The fact that the traditional media has a strong bias in favor of liberal and Democrat positions and causes to the detriment of the GOP, conservatism, and the nation is so well established that the media, themselves, recognize it. The Media Research Center has extensively documented members of the media making candid admissions of this fact.
More than a matter of opinion and anecdote, bias in the newsroom has been documented in scholarly publications. Back in 2005, economists Tim Groseclose and Jeffrey Milyo published a study in the Quarterly Journal of Economics titled A Measure of Media Bias. What they demonstrated is that bias is pervasive on the news pages of major media.
The range of SQs that Groseclose and Milyo calculated was shocking. The most liberally biased news outlet proved to be the Wall Street Journal (its news pages, that is, not its conservative editorial and opinion pages). … Of the rest of the mainstream media, only Fox News (with an SQ of about 42) and the Washington Times (with an SQ of about 40) registered below the midpoint and both outlets are way more liberal in their reporting than the average Republican, whose PQ is less than 20. The Drudge Report, although regarded as troglodytic by progressives, has an SQ of around that is, its reporting is about as centrist as the average American voter these days.
Such findings comport with other studies of newsroom homogeneity. An October 2008 survey of 62 contributors and editors at the online magazine Slate, for example, revealed that of those who planned to vote for the two major-party candidates, 98.2 percent (that is, 55 out of 56) said that they were voting for Barack Obama rather than John McCain. A 2004 survey by PoliticalMoneyLine (now CQ MoneyLine) found that the ratio of journalists who donated to John Kerry’s presidential campaign over those who donated to George W. Bush’s campaign was 93:1. That suggests, as Groseclose points out, that the average newsroom is not only far more liberal than the American electorate which favored Obama by 53 percent in 2008 and Bush by 51 percent in 2004 but also more liberal than Ted Kennedy. Even such stereotypically liberal enclaves as Berkeley, California, and Cambridge, Massachusetts, proved to be less liberal in their 2008 presidential votes than an average newsroom. Voters in those cities gave McCain 10 percent and 14 percent of their votes, respectively. Groseclose writes that “if you read a newspaper article or watch a television news clip, then almost surely it will have been written or produced by a liberal.”
While the bias in English language newsrooms is pervasive, the bias in Spanish language outlets seems to be institutionalized and consciously directed at silencing a party (the GOP) and a philosophy (conservatism) rather than merely slanting news coverage.
On Friday, an RNC press secretary Ali Pardo sent a very basic pitch with the GOP perspective on the sorry March employment report to the Spanish language media company Entravision. Entravision owns many media properties but significantly is the largest US owner of Univision television stations. In short, their media operation acts as something of a gatekeeper for most of Univision. The press release Ms. Pardo sent is the basic meat and potatoes of public relations. It was rejected:
What makes this rejection so notable is two things. First, the person who received it felt obligated to send an email rejecting it. Second, they gave their real reason for rejecting it. In the couple of decades I’ve spent pitching stories I’ve been rejected thousands of times but I’ve never been rejected in writing. What this points to is a culture within Entravision that is so hyper-partisan that the communications efforts of one of the two major US political parties was rejected out of hand AND the staffer felt so comfortable doing so that they felt obligated to email Ms. Pardo about what they had done.
Lest you think this is an anomaly, it isn’t. A recent study by the MRC documented that on Univision there were 7 liberal leaning stories for every conservative one and on Telemundo the balance was nearly 11 to 1.
As Senator Marco Rubio noted last week, both Univision and Telemundo had taken an active role in supporting Obamacare becoming, in fact, a surrogate for the White House in fluffing that failed program.
Sen. Marco Rubio on Wednesday decried how Spanish media have become what he called “all-out advocates” for the Affordable Care Act.
“Both of the major Spanish language networks, but Univision in particular, have basically become all-out advocates for Obamacare, trying to get people signed up,” the Florida Republican said on the Hugh Hewitt radio show. “I mean, if ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, anybody were doing that, I mean, there would just be an extraordinary amount of criticism.”
Entravision was asked to supply a comment addressing what instructions communications staff were given in handling press releases, who had the authority to reject a release, and whether the company had a policy that rejected GOP communications out of hand. They responded:
Entravision is committed to providing news and information on the issues that are most important to the local communities that we serve. Entravision has a policy and long history of working with both major political parties, and the company welcomes and encourages the efforts of all parties to reach and engage with the Latino community.
The Univision vice president of corporate communications, Monica Talan, asserted that this was a problem with Entravision and she would be shocked, shocked if such a thing happened at Univision:
As you state in your note the email communication was with an employee of Entravision, a separate and independent Company from Univision. I would be happy to connect you with someone there to discuss its company’s policies. Please note that Entravision has no involvement in any news or editorial content produced by Univision. As it relates to Univision, we are commitment to providing access to all points of views and information so that our audiences can make informed decisions, regardless of their political views or affiliations. We have an open invitation to elected officials and representatives from all sides to address our community on issues of importance and relevance.
One wonders if Ms. Talan simply doesn’t recognize the way in which her organization detests Republicans and conservatives. For instance, when Senator Marco Rubio was selected to give the first bilingual response to a State of the Union Address, one of Ms. Talan’s colleagues, weighed in with invective so extreme that even the Washington Post noticed:
As the Herald reports, Angelica Artiles, an executive assistant to Univision Vice President of News Daniel Coronell, wrote, “Oh. wow, the loser is going to speak after our President. Anything to get publicity. Ask him to do us a favor and stay home that night.” Those comments and others were posted on the Facebook page of Rubio aide Alex Burgos. Though the offending comments are no longer on the page, they sparked what appears to have been an unenlightening Facebook discussion of high news value, one that included further anti-Rubio aspersions from Artiles. Sample this description from the Herald:
She then used a diminutive term for Rubio’s first name, “Marquito,” and proceeded to compare him to a Disney dwarf, a “token slave boy” and a “fool” who was passed over by Republican Mitt Romney on his presidential ticket last November.
The Miami Herald gives context that the Post omits”
“I see that all the mojoncitos [‘little turds’] have come out to defend the principal turd, Marquito,” she wrote in Spanish. “I am laughing all the way to the White House :).”
Carlos Curbelo, a Republican Miami-Dade School Board member, joined the fray. Curbelo said he didn’t realize Angelica worked for Univisión until the day after the fact, when he confirmed her employment.
“ Qué chusmería,” Curbelo wrote Wednesday night, which roughly translates to something like “what riffraff.”
Artiles: “Curbelo, the riffraff might be you. I haven’t said anything ‘riffraffy.’ Wake up and join the Democratic Party unless you want to remain losers all your lives.”
Curbelo: “I think it’s riffraff to call ‘losers’ people who disagree with you on political matters. Your tone is deplorable and it’s that same tone that keeps our elected officials from agreeing to take on great challenges that threaten the viability of our country. Lastly, even more riffraff is the use of the word ‘little turds’ to refer to professionals and parents who are expressing their opinions.”
Artiles: “Curbelo, losers are the ones who lost the elections, this is what is called freedom of expression. We are all professionals and being parents is nothing out of this world, nor because of that does one stop being a little turd. And Marquito only wants to talk about immigration NOW because he lost. I know well all his lies and his vanity.”
Needless to say, Ms. Artiles is still employed by Univision.
As Hispanics make up a larger percentage of the voting population this semi-official decision by Univision and Telemundo, and by media companies such as Entravision to act us an active arm of the Democrat party has grave implications for the American political system.
Daniel Garza (@Danielgarza) executive director at the LIBRE Initiative says:
All voices in the community are legitimate – but for some time now, Spanish-language media outlets have raised the profile of some over others and toed a party line, instead of covering the battle of ideas on issues of importance to Latinos.
News organizations live and die by their credibility. Many are discovering that once they lose the trust of their audience, it can be impossible to get it back. If Spanish-language media continues to ignore a huge part of their audience, it will show up before long in the bottom line.”
Ali Pardo, whose misadventure with an Entravision staffer highlighted the problem agrees:
“Conservative viewpoints are continuously being dismissed by Spanish language news and this is a real cause for concern because Hispanic audiences are being denied the information they need to make informed decisions. Objective and balanced coverage must include diversity of thought.”
Note: because this post concerns an issue larger than the actions of one media company, Univision, Entravision, and Telemundo were all given the the chance to respond. Only Univision accepted the offer.