered with the responses from “popular Web sites such as,” the admittedly liberal Latino Pundit and the apparently liberal Latin Americanist and Vivir Latino.

The people are contextualized even less. Vargas quotes Vivir Latino’s Maegan “La Mala” Ortiz (who has also written for Latino Pundit) without identifying her radical and partisan views, particularly about “immigration rights,” which she calls a “revolution.“ She’s even critical of Latinos “parroting right wing racism.“ Would the Post fail to label someone that partisan who is on the other side? Then there’s Peter Zamora and MALDEF:

Hispanic organizations such as the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund were incredulous, calling Gingrich's comments "hateful":

"There is a clear understanding among Latino citizens and Latino immigrants that you must learn English to get good jobs, to fully participate in this society. There is no resistance to that fact," said Peter Zamora, a credentialed bilingual education teacher who is the co-chairman of` the Washington-based Hispanic Education Coalition, which supports bilingual education.

Really? Not only is the Hispanic Education Coalition not identified as co-chaired by the racist group La Raza and the far-left MALDEF, but none are identified as liberal or even left-leaning. In addition, Vargas doesn't fully disclose who Zamora is. Zamora is a little bit more than just a “teacher”; he is MALDEF’s DC “Regional Council” and is involved in policy making in an organization that sues schools which try to change from bilingual to immersion education or do not provide professional translators for parents, and they sue businesses that dare to insist their employees speak English on the job.

A quick Google would have turned up MALDEF talking points opposing English-only workplaces and a MALDEF lawyer’s quote, “Employers should be aware that MALDEF will be vigilant in challenging any English-only policy.” Latinos may think English is important, but does that mean MALDEF does?

Now that Vargas has made a comment that would otherwise be called a xenophobic and has not adequately labeled and identified his sources, he winds it all up with three more negative quotations and only one positive. It’s a typical wrap up. Quelle surprise.