Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Jeff Shapiro to discuss the evolving landscape of Hispanic-American news, politics, and the coming red wave.
Leahy: On a newsmaker line now, a very good friend, Jeff Shapiro, an executive with ADN America on the web at adnamerica.com. Jeff, good morning. Tell us, what is ADN America.com?
Shapiro: Hey, good morning, Michael. ADN America is a new site that is designed to appeal to Americans across the country but especially focuses on the political interest of Hispanic Americans.
We’re trying to sort of introducing conservative topics with a focus on what’s happening inside the United States for Hispanics from coast to coast.
Leahy: And the founder of ADN America has been on this program before. See if I pronounce her name correctly: Gelet Fragela. Is that correct?
Shapiro: That is correct. Gelet is the founder of ADM America and ADM Cuba. I actually met her when I was working in the Trump administration for the U.S. Office of Cuba Broadcasting, which is otherwise known as Radio y TV Marti. That’s a component of Voice of America that targets Cuba.
We were broadcasting news to Cuba to make sure that the people of Cuba got objective news from the free world. And it was running another site, which is ADN America’s sister site called ADN Cuba.
And she had so much success there. We started talking about turning that model into something that would appeal to not just Cuban Americans, but all Hispanic Americans here in the United States.
Leahy: What’s the right word? You’ve got certain editorial humor, I think, about you. Right. Because you find these interesting stories, and a lot of people who would say, well, even if they are not Hispanic or focused on that segment, can go to adnamerica.com and find interesting stories.
You always come up with interesting stuff, and you have a very broad area that you focus on: politics and crime, business, entertainment, sports, and then you go sort of state by state.
You also had technology, human rights. I mean, this is very robust. The states you focus on are Florida, California, Texas and New York. Tell us a little bit about your strategy there.
Shapiro: Sure. We’ve noticed that there’s a really major presence of Hispanics in those communities. We see a lot of that. We see a lot of it, obviously in Florida, Texas, California, New York.
There are also significant communities in New Jersey and Arizona, obviously also Nevada. These are obviously blossoming battleground areas.
I don’t think they should be battleground areas, but they’ve kind of become that over the last year. I do think that they’re going to become Republican red again pretty soon.
But these are areas across the country where we feel there’s a significant Hispanic presence. And in terms of our editorial tone, the Hispanic community does have a great sense of humor.
They love really interesting stories, and it’s a little more exciting. I learned that when I was working at Voice of America, that they really enjoy news with a bit of a flair.
And with my own background, having covered crime and some of the big sensational tabloid stories, everything from the JonBenét Ramsay case to the Michael Jackson case, the Kobe Bryant case, I’ve kind of realized how interesting true crime can be for people and how it really generates a lot of interest in other stories.
So we’ve kind of put together an interesting mesh of everything from the regular political news that you see coming out of stuff like Just the News, The Washington Times, to the crime and entertainment and more sensational stuff that kind of gets people excited.
Leahy: News with a bit of flair. That’s a very good description of some of the stories at adnamerica.com. Now, tell our listening audience why you came up with the name ADN America.
Shapiro: Sure. That’s the name that Gelet came up with, actually, because ADN in Spanish actually means DNA. And when she came up with ADN Cuba, she was talking about trying to tap into the figurative DNA of the Cuban people.
The pulse of the Cuban people, what they believe in, what they want, what they’re really about. And when we started talking about ADN America, one of the reasons that I liked that name for this project as well is because I’m a lawyer.
And when I was in law school, my favorite quote from a Supreme Court case was from Justice Scalia. He once said there was only one race in this country, and that race is American. So in a way, it sort of has a double meaning. We’re not just trying to tap into the feelings that people have in America, but it’s our belief that we’re all connected as Americans and that there’s something that’s bridging us no matter what race you are, no matter what your ethnicity or what your original national origin is, we’re all Americans. That’s something that connects us very deeply.
Leahy: A trend we’ve seen politically has been – and there’s been a lot of reporting on this, and there was an electoral event on Tuesday that seems to confirm this movement within the Hispanic community away from Democrats towards Republicans.
Mayra Flores won a special election in the 34th Congressional District of Texas that extends from just south of Austin down to the Rio Grande Valley and the border. That’s the first time somebody born in Mexico, I think, has won a race in Congress. She’s a Republican.
Do you see this trend of Hispanics moving away from Democrats towards Republicans? Do you see that around the country? Or is this just a one-off in Texas?
Shapiro: No, we’re seeing it in a lot of places. A lot of people don’t talk about this. But when you look at even what happened in South Florida in the last presidential race, right here where I’m from, right?
I mean, we gained 20 points in Democratic Miami Dade County, and that was because of the Cuban vote. Not just the Cuban vote, but you have folks who have come here because they left Venezuela, they left Nicaragua, and some of them are now leaving other countries that may not be Marxist dictatorships, but they’re really worried about what I call the pink tide.
There’s this pink tide of socialist candidates that are winning throughout the region. And one of the reasons for that is because you have countries like Russia and China that have such great media influence in those areas, and they’re outperforming the United States. They’re outperforming Voice of America. It’s very unfortunate, but there is a lot of far-left propaganda in the region.
And these people, they are so adamantly opposed to these ideologies. They’ve seen what’s happened to their country. They’ve seen what’s happened to the countries around them. That is the reason, I believe, that they’re actually voting Republican.
This is something that Gelet is really adamant about, too. She’s a Cuban political refugee who escaped to Costa Rica and then came to the United States. Everyone is upset about a lot of the things that Democrats are doing, but I think what upsets the Hispanic community the most is the similarities in the ideological nature of what they’re saying.
Their rhetoric reminds them so much of the socialists and the Marxists/Leninists back home that it really frightens them – and the reality, realizing now there really isn’t a Democratic Party left. There’s a far-left party, and there’s an American party, and they want to belong to the American party.
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Trump Supporters” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.