Yesterday, Fox News “quietly” launched a new, bilingual website, FoxNewsLatino.com. “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,” explained the site’s editor, Alberto Vourvoulias-Bush. Though the site “won’t be refreshing the content every 10 seconds,” it will focus on “longer features and analyses of news of particular interest to Hispanics.”
However, the site also brings out Fox News’ sensitive side when it comes to the Latino community. While Fox News Latino does indeed provide coverage of the issues that Latinos care about (particularly immigration), the tone and angle of the stories written for its Latino audience differ remarkably from what the main Fox News website is telling its presumably mostly white viewers and readers.
For example, one of the more recent immigration articles featured on the Fox News main website is “Obama Is Our ‘Me First’ Point Guard, Especially On Immigration,” an opinion piece by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) which basically complains that the Obama administration isn’t deporting enough people. Smith’s writing didn’t make it to the Fox News Latino website, though I’m sure the Latino community is interested in what he has to say. However, “Record Number of Deportations in 2010” did.
Fox News Latino also prominently features a video of California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman’s (R) housekeeper, Nicky Diaz Santillan, telling her story in “Whitman Housekeeper Speaks Out.” However, the main site largely seeks to discredit Diaz Santillan’s accusations with Fox News host Greta Van Susteran writing “I still think Gloria Allred [Diaz Santillan’s lawyer] is wrong…” Other posts on Whitman featured on the main Fox News website that didn’t make it to Fox News Latino include “Whitman’s Woes: California Candidate Pushes Back” and “Whitman Camp Alleges Collaboration in Illegal Housekeeper Story.”
A major theme of Fox News Latino’s site that the Miami Herald observes is “whether the political controversy over immigration will mobilize Latin voters next month.” While the main Fox News website reports that “Latinos still strongly support Democrats,” an opinion piece on Fox News Latino tells a different story. In “Why Democrats Can’t Count on Us,” Galina Espinoza scolds Democrats for not passing immigration reform and indicates that it may result in “a cultural shift in political allegiance” amongst the Latino community towards Republicans. Another Fox News Latino exclusive, “A New Flavor for the Tea Party: Hispanic” further suggests that “although in the past Hispanics have overwhelmingly voted Democratic, the growth of the Tea Party movement has made voting patterns are more unpredictable this election cycle.” According to the author, Carolyn Salazar, “anecdotal evidence suggests that an increasing number of Hispanics are bolting both parties and joining the grass-roots [Tea Party] group.”
Aside from the Spanish-language content, there are also a few stories posted on Fox News Latino which have been conveniently left off of Fox News’ main site. “Latino Group Calls Louisiana Political Ad Offensive” and “Who’s Afraid of Spanglish?” are nowhere to be found on FoxNews.com. In the past, Fox News has reported quite extensively and largely in favor of the English-only movement.
Obviously, Fox News is a private news company and like all companies it must cater to the needs and interests of its consumers. However, if they were really as “fair and balanced” as they claim to be, I would expect a little more cross-over between Fox News Latino and the main website. Comments on several of the pieces indicate that even Fox News Latino readers are a bit baffled, if not outraged, by the news company’s pandering. One piece which did make it on both sites: “Aguilera y su esposo se separan,” or “Christina Aguilera separates from husband.”