New York State Assemblyman José Rivera Calls @ElDiarioNy “The Champion of Mediocrity and of the Cowards, Too”

Tonight, New York State Assemblyman José Rivera issued the following statement about the latest on the controversy between ABC and the Puerto Rican Community:





The television network ABC delivers a racial insult in its new primetime show, “Work It”, where it describes Puerto Ricans as “good drug dealers.” Newspapers and blogs all over the nation, including the nation of Puerto Rico, have strongly criticized ABC for perpetuating such a blatant and offensive racial stereotype.

However, something interesting has happened that has everybody talking loudly while whispering. Guess what? El Diario newspaper, the largest Latino newspaper with a Puerto Rican publisher and editor, has not said much about it.

So, people keep whispering that if the beloved former editor Manuel de Dios who died decades ago knew of the silence of the newspaper on this issue, he would be turning on his grave while stretching his arms from his tomb toward the headquarters of El Diario, wandering office after office seeking the neck of the of those responsible for such silence.

Years ago, when Oliver Stone’s movie “Wall Street” compared Puerto Ricans to cockroaches, El Diario ran a cover the story in defense of the Puerto Rican community. Senator Olga Mendez who led the fight was quoted with relevance. When the “Seinfeld” show stomped on the Puerto Rican flag, the issue was covered by El Diario again with urgency and relevance.

So, we wonder, why not now? Why the silence? Are they afraid of something? Or have they simply become negligent and complacent? Or, do they have a conflict of interest?

Let’s start with the fear factor. Obviously, they are afraid of something. Because there is no way that they are going to ignore an issue that is definitely newsworthy.

This ABC controversy is definitely newsworthy but also important for the largest Latino nationality in New York City — Puerto Ricans. As a matter of fact the non-Latino press has given more coverage to this story than El Diario. The first newspaper to react against this attack on Puerto Ricans was the main Newspaper in Pittsburgh. Thank you, again, Roberto Clemente, for raising racial consciousness there. But, where is El Diario?

El Diario’s quality of reporting has declined gradually since my good friend Gerson Borrero, resigned as editor. When he was challenged to decide between his journalistic principles and non-journalistic interest, he did the principled thing and quit as editor. But that is another story.

Second: Are they negligent? Well… it is obvious that during the last few years the quality of the newspaper has been in steady decline. Just ask around. I just asked a friend of mine about this issue, and she said “I can’t tell you since I stopped reading El Diario, years ago when it went rotten.

To illustrate this point, last year, El Diario had as the main story on the front page of the newspaper the topic of whether the size of the penis was important to satisfy a woman. I thought that I was reading “Cosmopolitan”. This happened while the main news nationwide was budget fight the Congress and the white house that was relegated to a brief mention on the inside pages. Need I say more?

Is there a conflict of interest? If there is, this would explain the fear. It is rumored that people within Impremedia, the owners of El Diario, sit on the board of Disney, which owns ABC.

If this is true, the management of El Diario has disposed of all of its journalistic integrity into the toilet of oblivion, and, with it, the respect and decades of struggle that many such as Juan Manuel de Dios gave to El Diario throughout their careers. Whether these rumors are true or not, there is something crystal clear –El Diario-La Prensa is no longer the champion of Hispanics. It has become the Champion of Mediocrity and of the Cowards too.

My challenge to El Diario is to write an editorial condemning ABC and to issue a call – like it used to do in the past – to all New Yorkers to demonstrate against ABC at its headquarters located at 66th Street and Columbus Avenue this coming Thursday at 5:30 PM.


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