If you were part of the news industry and your employer continuously bashed your community, how would that make you feel and what would you do about it? For many Latinx journalists working in media today, that feeling of confusion, frustration, sadness, and anger is all too real. We are trained, however, to remain subjective and do the job at hand despite whatever emotions we may have. But one Latinx news organization is saying enough is enough. The National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) stated yesterday they no longer want Fox News as a sponsor at their annual convention and they’re giving back their money.
In a commanding letter, the President National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Hugo Balta, stated that they have conversed with Fox News for years about their words when discussing the Latinx community. Balta said they have continuously demonized Hispanics by publicizing ” voices with high visibility due to there being little to no consequences by management.” Balta noted that a recent incident with Fox News Radio Host, Todd Starnes was the last straw.
Balta said that Starnes “justifies his prejudiced language directed against Latino immigrants as opinionated commentary.” He went on to note that the radio host “unapologetically states that America has ‘suffered’ from the ‘invasion of a rampaging hoard of illegal aliens,’ claiming that most’ illegal immigrants’ are violent criminals as well as casually using a reference for their immigration to the United States with the Nazis invading France and Western Europe in World War II.”
Balta said what is most disturbing about Starnes racist comments is that they were said just two weeks after the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas. He added that Starnes language reflects exactly the words the shooter used against the Latinx community.
NAHJ, which is part of the Excellence in Journalism conference in San Antonio, Texas on Sept. 5, returned their portion of Fox News’ $50,000 sponsorship, which is $16,666.
Marsheila Hayes, Fox News’ vice president of diversity and inclusion, said to the Daily Beast that it’s is unfortunate that NAHJ is returning their sponsorship money, and, added, they are “proud of our inclusive team and their achievements in journalism.”
While other news organizations stated they would continue to accept Fox News’ sponsorship, citing the Free Speech Amendment, Balta said their move to end their ties with the network is about integrity.
“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.”