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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

One Hispanic News Source Defends "Don't Vote" Ad -- Meet Fox News Latino

Yesterday, I wrote about the Republicans' never-ending search for people to hate. About a month and a half back, it was all about hating the Muslims. This started to get a little out of hand, so undocumented immigrants became the new group to hate -- a frequent target earlier this year. But this is starting to cost them voters, so now they seem to be in search of a new scapegoat. Without an internal US enemy, Republicans find it difficult to operate.

For now, the target is still illegal aliens. And, since this is costing them voters in the Latino community, they've come up with what might be the most painfully obvious voter suppression scheme ever devised -- beg Hispanic voters not to vote.

That's the English version of an ad that was scheduled to run on the Spanish-language cable network Univision, until the network refused it.

"Univision will not be running any spots from Latinos for Reform related to voting," a Univision spokesperson told Think Progress. "It is also important to clarify that while Mr. Robert de Posada has on occasion provided political commentary on Univision, representing one of various points of views, he is not in any way affiliated with Univision. Univision prides itself on promoting civic engagement and our extensive national campaigns encourage Hispanics to vote."

The ad campaign, sponsored by what is basically a GOP front group, is all but dead. But it's not dying without doing some damage on the way out. Latinos for Reform President Robert Deposada, a Univision pundit and a GOP op, says he's trying to "figure out what options we have."

One option is the brand-spanking new Fox News Latino, a website devoted to delivering Fox's brand of BS with a Latin twist. Launched just this month, FNL is designed with "engaging the fastest growing minority audience" in mind.

"We're aiming at Latinos whose first language is English, who inform themselves in English, who are deeply American, but share some of the cultural sensibilities of their parents or grandparents," the site's managing editor, Alberto Vourvoulias-Bush said at the time.

So, while the rest of the media is treating the ad as an incredibly transparent attempt to keep Latino voters -- only 22% of whom support Republicans -- from limiting the GOP's gains in November and while Latino groups attack it as the attempted disempowerment it obviously is, Fox News Latino asks whether refusing the ad was a "Political Ploy or Censorship?" It's like asking, "Does he really beat his wife or is he just such an out-of-control alcoholic that you just assume he does?" I believe this is a form of "Hobson's choice" -- in this case, you get to decide for yourself why it's bad. Kind of like when Fox Non-Latino host Sean Hannity asked attorney Stanley Cohen, "Is it you hate this president or that you hate America?"

It's no surprise which side Deposada chooses. "All we wanted was to not let people take us for granted. Over and over, we elect these people and they don’t do anything for us," Deposada told FNL. "What Univision is doing is censorship." It pays to point out that the Latino vote used to be a conservative block, but things like the widespread GOP support for Arizona's "papers please" law drove them all away. If comprehensive immigration reform isn't happening, it's because it would be a doomed endeavor from the git-go -- Republicans have gone too insane on the issue to allow anything meaningful to pass. And having Latino voters stay home on election day wouldn't really be helping that cause any.

So how long will Fox News Latino last? If Glenn Beck is any indication, forever. Fox isn't in this to make money, they're in this to be the press office of the GOP. Beck's show is bleeding advertisers and, at this point, it'd be a joke to call it a money-making enterprise. FNL won't fail, because it won't be allowed to. It exists to take a demographic the GOP has lost and turn them back to the party, using Fox's time-tested brand of stilted coverage, unfair attacks, and outright lies.

In short, it doesn't serve the public interest any better than any other Fox News franchise.


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