by Gelet Martínez Fragela
America’s increasingly powerful Spanish-language media outlets have largely ignored coverage of critical free speech issues, such as Twitter’s censorship of the New York Post ‘s investigation into Hunter Biden’s laptop, and in instead they have focused on stories that negatively expose Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter, according to an analysis of ADN America.
The Spanish-language press largely focuses on criticizing Musk, ignoring free speech issues
The Media Research Center (MRC), a conservative media watchdog group, released a report on Friday about how the Latino corporate press “openly ignores” Elon Musk’s release of censorship files through the journalist Matt Taibbi (and later by journalist Bari Weiss).
Univision , according to MRC, “ran the story on its morning and midday news editions and not in prime time, giving the real issue of Twitter censorship a scant 15 seconds framed” and only “within the frame of the Trump disorder syndrome.
A few days later, on Monday the 12th, despite the fifth delivery of information by Weiss, the powerful Spanish-language television networks continued to remain silent on their websites, according to a search by ADN América in the network’s public archive.
Instead, reports from San Francisco authorities investigating allegations that Musk set up dormitories at Twitter headquarters gained airtime on Latino networks, as did news that Musk momentarily lost his ranking as the man. richest in the world, added the media watchdog.
“If what is happening with the Twitter files were to portray Trump negatively, we would be covering him four times a day,” a prominent employee of the Telemundo network told ADN América on condition of anonymity.
“Not only do we not cover the Twitter Archives , we also don’t cover Hunter Biden’s laptop, it’s pathetic,” added the source who has worked for the Hispanic network for several years.
Surveys show great interest in the issues of censorship and freedom of expression despite the lack of coverage
In March 2022, a survey conducted by polling company YouGov revealed that a third of Americans felt that the media did not focus enough on Hunter Biden’s laptop.
While 33% of Americans had never heard of it, that number was significantly higher within the Hispanic community, with 43% of those surveyed admitting they had never heard of it, and 42% only hearing about it. “something” about it.
Of all Hispanics surveyed, only 15% said they had heard “a lot” about the Hunter Biden laptop story.
The most recent story appearing on Telemundo ‘s national website about the president’s son is a translation of NBC News from May 2022. That story focused on Hunter’s company rather than the laptop.
After that, the most recent articles date from 2020, according to the results generated in their search engine. The article talks about “the FBI investigating a possible foreign operation to discredit Biden before the elections”, without any correction or mention of the censorship of the New York Post by social networks.
“It is not yet known if the emails cited by the Post are authentic or have been manipulated,” reads the news published by Telemundo , which remains today without any correction or update.
Still, the network has devoted several articles to the issue of Spanish-language misinformation, especially in South Florida, citing mostly the concerns of Democratic political operatives, suggesting a bias to the left.
However, the silence of the Spanish-language media on the Twitter or Hunter Biden files is not an anomaly.
Other November Univision articles on Musk also revolve around the issue of whether Twitter will survive his purchase, and almost all of them cast a negative tone toward the Tesla CEO post-acquisition.
The media group’s most recent article on Twitter talks about a report on “possible resignations” after Musk emailed company employees saying their work would become “extremely hard.”
Despite this, Hispanics seem to have significant interest in stories about Twitter’s transparency.
Another YouGov survey found that only 5% of Hispanics surveyed in December 2022 believe that social media companies maintain transparent policies or share the processes they use to regulate and remove content, while 48% wish they did.
Even so, the Spanish-language media seem to be silent on this issue.
In another, more recent example, Miami’s El Nuevo Herald focused its coverage Monday on how Musk was booed at a David Chapelle performance for republishing a report from the EFE news agency, but forgot to highlight the debate on freedom of expression in the newspaper. public space.
A search by ADN America did not locate any articles referencing the Twitter archives despite the fact that journalist Bari Weiss published a new batch of information that same day, while several English-language media outlets covered the story.
In parallel, on Monday the 12th, similar soft news about David Chapelle was also published on CNN en Español.
The Dallas Morning News, Telemundo, The San Diego Union Tribune and Bloomberg en Español also reported on the show, distributed by EFE , but their Spanish-language services did not reveal any reports on the Twitter files.
Other major Hispanic outlets such as La Opinión from Los Angeles and El Nuevo Herald from Florida also did not return any search results on the topic of the Twitter Archives in their coverage.
Spanish – language CNN , which reports on the censorship of Hunter Biden’s laptop, also appears to be largely driven by so-called “Twitter Files,” without any significant prior coverage of the matter.
The negative tone regarding Musk and the lack of coverage of the Twitter Archives seem to extend even to more centrist sites, such as the Argentine digital publication Infobae , which maintains extensive coverage of events in the United States and has been in contention for several years. in the first places of the most widely read Spanish-language media worldwide.
On its Monday, December 12, cover, Infobae also covered the story of Musk being booed during Chapelle’s show, but ADN did not locate any mention of the Twitter Archives during a search of the site.
Political bias within the Hispanic media in the United States is not new.
In 2014, The Media Research Center conducted a four-month analysis of weekday evening newscasts broadcast by Univision and Telemundo, concluding that the networks’ national coverage was “dominated by leftist partisans” and that the main Hispanic networks displayed a clear liberal bias in their national news coverage.
The lack of coverage on the subject contrasts with the coverage given by outlets such as Fox News, the New York Post, and even centrist Washington publications such as The Hill.
Does media bias affect voting?
Citizen mistrust of the media and their perception of media bias have increased in recent years in many democratic nations, raising troubling questions about whether media bias could potentially impact outcomes. electoral.
According to a decade-long report from the National Bureau of Economic Research, more than 70% of Americans believe that there is a lot or a lot of bias in news coverage.
The bias tests range from the New York Times’ choice of topics to the choice of “think tanks” that the media refer to in their broadcasts.
The National Bureau of Economic Research writes:
“In The Fox News Effect: Media Bias and Voting (NBER Working Paper No. 12169 ) authors Stefano Della Vigna and Ethan Kaplan address this question by analyzing Fox News’ entry into cable markets and its subsequent impact on voting. Among In October 1996 and November 2000, the conservative channel Fox News entered cable programming in 20% of US cities Using election data from 9,256 cities, the authors investigate whether Republicans gained vote share in cities where Fox News entered the cable market in 2000.”
That study concluded that the introduction of Fox News had a small but statistically significant effect on the vote share in presidential elections between 1996 and 2000.
Republicans gained an estimated 0.4 to 0.7 percentage point in cities that carried Fox News and also found that the channel had a significant effect on Senate voter turnout and voter turnout.
Their estimates imply that Fox News convinced 3-8% of its viewers to vote Republican based on a first ratings measure, and 11-28% based on a more restrictive second ratings measure.
Nearly one million immigrants became US citizens in fiscal year 2022, the highest number in a decade and the third-highest annual tally in US history, despite Hispanics having to pass a citizenship test of English proficiency, according to a new report from US Citizenship and Immigration (USCIS).
Even so, the data suggests that the majority continue to consume media in Spanish.
“Much of the content Latinos are looking for is in Spanish, regardless of their ‘primary’ language. For example, in our spring 2021 national radio panel, we see that 74% of Hispanics who listen to Tejano music are fluent in English. , along with 40% of Latino Urban listeners, with 69% of Spanish Tropical Format listeners identifying as bilingual.Content in Spanish not only appeals to Spanish speakers.We see this phenomenon on television as well, where in 2021, a program in Spanish was in the top 10 of all streaming content for all audiences in any language,” explains a comprehensive study by Nielsen on Hispanic media.
According to the Nielsen report, only 17% of US Hispanic households speak only English, leaving most of the US political landscape in the hands of large Hispanic chains with a local presence in large Hispanic demographics such as California, Chicago, Miami, New York, Arizona, Texas, Georgia and others.
However, as MRC pointed out, the nightly newscasts broadcast by Univision and Telemundo showed that the networks’ national coverage was “dominated by partisans” from the left, with no conservative television targeting national Hispanics.
Local stations like America TeVé in Florida, which lean toward conservatism, particularly in their coverage of Cuba policy, remain an anomaly in the media ecosystem, while other independent online efforts still seem to lack penetration or cultural relevance among Hispanics nationwide.
– – –
Gelet Martínez Fragela is the founder and editor-in-chief of ADN America. She is a Cuban journalist, television producer, and political refugee who founded ADN Cuba.