Did a resolution honoring Hispanic media trigger a silent boycott among the GOP?

LatinaLista — Hispanic media is not only gaining in importance, but it’s also gaining attention.

Historically, in this country, Hispanic media has been used to refer to Spanish-language media. Yet, with the rise of news sites, like Latina Lista, that target English-speaking Latinos and the growing presence of bilingual and/or English-language cable programs featuring Latinos — think George Lopez — the proverbial face of Hispanic media is changing.

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So, when Sen. Reid decided to draft a resolution honoring Hispanic media, who would have thought it would have triggered a silent boycott among his GOP peers?

Yet, that’s exactly what appears to have happened and if so, then the depth of antagonism that the Republican party feels towards Latinos is unprecedented in this nation’s history.

This month, Sen. Reid resurrected a resolution designating the last week of October as “National Hispanic Media Month” in honor of Latino media.

As a matter of protocol, Sen. Reid’s office contacted three GOP Senators to see if one of them would co-sponsor the resolution. According to a source in Sen. Reid’s office, while at least one Republican Senator’s office agreed it was a good resolution and said they would do something; they did nothing.

According to the source, when Sen. Reid’s staff saw they were not getting any cooperation from any of the three GOPers they had approached, they sent the resolution to the Republican Cloakroom where there is a hotline system set up and calls are issued to the senators of that respective party telling their offices of the resolution and the need for a co-sponsor.

Well, calls from the Republican Cloakroom’s hotline went out to every Republican Senator’s office but didn’t seem to get very far. Sen. Reid’s office never heard back from any Republican Senator. So, without a Republican co-sponsor, the resolution was brought to the floor and passed on Tuesday night, Oct. 27.

The source said that Sen. Reid had wanted the resolution passed on Friday, Oct. 23, so that a full week could have been observed but because of the delaying tactics it wasn’t adopted until three days into the week.

Hearing this story, and coming from Texas, where Hispanic media rivals mainstream media, I couldn’t believe this was quite true. So, I called the offices of both senators from Texas — John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison.

At the time, I didn’t know that the job of finding a Republican co-sponsor had been turned over to the Republican Cloakroom hotline. So, I posed the same question to the press contacts of each senator: Was the Senator approached by Sen. Reid’s office to co-sponsor the Hispanic Media resolution and if so, why didn’t he/she do it? And if they were not approached, would they have co-sponsored it?

The press contacts at both offices were very nice and answered my questions.

The response from Sen. Cornyn’s office was:

Sen. Reid never reached out to Sen. Cornyn regarding this resolution. This is not out of the norm, either. Sen. Reid has made little or no effort to work with Sen. Cornyn on any of the pressing issues before Congress – most notably health care reform.
Sen. Cornyn has high regard for the members of the Hispanic media and frequently does interviews with outlets such as Univision and Telemundo, as well as Hispanic newspapers in Texas. He and his staff regularly issue releases and columns in both Spanish and English to Hispanic media outlets, and we enjoy a positive and productive working relationship with the Hispanic media.

Sen. Hutchison’s office responded:

I checked around my office, and we were not approached about Reid’s resolution. However, I would point you to a resolution of which Sen. Hutchison was recently a cosponsor along with Sen. Menendez. It was in recognition of Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 being Hispanic Heritage Month.

In response to what both Senators’ offices told me, I asked Sen. Reid’s office about it. The answer from a Senate Leadership aide was:

Every Republican office was contacted through the standard procedures for resolutions of this type. No one was left out. And there was plenty of time for every office to respond.”

So, I went back to the office of Sen. Cornyn. The press contact wrote me in no uncertain terms:

None of our staff was contacted by Sen. Reid’s office regarding this resolution.

Yet, if the hotline was the one doing the calling then technically, no, Sen. Reid’s office didn’t contact Sen. Cornyn’s office and I will give the benefit of the doubt that perhaps the press office was out of the loop when the call came in from the Republican Cloakroom hotline — for both offices.

The only way to see for sure if the calls went out is to call the Republican Cloakroom and either ask or do a Freedom of Information request to see if the calls went out and when and to whom.

But at this late hour of the day, I have to look at the facts which lead me to believe that the last thing Republican Senators wanted to do was co-sponsor a resolution honoring Hispanic media which they perceive as being hostile towards them.

I base this assumption not only on the fact that not one Republican Senator voluntarily took the initiative to sign on to a resolution that was known to be looking for a co-sponsor, via the Republican Cloakroom hotline, but because of the avoidance of the second part of my question: Would they have co-sponsored the resolution?

Silence speaks volumes.

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2 Comments

  1. David O. Garcia said:

    Your description of the events shows why the Senate is the way it is. The replies from the two senators from Texas remind of the common defense, “I’m not a racist, why some of my best friends are (insert race here). What a disgrace.

  2. cookie said:

    Why the constant whining for recognition? We already have an entire month devoted to Hispanic Heritage. Why in the world does Hispanic Media need an entire month of recognition also? We have no Anglo Media month nor any Anglo Heritage month and I don’t hear any whining from anglos about it.
    Our congressmen have enough on their plates to deal with these days without having to deal with petty issues.

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