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Trump, not Spanish-language media, made it about immigration

Felicia Persaud | 7/28/2016, 10:38 a.m.
At a time when the entire United States is looking on at the clear lack of diversity in the Republican ...
Donald Trump speaks at the Republican National Convention on July 18, 2016. Adam Rose/CNN photo

At a time when the entire United States is looking on at the clear lack of diversity in the Republican Party—not even the handful of Blacks and Latinos brought out to save face at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, could help—the conservative Washington Times has decided to attack Spanish-language media.

July 21, 2016, the paper, considered as rightwing as Fox TV, published an article with the headline, “Spanish-language media’s ‘immigration-centric’ coverage casts convention in negative light.”

The article came just three days after the convention opened July 18, with calls from many speakers, including African-American Jamiel Shaw Sr., for a wall to keep out immigrants at the southern border. Speaker after speaker used the opportunity to slam illegal immigration and immigrants, with some even blurring the lines between terrorists and immigrants.

To say it was overt nativism was undeniable.

A significant portion of the evening was dedicated to the “victims of illegal immigrants,” featuring grieving speeches from people whose children were killed by undocumented immigrants. They praised Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and platform.

Sabine Durden, whose son was killed by a drunk driver, reiterated a frequent Trumpism: that if it weren’t for him, no one would be discussing immigration and proposing to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Then there is legendary former Notre Dame football coach and ESPN commentator Lou Holtz, who spoke at the Republican National Coalition for Life, and according to reporter Betsy Woodruff, did not bother couching his beliefs about immigration policy in the language of border security or potential downward pressure on low-skilled wages.

Instead, Holtz reportedly stated bluntly, “I don’t want to become you. I don’t want to speak your language, I don’t want to celebrate your holidays. I sure as hell don’t want to cheer for your soccer team!”

And, of course, Thursday night, along came the attacks from Trump himself, the man who once withheld medical care from his own great-nephew.

Right at the beginning Trump began his attacks on immigrants. “Nearly 180,000 illegal immigrants with criminal records, ordered deported from our country, are tonight roaming free to threaten peaceful citizens,” he stated.

He continued, “The number of new illegal immigrant families who have crossed the border so far this year already exceeds the entire total from 2015. They are being released by the tens of thousands into our communities with no regard for the impact on public safety or resources.”

None of these statements are true, but that did not stop the immigrant attacks from coming.

“We must immediately suspend immigration from any nation that has been compromised by terrorism until such time as proven vetting mechanisms have been put in place,” he said.

And then came the pièce de résistance, the red meat thrown to the rabid dogs: “We are going to build a great border wall to stop illegal immigration, to stop the gangs and the violence, and to stop the drugs from pouring into our communities.”

Thunderous applause followed.

So if Spanish-language television networks, radio and newspapers reported these remarks, then they were reporting the facts on the main issues of concern to their immigrant audience.

The Washington Times’ sudden decision to call this reporting biased is certainly as hypocritical as the GOP saying it’s for diversity but then increasing the vitriol of its verbal attacks on immigrants and dismissing Black Lives Matter as a terror group.

Even Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Sen. Rand Paul and top Republicans such as Mitt Romney, Mia Love and the Bushes—none of whom attended the convention—agree that talk about banning all Muslim immigrants from entering the country, building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico and claiming Mexicans are rapists and criminals is completely racist and insane and does nothing to bridge the divide.

So if anyone has put themselves in a bad light with immigrants, it’s the anointed nominee, the majority of the party and its base, not Spanish-language media.

The Washington Times would be best served to look in its own lily white mirror before it starts throwing stones and make a note that the majority of Americans will soon be Brown and Black and all shades in between. Who will it blame then?

The writer is CMO of Hard Beat Communications, which owns the brands News Americas Now, CaribPR Wire and Invest Caribbean Now.