LETTER for the Record: House Committee on Energy and Commerce Hearing, "Fanning The Flames: Disinformation And Extremism In The Media"

[vc_row][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_video link="https://youtu.be/MVrZm6fltrM?t=8734"][vc_column_text]


February 23, 2021


Hon. Mike Doyle
Subcommittee on Communications and Technology
U.S. House of Representatives
270 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515


Hon. Robert E. Latta
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Communications and Technology
U.S. House of Representatives
2467 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515


Dear Chairman Doyle, Ranking Member Latta, and the Members of the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, 


My name is Brenda Victoria Castillo, and I have the honor of serving as President and CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC). NHMC is a 35 year old civil rights organization founded to combat hate targeting the Latinx community in the media. I strongly believe that the ways in which Latinx are portrayed, characterized, and reported on have a direct effect on the ways in which we are treated in this world. Hate in the media–all forms of media–leads to hate in real life. 


In 2018, four in ten Latinx experienced disrimination in the last year, such as being criticized for speaking Spanish or being told to go back to their home country. Hate crimes targeting Latinx are at an all time high, and have been steadily increasing since 2016. While dehumanization and discrimination against Latinx has starkly risen in recent years due to the influence of Donald Trump, hate and violence targeting the Latinx community is not a new phenomenon in this country. 


For centuries Latinx have been murdered at the hands of white supremacy. In 1857, 40 Mexican American Ox Cart drivers were murdered by racist white Texans. In 1877, a mob of 100 white men captured five Mexican men in Bakersfield, California, held a mock trial, and hung them. In 1915, Texas Rangers slaughtered dozens of Latinx in what is known as La Mantanza.  In 1931, nearly 1.8 million people were targets of a campaign to force relocation of Latinx, marked by the Raid at La Placita. The list of these historical events of violence, which are largely unknown and not included in history curriculums, go on and on. 


Most recently, a white supremacist drove across the state of Texas, from Dallas to El Paso, to open fire in a Walmart, hoping to kill “as many Mexicans as possible” to stop the “invasion”. Where did this motivation to mass murder come from? We know that Donald Trump took out over 2,000 ads calling for the end of the “invasion” on Facebook. However, we also now know that in 2019 alone, Fox News made over 70 on-air references to an invasion of migrants, aired at least 55 clips of Trump calling the surge of migrants an invasion, made 24 references to an invasion on Fox & Friends, Fox & Friends First, and Fox & Friends Weekend, combined, and allowed four Republican Members of Congress to spew invasion rhetoric on their new platform.  In El Paso on August 3, 2019, white supremacy, armed with radicalization by the far-right media, massacred 23 people, injured dozens more, and scarred an entire community with hate. 


Fox News is not the sole keeper of this issue, but it is perhaps the most far-reaching. With constant dehumanization, discriminatory, and racist rhetoric in their programming, it is massively upsetting that Fox News has retained its five year long position as the most watched basic cable network, and had its highest ratings ever in 2020. Other “news” networks like Newsmax, One America News Network (OANN), and networks owned by known far-right messenger, the Sinclair Broadcasting Group, are on the rise as they join in on anti-Latinx and anti-immigrant programming. 


It is unnerving that a broadcaster might be fined by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for airing the F-word on primetime, but face little to no consequences when airing hate and extremism that enables white supremacy, spreads false information, helps incite an insurrection, and ultimately takes lives. Media is one of the most powerful institutions of influence in this country, and until the media is held accountable for the role it plays in the dissemination of hate and violence, equity and justice will remain out of reach for the Latinx community. 


Yours in the Movement,


Brenda Victoria Castillo
President & CEO
National Hispanic Media Coalition


[nd_options_spacer nd_options_height="30"]

[vc_separator][vc_column_text]PDF Version[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]To learn more, visit: https://energycommerce.house.gov/committee-activity/hearings/hearing-on-fanning-the-flames-disinformation-and-extremism-in-the-media[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_facebook][vc_tweetmeme][/vc_column][/vc_row]

National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) is a woman-led 501(c)(3) non-profit civil and human rights organization that was founded to eliminate hate, discrimination, and racism toward the Latino communities.
© 2024 National Hispanic Media Coalition // communications@nhmc.org // o. (626) 792-6462
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram