President’s Hispanic Pastors Roundtable Gets Zero Coverage on Latino TV Nets

January 31st, 2019 5:03 PM

In one of the more blatant cases of bias by omission in memory, the nation’s leading Spanish-language newscasts blacked out any mention of President Trump’s recent roundtable with a group of Hispanic pastors from all over the country.

It wasn’t that long ago that these media outlets would carry virtually anything having to do with a group of pastors or religious leaders calling, say, for comprehensive immigration reform, or supporting executive orders such as DACA or DAPA. But things sure changed once Donald Trump entered the White House.

Watch the roundtable's opening exchange, as President Trump praises the group and turns to Pastor Ramiro Peña, who proceeds to present the President with a letter of support from 150 Hispanic Evangelical leaders:



PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: These are just tremendous people. Many have been my friends for a long period of time, and I thought we'd go around the table and say a few words and that'll be great. Let's start with Pastor, please.

PASTOR RAMIRO PEÑA: Sure. Mr. President, thank you for having us here today. I have a letter to present to you from 150 Hispanic evangelical leaders simply saying an expression of gratitude for your good-faith efforts to work with Democrats and try to get everyone to the table to get things moving again. You've done a very good job in being the leader we need you to be in extending a hand to them to come to the table and we want to say thank you for doing that and we want to say thank you for doing everything you can to get aid in a humanitarian way for this crisis where it's needed most, securing our borders and providing for law enforcement and the Border Patrol everything they need, all the tools and resources that are needed. One thing you have not done, Mr. President, is manufacture a humanitarian crisis. It's real and although many people began to declare repeatedly that this is a 'manufactured' crisis, being a pastor from Texas, I can tell you the human suffering that's been going on for many decades has hit a fever pitch, and I'm grateful that you have shown leadership to recognize it, to call it out and to actually do something about it.

One of the few media outlets to cover the gathering was The Washington Times, which summed up the event in its opening paragraph:

President Trump hosted a meeting at the White House on Friday with Hispanic pastors from around the nation who are attuned to the realities of illegal immigration in their cities. They clearly supported Mr. Trump’s proposals on the issue. The representative clergy in attendance, in fact, brought a letter signed by 150 Hispanic evangelical leaders thanking the President for his leadership.

“We’re here to support you, Mr. President. You know, there’s misconception in the public, thinking that our community is for illegal immigration. There’s a misconception also that we want open borders. And dealing with people every single day, I see that our community supports what you’re doing. We don’t want open borders,” Guillermo Maldonado, pastor of King Jesus Ministry in Miami, told the President.

“That misconception that Spanish people want open borders, they want no laws, that’s not true. We’re here to support you, and what you’re doing is great. The lowest unemployment for Spanish people — 4 percent — that’s incredible. We pray for you,” said Mr. Maldonado.

The blackout of the White House gathering of Hispanic pastors is grotesquely hypocritical, given the national Spanish-language media’s propensity to cover practically any and every immigration-related event, no matter how sparsely attended. Telemundo and Univision routinely cover, magnify and give airtime to the same "four cats" so long as they are on what they consider the “right” side of an issue.

In this case, though, we have Hispanic Evangelical leaders expressing support for the concept of border security, which is totally counternarrative and therefore dangerous.

The fact is that coverage of the views of the Hispanic Evangelical community, which continues to grow, is seriously deficient. When given, the coverage tends to be either derogatory or dismissive. Recall Univision senior anchor Jorge Ramos’ telling characterization of Hispanic Trump voters, in a November 2018 interview with Spain’s El Intermedio:



There are people that feel totally identified with this country, that believe the same things that Donald Trump believes. If you vote for someone, you partially resemble that. And also that, among Latinos, there are very conservative values that are commonly held with the Republican Party, President Trump’s party. The...the religious issue, the importance of family, the abortion issue. This explains, in part, why one out of three Hispanics votes for Donald Trump and is so conservative.

The “religious issue” is, ultimately, why no national Spanish-language newscast saw fit to cover this meeting. It was neither convenient nor conducive to these networks' preferred narrative regarding border security, any border security, as a racist construct.