Newsweek - Memo to the Media: Elite ‘Latinxs’ Don’t Speak for Hispanics | Opinion
Sep 27, 2022
When it comes to covering "Hispanic issues," the mainstream media has a routine that goes something like this: An event happens, often immigration related. Journalists then turn to the Hispanics they know: fellow liberals in the media or political elites. They then present those far-Left takes to the America people as the sentiment of "the Latino community." Rinse. Repeat.
This is how you end up with "Latinx" in headline after headline—though only two percent of Hispanic Americans describe themselves that way. This is how you end up in a state of open-mouthed shock when former President Trump gets nearly 40 percent of Latino voters—after the media told us day in and day out that he was the epitome of white supremacy. This is how you end up missing where the Hispanic community is at again and again and again.
You would think that the Acela corridor's media establishment would have revisited their fact-finding tactics following the Republican Party's gains with Hispanics. Instead, national pundits can't seem to help resorting to the same failed approach.
You can see it playing out currently in real time in the coverage of the 50 Venezuelan migrants that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis transported to Martha's Vineyard last week. The media is once again in "Consult the Latinx" mode, braying about the inhumanity of DeSantis "trafficking" the migrants, suggesting the move will cost DeSantis his re-election, and talking of the popular Florida governor getting "decimated" And they're doing all of this while a Morning Consult Poll released this week showed a plurality of Hispanics describe what DeSantis did as "appropriate," even if some have moral qualms with it.
As the head of one of the country's leading center-right Hispanic non-profits, I do not claim to speak for all Latinos. But the numbers don't lie. Hispanic Americans have nuanced views on immigration that do not fit neatly into partisan liberal narratives.
There is little evidence that the Martha's Vineyard affair has hurt DeSantis or the GOP politically. Consider a survey taken entirely after the episode by Democratic polling firm Civiqs, that found DeSantis with a 7-point lead statewide in his re-election, gaining on both former President Trump's 2020 performance with Hispanics as well as DeSantis's own in 2018.
Meanwhile, here in Texas, a Dallas Morning News Poll shows Gov. Greg Abbott, who has also bused migrants to sanctuary cities, within three points of Democrat Beto O'Rourke among Latinos. And in Nevada, Republican Senate hopeful Adam Laxalt, who had been bashed as "anti-immigrant" by liberal groups, holds an 8-point an 8-point lead over Catherine Cortez Masto among mostly Mexican American Hispanics.
What can we make of this disconnect, and why does the media continue misreading Hispanic voters?
Much of it can be attributed to a widening class division that plagues our politics. Who do the journalism industry's overwhelmingly liberal and college-educated political reporters turn to for insights on Hispanics? Their elite peers, such as Univision's unabashedly liberal-leaning Jorge Ramos and The View's supposedly Republican Ana Navarro.
Ramos and Navarro may both come from humble backgrounds, but they left our barrios decades ago and now live in Miami's wealthiest suburb. Felicidades to them on their success in America, but they are hardly representative of the overwhelming majority of Hispanic Americans, who happen to be working-class.
It is very easy to be indifferent toward broken borders from the comfort of estates in Coral Gables; it's far harder to virtue signal from Eagle Pass.
As a first-generation American and lifelong Texan, our country's border crisis is deeply personal to me. My abuelos still live in Mexico and regularly have migrants passing through their homes on their way to the United States. Every day, we hear horror stories—ones that rarely work their way into mainstream national discussions—of unspeakable crimes perpetrated both against and by undocumented migrants who were drawn to our country by a weak border policy that is fueled by misguided progressive altruism.
Talk to workers in heavily Hispanic, blue-collar communities like my hometown of Midland, TX or Hialeah, FL, and you will find politically diverse groups of Latinos who share some common views rooted in a sophisticated understanding of immigration policies: We all have sympathy for migrants, but there are also very serious concerns with over-population, limited resources, and public safety. And yes, we are also deeply frustrated with the failure of both parties to secure the border and fix our dysfunctional immigration system.
Our nuances may not make for great headlines, but journalists who parrot the reliably liberal talking points of their elite "Latinx" amigos are doing a disservice to Hispanics. If you want to know what Hispanic Americans think about DeSantis, immigration, and the state of our nation, why not just ask?
Abraham Enriquez is the Founder and President of Bienvenido US, an organization dedicated to mobilizing, enhancing, and empowering Hispanics to promote the principles of individual liberty and sound policy.