Webmaster’s Note: The following is a guest blog post by Luis Alvarado expressing his thoughts on the Spanish language media’s response to President Obama not showing up to last week’s NALEO conference. I’m not particularly surprised by the lack of coverage of this snub especially by La Opinion (ImpreMedia) since Monica Lozano, the paper’s publisher, sits on the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board. Additionally, President Obama has already calculated how far he can “push” the Latino community, and when it comes down to making decisions at the voting booth, I’m not sure that attendance at this conference will make much of a difference. Therefore, I don’t think that the Spanish language media thought this was a big deal to its audience.
Last Week one of the most respected Latino organization in the US, (NALEO) National Organization of Elected Officials and Appointed Officers held their annual convention in San Antonio Texas. In 2008, NALEO invited then Presidential Candidate Sen. Barack Obama to speak, and Obama addressed NALEO promising to return and address the members if he became President. This year President Obama was invited to attend and once again has declined. Juan Zapata, President of the Education Fund of NALEO said on Univision’s show “Al Punto con Jorge Ramos” that the first year he did not show was understandable, the second year was also understood and now on the third year his absence is clearly disrespectful.
The media picked up the tensions between NALEO and Obama, and soon there was media frenzy. I wanted to see how the Spanish-Speaking media were characterizing this riff, so I Google’d “Obama+NALEO” and found over 350 articles under the News tab. Surprisingly very few Spanish-speaking articles were written on the story. ImpreMedia, which claims to be the leading Hispanic News and Information Company in the U.S. in Online and Print, did not write on the riff at NALEO, they just talked about the importance of the Latino vote. Not a peep on the repeated request to address the convention.
As the 2012 election enters into full swing, there is no question that Spanish-speaking media will once again play a large roll in how candidates communicate with the Latino voter, Latinos will be heavily courted and campaigns will spend fortunes to win their vote. During the 2008 Presidential race, there was a love fest between the media and Obama’s presidential campaign, even more evident with the Spanish-speaking media, which has demonstrated great resistance to calling the President out on his record or lack of participation with the Latino Community. Hence why I conclude the subject did not receive any ink on any of the ImpreMedia periodicals.
Another motive to understand this behavior is that of economics. On the last election cycle unions and Democratic candidates spent millions of dollars attacking Republicans and painting them as anti-Latinos, thus enraging Latinos in hopes of punishing Republicans and raising voter turnout. Feeding a captive audience with the anti-Latino strategy has propelled Democrats to public offices in heavy Latino districts as well as increased profits to Spanish-speaking media corporations. Introducing an anti-Latino message against Obama dilutes the formula and both Democrats and Spanish-speaking media lose out. In the end, ImpreMedia‘s silence on the main issues that mater for Latinos to understand and participate in the political process is deafeningly silent, my hope is that Latinos soon learn to use new information media and join mainstream America in how they select their candidates.