LatinaLista — Hispanic Heritage Month kicks off this week and people will celebrate how far Latinos have come, the strides that have been made, the progress, etc.
But when it comes to the issue of equality, it is an area where we keep running around the same track and just can’t seem to get ahead.
Finally, there’s documentation at just how unequal the game is for Latinos, and it’s not because we don’t want to play. Rather, it’s because we’re not getting picked.
There’s no clearer picture of this inequality than when it comes to syndicated columnists in print newspapers.
Today, Media Matters released an interesting study called Black and White and Re(a)d All Over: The Conservative Advantage in Syndicated Op-ed Columns.
Basically, the study said that today’s newspapers overwhelmingly use conservative columnists.
No surprise there, but what was disappointing to see was that from the long drop-down list of syndicated columnists only 10 were Latino/a. Of those 10 only 2 — Ruben Navarrette and Kathryn Jean Lopez appeared in over 100 newspapers respectively.
The others ranged from being in as little as 4 newspapers to 28.
Why does this matter? Well, like the report says:
Syndicated newspaper columnists have a unique ability to influence public opinion and the national debate. And whether examining only the top columnists or the entire group, large papers or small, the data presented in this report make clear that conservative syndicated columnists enjoy a clear advantage over their progressive counterparts.
In fact among the most successful Latino columnists (in that they appear in more newspapers than the rest), all 3 of them are conservative, and what’s interesting to note – the only conservatives of the bunch.
The rest are a mix of progressives and centrists. The only other columnist that comes close to the top 3 is Maria Elena Salinas. Her column is picked up by 27 newspapers and is labeled as a centrist.
What this study shows is that newspapers, even those that publish mainly progressive columnists, aren’t giving voice to the Latino perspective.
And if this is the case, it’s no wonder that the anti-Hispanic, undocumented immigrant rhetoric is as rampant as it is across this country.
Without showcasing a balance of opinion, how can newspapers claim to play a role in keeping our democracy alive when they’re practicing the most fundamental breach of that trust?