Hadas Gold, Politico, March 31, 2014
The main U.S. Spanish-language nightly news programs skew liberal on domestic issues and spent most of their air times in the past few months covering the new health care law, immigration reform and immigration law enforcement, the conservative-leaning media watchdog group Media Research Center found in a new study.
Ken Oliver-Méndez, director of MRC’s new Spanish-language watchdog group, MRC Latino, said in an interview that of the newscasts on Noticiero Univision and Noticiero Telemundo from November through February, 45 percent of stories on U.S. domestic policy issues tilted liberal, 49 percent were balanced or neutral and 6 percent skewed conservative.
According to the study, Univision’s stories tilted left 50 percent of the time, were balanced 43 percent and were perceived as conservative 7 percent of the time, while Telemundo’s stories tilted left 54 percent of the time, were balanced 40 percent of the time and tilted conservative 5 percent of the time.
The study also found that Democratic surrogates and liberal-leaning groups were featured on both networks more frequently than Republicans or conservative groups, but the group also faulted conservatives for not reaching out more to Latino media.
MRC Latino took particular issue with both Univision and Telemundo’s participation in encouraging Obamacare sign-ups, especially a joint a town hall the networks held last month featuring President Barack Obama.
“Self-respecting media outlets and journalists are careful to avoid being used as pawns of public relations or publicity campaigns, by either public or private-sector entities,” the study said. “Yet this is what largely appears to have happened at Univision and Telemundo in their coverage of ObamaCare.”
The study found that Univision and Telemundo featured liberal advocates of Obamacare in 116 stories versus the law’s conservative opponents in 24 stories.
On the topic of immigration reform, the study found Democratic politicians and “spokespeople aligned with left-leaning pro-reform organizations” appeared more than twice as often as Republicans and conservatives.
The study is part of the launch of MRC’s new Spanish-language media watch group MRC Latino, which is officially launching on Tuesday. Oliver-Méndez and MRC President Brent Bozell said they hope the study and MRC Latino will lead to more conservative voices in Spanish-language media and that they plan to meet with executives at the two networks to discuss the study.
“It’s going to be outreach that we’re going to do to hopefully sit down with some of the major players in the Latino media, go through these findings and try to see if we can have a constructive dialogue,” Bozell said. “I don’t believe in any suggestion that liberals shouldn’t have their world view presented, but a, conservatives need to have equal footing. And b, you can’t use your network to actively promote a political agenda.”
The study was a content analysis of 989 stories on of Noticiero Univision and Noticiero Telemundo from Nov. 1, 2013 through Feb. 28, 2014. The conservative or liberal orientation of politicians, advocates and organizations cited were counted, and the prevailing “tilt” of a story was determined “by tallying all statements from journalists and quoted sources that articulated either a recognizably liberal or conservative point of view on a given subject.”