What does it mean to be Latino in America? CNN tries to explore this question in a two-part four-hour documentary hosted by Soledad O’Brian.
First, it’s problematic to lump people from diverse countries with diverse backgrounds into a singular category labeled ‘Latino’ for the purpose of a four-hour documentary. Second, it’s far more problematic to label the United States as ‘America.’ This entire continent is America but glossing over this fact just shows our arrogance as a country. Both these facts can be ignored for the interest of good journalism.
What cannot be ignored is that the channel producing the documentary continues to harbor the infamous pretend-journalist Lou Dobbs who has perpetuated myths that demonize Latinos, accusing them of causing 7000 cases of leprosy, and gone as far as to muse whether President Barack Obama is an undocumented immigrant. Besides Faux News, CNN is one of the last places to go for accurate information on ‘Latinos’ so the new documentary series presents itself as a public relations ploy and opportunity to profit at the expense of real journalism.
And CNN has done a pathetic job when it comes to ‘real journalism.’ Hate crimes against Latinos soared by 40 percent from 2003 to 2007, which is a conservative estimate but reporting of these cases has remained stagnant with CNN casting a blind-eye to cases such as Brisenia Flores while giving space to Dobbs to perpetuate hate. When asked to air an ad exposing Dobbs to balance the series, CNN refused the $16000 in ad revenue, inviting more negative attention from the Basta Dobbs Campaign, organizing against Lou Dobbs in over 18 cities. Then, CNN refused to run an ad critical of the insurance industry at a time when 34% of Hispanics do not have health insurance in the United States, the largest ethnic group without health coverage.
Can the channel really have any credibility to do a ‘Latino in America’ while it does injustice to issues concerning Latinos?
I don’t think so. And I won’t be watching ‘Latino in America.’
(Picture Credit: SPLC)