Nation's Largest Hispanic Journalist Group Drops Fox News Sponsorship

Aug 23, 2019
Originally published on August 23, 2019 11:19 am

The nation's largest organization of Hispanic journalists is cutting ties with Fox News over what the group says is the network's spreading of misinformation about unauthorized immigrants, and by extension Hispanics.

The move will cost the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) some money since Fox was signed up to be a sponsor of their upcoming conference.

The group published a letter to its members Thursday saying it will return more than $16,000 donated by Fox News to sponsor its upcoming conference in San Antonio.

"To accept financial support from an entity that perpetuates the spread of disinformation to the public about the Hispanic and Latino community risks the integrity and credibility of NAHJ's 35 year mission," wrote Hugo Balta, the association's president.

Balta, a senior producer at MSNBC, said his group has been in contact with Fox's management to complain about what he and others consider to be anti-immigrant rhetoric, such as when pundits on the conservative network talk about a U.S. "invasion" of migrants from Mexico and Central America.

He said those concerns were met with expressions of "regret" and nothing more.

A recent remark made by Fox News Radio host Todd Starnes prompted Balta to say enough is enough.

"Starnes likened migrants coming to the United States to Nazi Germany invading western Europe. That's the straw that broke the camel's back for me and NAHJ," he said in an interview with NPR.

Balta said Starnes' comments came less than two weeks after the mass shooting in El Paso, where a gunman killed 22 people after publishing a manifesto citing a "Hispanic invasion of Texas."

Fox has become a megaphone for disinformation, Balta said.

"There's something wrong at Fox News and the reason why it's rampant is because there are no consequences," he added.

Marsheila Hayes, Fox News' vice president of diversity and inclusion, said in a statement: "It is unfortunate that NAHJ has chosen to exclude Fox News from their upcoming convention."

"As the leading news network in the country, we are committed to fostering a diverse and collaborative workplace environment, and have been recognized in the industry for our advancement in this area," she added.

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The nation's leading organization of Hispanic journalists is cutting its ties with Fox News over what the group says is the network's spreading of misinformation about immigrants and, by extension, Hispanics. This move will cost the organization some money since Fox was signed up to be a sponsor of their upcoming conference. Here's more from NPR's Richard Gonzales.

RICHARD GONZALES, BYLINE: The National Association of Hispanic Journalists, or NAHJ, issued a statement Thursday saying it will return to Fox News more than $16,000 donated by the network to sponsor its upcoming conference in San Antonio. The association's president, Hugo Balta, said his group has been in contact with Fox's management to complain about what he considers to be anti-immigrant rhetoric, like when pundits on the conservative network talk about an invasion. But a recent remark made by Fox News radio host Todd Starnes caused Balta to say enough is enough.

HUGO BALTA: Starnes likened migrants coming to the United States to Nazi Germany invading Western Europe. That's the straw that broke the camel's back for me and NAHJ.

GONZALES: Balta says Starnes' comments came less than two weeks after the mass shooting in El Paso, where a gunman killed 22 people after publishing a manifesto citing a Hispanic invasion of Texas. Fox has become a megaphone for disinformation, says Balta.

BALTA: There's something wrong at Fox News. And the reason why it's rampant is because there are no consequences.

GONZALES: In a statement, a spokeswoman for Fox News said, quote, "it is unfortunate that NAHJ has chosen to exclude Fox News from their upcoming convention." And she added, quote, "as the leading news network in the country, we are committed to fostering a diverse and collaborative workplace environment, and have been recognized in the industry for our advancement in this area."

Richard Gonzales, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF HAROLD LOPEZ-NUSSA'S "EL VIAJE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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