Fox News has commenced a new routine wherein they sequester any news of interest to Latinos to their Fox News Latino web site. They do this even for news that is of interest to a broader audience. For example, a Bloomberg poll was released today that showed that 64 percent of likely voters favor Obama’s policy on suspending deportations of certain younger immigrants.
Note that this substantial majority is of “likely” voters, not just Latino voters. So the story has relevance to a wide range of news viewers and could even be an important predictor of who will win the presidency in November. However, Fox News has not run this story. Fox Nation has not run this story. So far, the only Fox destination where you can read this story is on Fox News Latino.
What’s more, the tone of the reporting is distinctly different from that on other Fox properties. There isn’t a hint of hostility toward immigrants. Take, for example , this excerpt:
“The Obama policy orders immigration authorities to use prosecutorial discretion to freeze deportations for undocumented immigrants who arrived before the age of 16, have lived in the United States for five years, have clean criminal records and who are younger than 31.
The decision was prompted by congressional inaction on the DREAM Act, a proposal that would provide a path to citizenship for some undocumented youth who attend college or serve in the military.
The House of Representatives passed the DREAM Act in December 2010, but came up five votes short of the 60 votes needed to break a Republican-led filibuster in the Senate.”
The story accurately refers to “prosecutorial discretion” as the means of carrying out the policy, rather than the false assertions of Executive Orders or dictatorial overreach that appear on Fox News. The derogatory phrase “illegal immigrant,” used routinely on Fox News, is nowhere in the story, having been replaced by “undocumented immigrant.” The story notes correctly that Congress, not the President, had dropped the ball on the DREAM Act and that it was Republicans who filibustered it out of existence.
None of these treatments of the news item will appear on Fox News. They can segregate the reporting so that their Latino audience will see stories like this one, while the rest of the Fox universe remains steeped in the animus of bigots and conservative partisans. And in this case, the whole story has been excised from the Fox universe outside of the Latino orbit.
Make no mistake, there are good reasons for this uncharacteristic behavior on the part of Fox. Roger Ailes, Fox News CEO, was a Republican strategist and media consultant before launching Fox with Rupert Murdoch. Ailes knows that Republicans have a demographics problem as Latinos continue to grow as a percentage of the population. The Tea Party dominated GOP can’t see past their prejudices and frothing immigrant hatred. But Ailes knows that if the party doesn’t win back some Latino support they will be a minority party for decades to come.
So with Fox News Latino, Ailes is doing for the party what they are too stupid to do for themselves – pandering to the Latino vote. But now they’ve created a new problem by treating Latinos as if they are too stupid to notice they’re being played.