The L.A. Times is reporting that the executives at Telemundo KVEA Channel 52 are close to deciding the fate of Mirthala Salinas as an anchor on their station. I think that they should just go ahead and fire her. She has lost her credibility to fairly represent herself and the stories that she reports. Her success, until this point, is something of an anomaly. She started reporting the news in 1993 when she was about 21 in for a Phoenix Univision affiliate. How many Latinas that young are reporting the news without a college degree?
To her credit, she managed to climb the ranks and participated in newscasts that won local Emmy’s, and she earned a Golden Mike in 2004 for her reports on the California wildfires. All of this is great, but I’m skeptical about the local news in America in any language. If you watch the local news reporters in LA, you will understand where I’m coming from. Most all of the women are thin, very well styled, and flash those mega watt smiles as they deliver the local news. The lines between entertainment and reporting the news are blurred. A classic example is Lauren Sanchez on KCOP and KTTV, another Latina college dropout, who is attractive but usually lacking in substance, complete with fake boobies and a football player baby daddy to boot.
When Ms. Salinas chose to pursue a friendly (romantic) relationship with Mayor Villaraigosa, she should have stepped back from reporting on any matter related to him. To me, this is the most obvious conflict of interest. Why even create a suggestion of impropriety? It reflects poorly on all of the parties involved. Now the public can rightfully question any official business where Ms. Salinas was a guest of the mayor, and the viewers of Telemundo cannot be sure that there is a degree of objectivity with anything that Ms. Salinas has reported in regards to the mayor’s office. For someone who has been in journalism as long as she has, she should have a clear understanding of why reporters keep a distance from their sources.
By the same token, this Telemundo station is also at fault if, in fact, they had knowledge of the extent of this relationship for over a year. The viewers of this station deserve better. Another issue is whether the Telemundo management knew about the other relationships Ms. Salinas had with Fabian Núñez and Alex Padilla and the degree that any of her reporting extended to these other two politicians.
It is awful when anyone is fired, but in this case, I think Mirthala Salinas should be let go, or she should resign and move on. I would like to see her go back to school and finish that degree. Of course, you can become successful without one, but maybe she will pay closer attention in the ethical journalism courses. She could become a role model for people who end up in similar situations and eventually triumph. We need more educated Latinas, and we definitely need more Latinas who overcome obstacles.
If Telemundo won’t say it, then I will do “The Donald” and say it here, “You’re fired Mirthala.”
While we are on this topic, a colleague of mine wanted to contribute this piece, which is fitting given the subject of this post:
I witnessed the Mayor at his best, when he spoke at the Los Angeles Convention Center during the Latin Business Association conference in October of 2005. During his speech he strung together JFK and RFK phases and applied them to current scenarios then challenging his administration. He varied the tones of his words and infused emotional drama to close off his sentences. What a professional orator I thought. The mayor was so inspiring I was instantly charmed and felt a bit of pride that finally a Latino politician with substance, identity, and intelligence had emerged onto the local scene. He made everyone else sitting on that platform look like mourners at a funeral; everyone except the attractive brunette sitting next to him on his left.
When his speech ended and the applause resounded through the room, I witnessed a large group of females joined by four males rush the platform to take his picture. As the Mayor smiled and basked in the limelight, I looked over at the attractive brunette still sitting in her chair on the platform through the telephoto lens on my camera. She was definitely not his wife, although she was also young enough to be his daughter. When the Mayor finished with his groupies and sat right back down next to her, it was obvious to me she wasn’t his daughter either.
As a man, I understand these things. Certain women can instantly relocate our brains from that cerebral mass located above our shoulders to that other head directly below the belt line hidden underneath several layers of fabric. But did he forget his name is Antonio Villaraigosa? Or will it become Tony Villard now? Did he forget about the double standards practiced by the media? Did he forget only WASP Republican politicians can have extramarital affairs, steal billions of taxpayer dollars, and send tens of thousands of minority boys to die in a foreign country and not get crucified by the media, or impeached by their buddies in Congress, State Assemblies, and local governments? What happened to Governor Villaraigosa? Senator Villaraigosa…did all those dreams come crashing down because of an unethical journalist who historically takes her panties off for up and coming Latino politicians?
Well…there’s always Gloria Molina to admire.