The United States Needs More Conservative Opinion in Spanish
In recent years, the conservative media clout within the United States has risen markedly, at least in the English language. Fox News Channel (FNC) and radio talk show hosts dominate cable news and AM radio, and capable right-of-center bloggers stand on guard to debunk the latest spin dished out by the much-derided “mainstream media”.
However, there is a vacuum when it comes to Spanish language conservative media. The Hispanic market is predominantly ruled by a liberal agenda and sometimes an anti-American one. With a Hispanic population in the United States close to 40 million people, there is an urgent need to debunk the continuous spin of the left-wing media in Spanish within the United States.
Hispanics should not be written off as inevitably hewing to the liberal line. Consider that in 2000, Al Gore lost Florida and the election because of the Cuban vote in Florida. Hispanic support for Republicans rose from 21 percent in 1996, to 31 percent in 2000, to 42 percent in the 2004 presidential election. But in 2006 the Republicans did not hold their majority in Congress as Hispanic support for the GOP declined, in large part due to misrepresentations of conservative ideas (particularly regarding immigration) provided by the left-wing monopoly in Spanish media in the United States. However, even after the final results were tallied, 29 percent of Hispanics still voted Republican.
The Hispanic population is growing 3 times faster than the United States population as a whole. Their traditional values are very much linked to conservatism -- hard work, entrepreneurship, patriotism, traditional family values and strong roots in their religion. But the Republicans are handicapped in attracting these Hispanics because of the difficulty in getting real news and opinion in the Spanish language different from the liberal standpoint.
In 1979, Ronald Reagan wisely stated: “Hispanics are Republicans, they just don´t know it yet”. Almost 30 years later, it is key to expand the conservative base by building on segments and issues in the Hispanic community that do tend conservative.
What is wrongly called the GOP´s hard-line rethoric on immigration is often claimed to damage the GOP’s prospects among Huispanic voters. But it is no mere rethoric when conservatives ask to protect the borders and to defend the rule of law.
Actually, it is against the interest of Hispanics born in the United States and legal immigrants to have to compete against illegal immigrants. Hispanic conservative voters do not intrinsically need to feel alienated by calls to enforce the country’s law. On the contrary, they understand that only through a real conservative agenda for the United States will Hispanics have real opportunities for improving education, increasing homeownership and streamlining the issue of immigration.
None of this, however, is explained in the Spanish media in the United States. If one takes a careful look at the media outlets in the Spanish language in the United States, they are in general quite disappointing. In television, one can think of the news brought every day to the Hispanic households by “CNN en Español”, “TV Azteca”, “Telemundo”, “Univisión”… Like the mainstream media in English, these Spanish channels spin the news and are by no means friends of conservative ideas. Their target is always to stress the so-called anti-Hispanic mood in the Republican Party.
In radio, one can easily confirm the biased liberal media from many stations coming straight from Mexico and producing anti-American shows with anchors in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, and other affiliate stations across the United States. In the press, it does not take much to see the anti-Republican and anti-conservative positions of most of the newspapers in Spanish published in the United States. These are outlets of opinion clearly standing against American conservatism, even with op-eds full of hate against the Republican Party.
If the Latino Republican associations around the United States and other Hispanics within the GOP are serious about spreading their ideas and involving the Hispanic community, there is an immediate need to put real conservative news and opinion in the Spanish language on television, radio and the press. Just as Fox News Channel succeeded wildly by filling a niche that was neglected by the liberal media monoculture at the other cable news outlets, so there are opportunities for fair and balanced Spanish language news media in the American market
Until conservative voices are adequately represented in the Spanish language media, left-wing liberals and secular progressives will keep advancing their agenda amongst Hispanics, just as we saw happening in the 2006 election.
The scary thought is that it could happen again in the decisive presidential election in 2008. While creating associations to increase the number of Hispanic Republican officials is an important task, a strong conservative media clout in the Spanish language within the United States needs to emerge as soon as possible.
Alberto Acereda is a Professor at Arizona State University and a Member of the “North American Academy of the Spanish Language.” He is also the Director of the opinion journal “Diario de América – America´s Daily,” and a columnist for several newspapers in Europe and the United States.