What Is Fox News Latino? The Network's Shameless Ploy to Both Pander to and Demonize Hispanics
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The reputation of Fox News as a brazenly biased, right-wing, mouthpiece for the Republican Party and a conservative agenda is well-established. From their upper-management (Rupert Murdoch, Roger Ailes) to their frontline pundits, they have forged a network that has entirely abandoned any pretense of impartiality.
That well-honed partisan prejudice has proven to be useful in poisoning the political discourse. Fox News has exploited their audience to favor GOP candidates and sway perceptions of complex issues like health care, economics, and the environment. Amongst the most prominent of the issues that Fox has sought to distort is immigration. Their reporting is relentless in falsely portraying immigrants as shiftless lawbreakers who steal jobs from American citizens and drain the nation of scarce public resources.
Fox viewers are accustomed to stories about “illegals” swarming across the border to take up residency in the U.S. and sponge off of our prosperity. They are vilified as criminals and blamed for everything from disease to the recession. There is hardly a mention of immigrants on Fox that isn’t associated with drunkenness, joblessness, or drug cartels.
Lately, however, someone at Fox News has recognized a major flaw in their strategy to demonize immigrants, particularly Latinos. One of the fastest growing segments of the U.S. population happens to be legal Latinos who are either naturalized or natural-born citizens. The U.S. Census bureau reports that the Hispanic population grew at about four times the nation’s average growth rate between 2000 and 2010. The report notes that “the Hispanic population increased by 15.2 million between 2000 and 2010 and accounted for more than half of the total U.S. population increase of 27.3 million.”
The problem for Fox News, and their ideological benefactors, is that many are citizens who can vote and are registering in record numbers. This is particularly noticeable in states that are crucial for Republican electoral victories like Nevada, Arizona, and Florida. But the trend is evident in some measure throughout the country.
This situation poses a disconcerting problem for Fox. How do they maintain their editorial animosity toward immigrants without alienating an increasingly important voter group? The answer appears to be by developing news content specifically for this demographic and sequestering it from the rest of their viewership.
First to appear in this vein was the Fox News Latino web site. It is an English language adjunct to the Fox News site with content aimed directly at the Latino reader. However, the treatment of news events on Fox News Latino is markedly different from that on Fox News. Here are a few typical examples:
June 15, 2012: In response to President Obama’s announcement of a policy shift wherein certain young immigrants would be granted work permits rather than be deported, the Fox News Latino web site posted a story headlined, “Obama Administration Halts Deportations for Young Immigrants.” That’s a factually accurate description that treats the news in a neutral manner. The headline was accompanied by a sympathetic photo of a young Latina child draped with an American flag.
However, on Fox Nation they went with the headline “Obama Administration Bypasses Congress, To Give Immunity, Stop Deporting Younger Illegals.” In that short sentence they managed to imply impropriety on the part of the administration, infer the controversial subject of amnesty, and insult Latinos by employing the dehumanizing label of “illegals” (even though the people affected by this initiative did not break any law). The photo accompanying this article was of adult Latinos sitting up against a wall in handcuffs.
It is also notable that the Fox News Latino site posted the Associated Press article about the announcement in full. The Fox Nationalists posted only two paragraphs plus a video from Fox News of right-wing wacko Allen West expressing his outrage. This is further evidence that the Fox Nationalists want to avoid giving their dimwitted readers too much actual information, but prefer to throw up as much ultra-right-wing opinion as possible.