CLEVELAND — Voters watching coverage of the Republican National Convention’s first night saw Melania Trump’s speech, a fight over party rules and withering attacks against Hillary Clinton. But those who got their news from Spanish-language newspapers and television saw a party equating illegal immigrants to criminals and terrorists.
Hispanic voters are playing an increasingly important role in elections, but the view they get of American politics is often markedly different from what the average viewer of CNN or reader of USA Today might see.
Immigration is a dominant focus on Spanish-language television networks, on the radio and in the newspapers, and the overwhelming viewpoint is that illegal immigrants deserve legal status. So when the convention kicked off Monday with speeches from parents whose children were killed by illegal immigrants, the Spanish-language press gave it prominent, and negative, billing.
“You can imagine how it’s playing,” said one immigrant rights activist.
La Opinion, a daily in Southern California, editorialized that it was evidence the Republican Party has no respect for Hispanics. By placing the immigration speeches on the same night as speeches about Benghazi, it said, Republicans were equating immigration and terrorism.
Univision, the largest Spanish-language television network in the U.S., played the speeches straight — but devoted an entire story to them.
Two-thirds of Hispanics get at least some of their news in Spanish, a 2013 Pew Research study found. Although some reporters win praise for evenhandedness, the Spanish-language press overall tends more toward advocacy journalism than does the English-language media.
“It tends to be immigration-centric,” said Alfonso Aguilar, president of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles.
Whether the coverage shapes Hispanics’ views or reflects attitudes already held, the Spanish-language coverage leans decidedly against the Republican Party, and there is little question how their consumers see presidential nominee Donald Trump.
By Stephen Dinan for The Washington Times
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