(Washington, DC) Today, the Media Research Center launched MRC Latino at a symposium co-sponsored by the American Principles Project’s Latino Partnership at the Newseum in Washington, DC. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) provided the opening remarks, followed by a panel discussion, “Conservatives and Latino Media: Assessing and Addressing the Challenges,” focused on strategies and tactics for successfully communicating the conservative message to audiences of U.S. Spanish-language television news.
“The launch of this new effort by the Media Research Center is good news for those who get their news and information from Spanish-language media,” said Alfonso Aguilar, Executive Director of the American Principles Project’s Latino Partnership. “Hispanic media need to be held to the same standards as English-language media. MRC Latino is a step towards this balance and accountability in Spanish-language media.”
At the symposium, MRC Latino Director Ken Oliver-Méndez presented the findings of the MRC’s first-ever analysis of the nightly news on Univision and Telemundo. The study covers four months from November 1, 2013 – February 28, 2014. Among the report’s findings:
- Out of 667 stories on U.S. domestic policy, more than six times as many tilted left/liberal (300 or 45%) as slanted in a right/conservative direction (43, or 6%). The remaining 324 stories (49%) presented a balanced or neutral discussion of U.S. policy.
- Overall, Democratic politicians, led by President Obama, Obama administration officials and congressional Democrats, along with spokespeople for left-leaning advocacy organizations, were quoted nearly three times as often as their Republican and conservative counterparts (1,011 to 370 appearances and/or direct quotations).
- The top three U.S. domestic policy topics covered by Univision and Telemundo newscasts were immigration law enforcement, immigration reform legislation in Congress and ObamaCare. The majority (170, or 59%) of Univision and Telemundo’s 288 stories on these three issues tilted left/liberal. Only 21 stories (7%) tilted towards the right/conservative.
- Despite ObamaCare’s problem-plagued rollout and controversial implementation, Univision and Telemundo reporting featured advocates of ObamaCare over its conservative opponents by a margin of nearly five-to-one (116-24).
- None of the Obama administration’s various scandals (the IRS targeting of conservative groups; Benghazi; etc.) were even once mentioned during this four-month study.
On the other hand:
- Unlike ABC, CBS and NBC, Univision and Telemundo provided heavy coverage of the unrest in Venezuela, and their coverage of Venezuela’s socialist government was decidedly critical. 39 of the stories about the situation in Venezuela favored anti-government protestors, while just one tilted in favor of the government. Soundbites heavily favored the opposition by a two-to-one margin (154 vs. 73).
“What we found is a pronounced leftward tilt in both networks’ reporting, particularly in coverage of U.S. domestic news,” said Oliver-Méndez. “As it stands now, Democratic, left-leaning sources consistently dominate the narrative in these networks’ coverage of domestic issues. On the international front, however, both networks did a better job of maintaining a critical or balanced stance, as is the journalistic norm.”
MRC President Brent Bozell is calling on conservatives to make a stronger effort to engage and make themselves available to Spanish-language networks with relevant and compelling content. “As of now, Telemundo and Univision are failing to live up to the most basic journalistic standard – report the news without a pervasive partisan slant,” Bozell said. “But have conservatives done enough to reach out the Latino media? The conservative movement needs to make a stronger effort to constructively engage with Spanish-language media, and the networks must allow all major sides of a debate to speak in news stories, not just voices that management and staff may sympathize with.”
MRC Latino will conduct ongoing analysis of these networks with the objectives of improving conservative participation in this segment of the media, while holding these outlets accountable to the same standards for accuracy and fairness expected of other major networks. In addition to using existing MRC platforms such as NewsBusters and CNSNews.com, MRC Latino content will be distributed through major social media channels in both English and Spanish.