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Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Columns & Features > Guest Voz > Guest Voz: Mass Media Expert Explains the Impact of Political Campaign Spots on Latinos

Guest Voz: Mass Media Expert Explains the Impact of Political Campaign Spots on Latinos

LatinaLista — Dr. Federico Subervi, a professor at the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Texas State University-San Marcos, is well-known for his research into mass media and their impact on ethnic minorities. He is the director of the Latinos and Media Project and is the author of the recently published academic title “The Mass Media and Latino Politics.”

Dr. Federico Subervi
Dr. Subervi’s recent research sheds light on how big a role media plays in the political participation rates of Latinos and how both political parties tailor their messages to reach Latino audiences.

Latinos have received significant attention during the 2008 presidential campaign. Democratic and Republican contenders have made numerous efforts to persuade Latinos to vote for them, while issues of importance to many Latinos—e.g., immigration reform, anti-immigrant bashing, and Free Trade agreements—have had center stage in the political campaign rhetoric.
Latino leaders have been courted to advocate for presidential candidates, Hispanic barrios and events have been visited for rallies and delivering speeches, Latinos have been asked for campaign contributions, and media spots have been produced in Spanish and English specifically targeting Latinos.
None of this is new, except that it started much earlier than in previous campaigns.

Also distinct this year is the intensity of the media-centered strategies to woo Latinos.
The primary season, still in process for Democrats, has already tallied millions of dollars of Latino-oriented media expenditures, surpassing any previous efforts directed to Latinos. Other distinctions have been the availability of Latino candidates and their surrogates to appear on Spanish-language media during the primaries, and the extensive sections that the various candidates’ web sites have dedicated Latinos and Latino issues.
No survey research to date has attributed the increased participation of Latinos in the primaries to the media and outreach efforts.
However, it is quite evident that Latinos have been mobilized, participating and voting in this campaign much more than in previous primary seasons.
Another reason for this mobilization and participation is Latinos’ reaction to the recurrent news and negative rhetoric by extremist politicians and pundits that directly or indirectly have painted “illegal” immigration and even Latinos in general as potential threats to homeland security, jobs, morality, etc.
While general market English-language media were contributing to fanning the flames of fear and insecurity, Spanish-language/Latino-oriented news and some entertainment media were informing and mobilizing their Latino audiences to take agency on these matters.
It remains to be seen if Latinos will be courted more intensely when the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees begin in earnest the campaign against each other. I predict that will happen, especially if the race gets real tight.
I also predict that the GOP’s Latino-oriented media efforts will be compassionate (promoting the American Dream, patriotism, and pro-immigration reform), but hard-line (increased homeland security, victory in Iraq, anti-illegal immigration) when directed to non-Latinos.
For the Democrats, there will be many common themes for Latinos and non-Latinos, but which ones will depend on who is the nominee.

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Comment(9)

  • Avatar
    Frank
    April 25, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    Latino this, latino that. Is that all latinos can think about is their ethnicity? Why can’t they just think of themselves as Americans? All issues pertain to all Americans, not just latinos.

  • Avatar
    Horace
    April 27, 2008 at 6:13 am

    Frank, don’t let it bother you, as it isn’t worth it. I am amazed, however, that a common language would be the only thing that’s universal to an ethnic group. Common language is such a weak basis for a relationship. After all, being a Latino means that you could be a Negro (clinical term), caucasians, Amer-indians, Asians, etc. They don’t even all eat the same food or dress alike, so being Latino is not really being any different from the anyone else in the world. It amazes me that they make an issue of it themselves. It’s an artifical characterization.

  • Avatar
    miguel
    April 27, 2008 at 8:22 pm

    Frank, don’t let it bother you, as it isn’t worth it. I am amazed, however, that a common language would be the only thing that’s universal to an ethnic group. Common language is such a weak basis for a relationship. After all, being a Latino means that you could be a Negro (clinical term), caucasians, Amer-indians, Asians, etc. They don’t even all eat the same food or dress alike, so being Latino is not really being any different from the anyone else in the world. It amazes me that they make an issue of it themselves. It’s an artifical characterization.
    Just two white guys showing their roots. Does not need more clarification. The fact we bleed the same color, or die for the same flag, escapes the ignorant.

  • Avatar
    laura
    April 27, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    This is a quote from a piece written by attorney César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, published in “Z” magazine. I am quoting it here for all Latina/os who think Bill and Hillary Clinton support the Latina/o community. The opposite is true: they are happy to sell us out at a moment’s notice if they think it advances their political capital. This is about the immigration law signed by Bill Clinton in 1996.
    “In 1996 a Republican-controlled Congress combined with a Democratic president to pass the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRAIRA) (…) IIRAIRA contained three provisions that gave state and local police agencies the authority to perform some immigration functions. One clause lets the Attorney General enter into agreements with state and local law enforcement agencies to allow the state and local police to be trained by federal immigration officials to investigate, apprehend, and detain non-citizens suspected of being deportable. A second provision gives the Attorney General the power to waive the training requirement of the first provision if a “mass influx” of immigrants requires an immediate response. The last of the three clauses bans states from withholding information about an individual’s immigration status from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE—at the time, the INS).
    The legal situation worsened for immigrants in 2002 when John Ashcroft, then Attorney General, issued a legally binding opinion that, in his interpretation, state and local law enforcement officials have the inherent power to arrest anyone they perceive to be deportable. In recent months city officials from Danbury, Connecticut to Waukegan, Illinois have relied on these previously obscure provisions to convert their city police officers into the equivalent of part-time Border Patrol agents.
    The Waukegan City Council last summer agreed to have ICE train police officers to initiate deportations. According to the New York Times, the city’s agreement with ICE is limited to deportation of convicted felons. Still, the city’s immigrant community is frightened. Immigrants now hesitate to report crimes and some people, including citizens with undocumented family members, have left the city for the anonymity of nearby Chicago. ”
    I repeat: this law came from Bill Clinton in 1996.
    Just as fast as the Clintons are dropping black voters since South Carolina, they will drop Latina/o voters when they think it benefits them. In fact, they did it 12 years ago.
    (They did it 14 years ago with NAFTA.)
    Beware Clinton voters!

  • Avatar
    laura
    April 27, 2008 at 8:35 pm

    Truth from the mouth of babes! Horace: “After all, being a Latino means that you could be a Negro (clinical term), caucasians, Amer-indians, Asians, etc. They don’t even all eat the same food or dress alike, so being Latino is not really being any different from the anyone else in the world.” Horace my friend, you don’t even know how correct you are!

  • Avatar
    for Frank and Horace
    April 27, 2008 at 9:36 pm

    Why arent you two complaing about black people then? They have the NAACP and other cultural organizations. Or how about Asians then?
    Oh wait, majority of black people are citizens…well guess you can’t complain about them to much now can you. Asians are in such low numbers nationaly I guess to your line of thinking they are not a threat.
    But Latinos…well, that is another matter now isnt it.
    You two characters and your views come right out of a comic book, it would be funny if it wasnt so pathetic.

  • Avatar
    Frank
    April 28, 2008 at 7:51 am

    What part of “this is about illegal immigration” don’t the lot of you get?

  • Avatar
    laura
    April 28, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    Dear Marisa,
    Roberto Lovato has an excellent post about May 1 marches.
    As a citizen, I do not fear deportation for marching on May 1 for the rights of all migrants and all working people in this country. I don’t expect the undocumented members of our communities to come out in the present climate of terror waged against them. So I know the marches may be small.
    But I want to make a statement with my physical presence. With taking the time off to be there to say, Stop the Terror against Migrants!
    Maybe you’ll be there too.
    Thank you Marisa.

  • Avatar
    Frank
    April 28, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    laura, so you are saying by enforcing our immigration laws it equates to terror against “migrants”. What part of they broke our immigration laws, don’t you understand? In any criminal situation should we not go after the criminals because it would create terror for them? Surely you jest! It doesn’t matter why the criminal breaks laws. There is not excuse! Illegal aliens are afforded basic human rights and that is all they should be entitled to.

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