Elections

Why Is Conservative Latino Media Virtually Nonexistent?

Maybe America’s Latinos are “natural conservatives.” But until Spanish language media is no longer an ideologically monolithic mass of leftist propaganda, this potential will be unrealized.

Television and cable network news are biased overwhelmingly in favor of the Democratic Party, but at least viewers in search of balance can find options. Fox News will usually report both sides of the story, and One America News can be relied on for a consistent conservative perspective.

Similarly, online search and social media platforms do everything they possibly can—short of triggering federal intervention—to diminish the reach of conservative commentary and news with a rightward slant. But despite everything these companies are doing, there is nonetheless a robust assortment of YouTube channels and Twitter accounts where conservatives have built up massive followings.

One sector of the media, however, offers no balance whatsoever: America’s Spanish-language television. The two major Spanish TV networks are Telemundo and Univision, and they own the primetime Spanish-language audience in the United States. Their news reporting and news commentary are consistently leftist. Viewers have no alternative.

One of Univision’s most prominent television journalists is Jorge Ramos, who attained wide coverage on all of America’s television networks in 2015 when he was temporarily ejected from a press conference held by then-candidate Donald Trump. Needless to say, Ramos didn’t like Trump in 2015, and he’s still angry.

A recent pair of tweets by Ramos, who has 3.6 million Twitter followers, exemplifies how Spanish-speaking Americans are even more vulnerable to biased reporting. Because they can’t always translate for themselves what they may see or hear in English, how their reporters interpret news is all they see. Here is the first tweet, which Ramos posted in English:

In this English language tweet, Ramos is trying to reinforce his allegation that Trump is a racist. Notice that he doesn’t mention what Trump actually said, “some great people, some really bad people too.” Then in his Spanish language tweet, below, Ramos goes a step further:

In Spanish, Ramos not only omits Trump’s reference to “some great people,” but he adds “incluyendo a los de Mexico,” which infers that Trump was targeting Mexican immigrants in his remarks, which he was not. He never even mentioned Mexico in the speech in Arizona that Ramos is criticizing. Then Ramos attempts in his tweet to recruit the Mexican President Andres Obrador to speak out against Trump, stating “he criticized Trump when he said something similar in 2015. But will he do it again now?”

Demographic Shifts

These things add up. Ramos is at the pinnacle of a Spanish-language media establishment that uses the same tactics as the mainstream liberal media. They make selective use of facts, omitting anything that doesn’t support their anti-Trump, anti-Republican message. If the weight of a news story obligates them to report something negative about Democrats, they immediately juxtapose it to something even more negative about Republicans. 

Their tone invariably is calibrated to trigger anger towards Republicans and Trump, and to elicit trust and faith in Democrats and, in this election season, trust and faith in Joe Biden. And, of course, they emphasize issues designed to target Latino sentiments—racism, bilingual education, immigration, benefits for migrants—and package these issues according to a one-sided, pro-Democrat agenda.

According to Pew Research, 2020 will mark the first time that Latinos will represent the largest nonwhite voting bloc in America. They are projected to constitute 13.3 percent of the electorate in 2020, overtaking blacks at 12.4 percent. In the 2018 election, 90 percent of blacks voted for Democrats, compared to 69 percent of Latinos. But black voting patterns have the potential to significantly realign in the coming years, if not months, because there is a powerful and growing movement of black conservatives.

From well-established intellectual heavyweights such as Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell, to inspiring radio stars like Larry Elder, or charismatic newcomers like Candace Owens, there is a mainstream black conservative movement that threatens the electoral status quo. These mainstream personalities are joined by a powerful online assortment of black conservatives that, collectively, reach additional millions if not tens of millions of followers; people like Terrence Williams, Stacy Dash, David Harris, The Hodge Twins, Diamond & Silk, CJ Pearson, and hundreds of others.

Black conservatism is alive and well and on the rise. There is nothing even remotely comparable among America’s Latinos. Why? Why isn’t a growing movement of Latino conservatives threatening the electoral status quo?

Is the Latino Conservative Movement a Sleeping Giant?

The standard GOP consultant pitch for at least the past two decades has been “Latinos are natural conservatives. They are pro-life. They are pro-family. They work hard and start small businesses.” And perhaps that explains why the GOP can attract three times the percentage of Latino votes than black votes. But three times an insignificant slice is still a very small slice. When Latinos, so-called “natural conservatives,” are consistently voting by nearly a 3-to-1 margin for liberals, sanguine affirmations of their “natural conservative” inclinations are crushed by reality.

If conservative television media is nonexistent among Latinos, the online landscape is scarcely any better. 

Anthony Cabassa, a Marine veteran living in deep blue California is one of the few Latinos who, as an independent journalist and a Trump supporter, has acquired 15,200 followers on Twitter. When asked why more Latinos don’t support conservatives, he was unequivocal:

The Spanish language media narrative is leftist. For example, they have made the pandemic look like it is Trump’s fault, when the reality is the entire world is suffering now and no country is exempt. The problem with the Latino voters is that they are misinformed by the Spanish language media. A lot of the reporters have worked with the DNC and they don’t promote anything about conservatives.

Cabassa, who is the current chairman of the California chapter of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly, also described how the major Spanish-language media affiliates ignore them. “Univision and Telemundo have interviewed the Republican Hispanic Assembly but they have not aired any of those interviews,” he said. “Earlier this year we had over 500 conservative Hispanics in San Diego. They went down to cover the event but they never reported on it. They will not promote anything that suggests there are conservative organizations that are speaking truth about how this administration has helped Hispanics.”

When conservative perspectives are entirely absent from mainstream media, there is a downstream effect. 

“It is really easy to stick with Spanish, you have an option for Spanish everywhere,” Cabassa observed. “All the targeting ads are in Spanish. A lot of people speak English to get by, but when they want to listen they listen to news in Spanish.”

And when the news is invariably anti-Trump, pro-Biden, anti-conservative, and pro-liberal, even “natural conservatives” have no information or support that might enable a movement to blossom.

Even in today’s content-saturated media environment, it isn’t impossible to launch conservative television networks. One America News, an upstart cable network that offers in-depth national and international news with a perspective that’s more conservative than Fox, is an example of how a newcomer can emerge and reach critical mass in just a few years.

Launched in 2013, by May 2019, OAN claimed they were “ranked as the fourth-highest service in that genre, behind Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN. OAN outperformed CNN Headline News, Fox Business, CNBC, BBC World News, Fusion, Bloomberg and others.”

When reached for comment, OAN President Charles Herring said the network has “investigated business models for the launch of a Spanish version of OAN. Yet there’s no plan to launch a Spanish version at this time.”

Watching OAN is a welcome respite from the blatant propaganda on most television networks. Even Fox News often ignores important stories that OAN covers. For this reason, OAN is a threat, as seen by its establishment critics that span the mainstream ideological spectrum from the New York Times to National Review. But watch OAN, and make up your own mind. Then imagine the impact of a Spanish-language version of this sort of reporting and commentary.

Maybe America’s Latinos are “natural conservatives.” But until Spanish language media is no longer an ideologically monolithic mass of leftist propaganda, this potential will be unrealized.