Study: Spanish Language Television Leans Left

Image: Study: Spanish Language Television Leans Left Hillary Clinton and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, right, attend a roundtable discussion held by Univision on Feb. 4, 2014, in New York City.

Tuesday, 01 Apr 2014 09:52 AM

By Melissa Clyne

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Spanish language evening newscasts, watched by 3 million viewers each night, are overwhelmingly slanted to the left, according to a new study by the Media Research Center.

The four-month study, from Nov. 1, 2013, to Feb. 28, 2014, scrutinized nearly 1,000 U.S. and international issue-oriented stories on Univision and Telemundo – the two dominant Spanish language stations in the United States. It found "a marked leftward tilt in both networks’ news coverage, particularly in reporting U.S. domestic policy news, with Democratic, left-leaning sources overwhelmingly dominating U.S. coverage."

"Our first examination shows America’s top Spanish-language news networks are failing to fully live up to their journalistic vocation when they let their domestic news content be dominated by partisans on one side of the ideological spectrum," according to the study.

Stories on U.S domestic policy were six times more likely to have a left-wing spin, quoting Democratic politicians and liberal advocacy groups such as La Raza three times as often as their conservative counterparts, according to the report.

Researchers drew their conclusions by categorizing all statements from journalists that expressed an obvious liberal or conservative viewpoint. If neither, the story was classified as "neutral" or "balanced."

No Obama administration scandals, such as Benghazi or the IRS targeting of conservative groups, were mentioned during any of the 1,000 newscasts, while immigration law enforcement, immigration reform legislation, and Obamacare dominated the domestic policy stories covered. When covering those issues, the stories leaned left 59 percent of the time and leaned right just 7 percent.

The networks were "decidedly critical" when covering Venezuela, airing 39 stories sympathetic to anti-government protesters and just one favoring the socialist government, according to the Media Research Center.

Coverage of the Roman Catholic Church was also mostly positive, according to the research results, with 52 percent of the stories favoring the church, 31 percent neutral, and 17 percent negative. Pro-Catholic sources outnumbered critics in the coverage by a 3-to-1  margin.

Hispanics compose 16.9 percent of the U.S. population, according to U.S. Census figures. And the number is growing.

Israel Ortega, a blogger for the Heritage Foundation’s The Foundry, says that conservatives need not expend energy and resources on whining about the "well-known" liberal bias but instead "heed the recommendation of the Media Research Center’s study and engage with Hispanic media to better inform news reports and stories before they are disseminated."

"Given the rising influence of Hispanics in shaping politics and public policy, it would be perilous for conservatives to ignore Hispanic media," Ortega said.

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