Miami – There is growing concern about the evolving disconnect between Spanish-speaking news and the Black Lives Matter movement. This is sparking a clash of ideological face-offs and friction that’s reverberating throughout both communities.
In September, Carinés A. Moncada, Spanish radio host, and NBC Telemundo 51 journalist made a shocking allegation. She said the founders of Black Lives Matter (BLM) practice “brujería” (witchcraft). She added that Biden supporters are upholding the “devil.” Both comments were designed to shape the perceptions of BLM and potential voters, putting multiple communities at odds.
Moncada claimed her source to be News Punch, a website that analyzes conspiracy theories. Moncada later circulated those opinions on social media.
During her show, Moncada insinuated that BLM and Biden’s campaign are “vibrating with the devil. They are vibrating with negativity. They are vibrating with the dark. And whoever votes for [Joe] Biden, unfortunately, is supporting that.”
In September, Radio Caracol apologized after broadcasting a segment of paid programming targeting Biden and BLM supporters. The show also skewered members of the Jewish community. Shortly after, El Nuevo Herald, the Spanish counterpart to The Miami Herald, released an apology to its readers.
On September 11, readers found a paid insert called “Libre,” in their El Nuevo Herald newspaper. The pamphlet contained a controversial headline, “American Jews and Israeli Jews.” The author claimed American Jews were endorsing Black Lives Matter’ “thieves and arsonists.” The author compared Black Lives Matter protesters to Nazis. Eventually, the Miami Herald announced its editors did not review the leaflet prior to publication. The paper said it would be suspending its relationship with Libre.
Additionally, a trend is growing in Latino communities around how false information and news generates. Initially, it’s spread online before being shared on WhatsApp. WhatsApp is exceedingly popular among Latino immigrants, who share information locally and abroad.
In Florida, information with suspicious origins eventually reaches Miami’s media market, spreading quickly among Spanish-language news outlets. Often, the sources are unconfirmed. As a matter of course, these stories end up on sites run by disreputable right-wing commentators. Sometimes, the conspiracies, such as QAnon, land on race-baiting, anonymously-authored websites.
At first glance, the significance of these incidents may not seem clear. But, consider that NBC Telemundo Enterprises and Univision Communications are the two largest Spanish-language media syndicates in the country. These two conglomerates are the primary source of information for millions of Latino households throughout the United States.
Moncada has over 40,000 followers on her social media accounts alone, including within South Florida’s mainstream broadcast media. This behemoth of propaganda pits Democrats and other progressives against the false news being fed to Latino voters.
These events escalated as Trump’s presidential ticket gained traction in the Florida polls. Consequently, this triggered concerns that the false news releases would hurt Joe Biden’s chances in the upcoming election. In Miami, there is ongoing reason for concern according to Democratic party strategists. Biden is polling poorly within the important Cuban-American population, while Trump’s numbers continue to rise.
There is genuine concern over how this faux-news contributes to a variety of issues facing African-Americans and the Latinx/Hispanic community. Police violence against Black Americans and public protests reflect bias in Spanish-speaking broadcasts by Telemundo and Univision.
News surrounding Black Lives Matter seems to emphasize the distance between the two communities of color. Some reports even use racist language, painting protestors as “unsafe” and anti-American. Will negative coverage in the Latino community perpetuate an anti-Black narrative?
Thumbnail Credit: The Bretts