Media Fails Latinos: Will the FCC Continue to Enable The Tyranny?

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates interstate and international communications via radio, television, wire, satellite and cable. Their job is to promote competition, innovation and investment by identifying and eliminating market entry barriers for entrepreneurs including minority- and women-owned businesses, but the FCC is about to be even more lax with its media ownership rules.

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Media conglomerates are ruthlessly lobbying the FCC to maintain their stronghold and allow even more consolidation in the industry, effectively denying others the opportunity to develop a media as diverse as our nation.

  • Women comprise 51% of the entire U.S. population, but own only 4.97% of all stations.
  • Minorities comprise 33% of the entire U.S. population, bu
    t own only 3.26% of all stations.
  • Hispanics or Latinos comprise 14% of the entire U.S. population, but own only 1.11% of all stations.
  • African Americans comprise 13% of the entire U.S. population but own only 1.3% of all stations.
  • Asians comprise 4 % of the entire U.S. population but own only 0.44% of all stations.
  • Non-Hispanic White owners controlled 1,033 stations, or 76.6% of the all stations. Source

First of all, there is NO diversity in media. Not even a little.

Since the inception of television, media ownership has dwindled to only five major corporations which the FCC doesn’t recognize as monopolies. In the meantime these corporations have done a heinous job of producing content shedding any positivity on the Latino community, shamelessly demonstrated by their pathetic past track record, They have done an even worse task of promoting diverse voices by failing to hire Latinos in positions of impact. And finally neither have they attempted to empower Latinos to give voice to their own stories.

Why This Is Important

  • The media is extremely influential in shaping opinions of Latinos. Studies show people exposed to negative entertainment and news narratives about Latinos or immigrants hold the most unfavorable and hostile views about both groups. One of the conclusions of a study conducted by NHMC on how the power of media to breed hate shapes opinions as well as impact health.
  • There has been a continued increase in the amount of time Latino youth are exposed to media on a daily basis. Research conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation concluded Hispanic youth are exposed to media at an average of thirteen hours a day.
  • The fact that negative stereotyping causes devastating effects on people’s sense of themselves and their abilities has been known for decades.

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It is a failure of responsibility of the FCC not to consider valuable information regarding ownership. Most importantly it is inexcusable to allow outcomes directly contradicting the Commission’s statutory and legal obligations to the people of our country. NHMC, a number of leading civil rights groups, as well as Congress members have all sent letters urging the FCC to seek comment on recently released data about media ownership by women and people of color before moving forward with proposed changes to media ownership rules.

The government issues licenses to use our Public Airwaves.

“If broadcasters are meant to act as trustees for the public interest, then a corollary is that they must affirmatively present a wide diversity of perspectives. This is clearly a central role of the First Amendment, and the reason why the federal government from the beginning of broadcasting has sought to encourage programming diversity.”

As we begin the year 2013 we cannot let this toxic tyranny continue. These corporations are a reflection of the time when they were created; during times of segregation, when not everyone was allowed to vote, and women were not allowed in certain schools or the workplace. By morphing into huge super conglomerates they now dictate the media, virtually eliminating almost all local voices therefore erasing the true diversity of this country and silencing we the people.

What YOU can do:

  • Demand stations increase positive portrayals of Latinos in media.
  • Demand private media industries produce and distribute programming to counter messages of hatred and prejudice, as well as to educate their audiences about the destructive impact of intolerance.
  • Hold stations accountable for negative stereotypes by complaining to the stations as well as their sponsors.
  • Support stations and programming providing alternate portrayals of women and minorities.
  • Support alternative media outlets like this one.
  • Become a content creator and distributor.
  • Write to the FCC and voice your opinion (Sample letters).

The FCC is directed by five commissioners appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate for five-year terms. Contact them today and make a difference.


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Previously a federal appeals court instructed the FCC to study the impact of any rule changes on ownership diversity before embarking on consolidation. As of this date the FCC has not yet scheduled a public hearing or open meetings on consolidation.

Resources

The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC): The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) is a non-partisan, non-profit, media advocacy and civil rights organization created to advance American Latino employment and programming equity throughout the entertainment industry and to advocate for telecommunications policies that benefit Latinos and other people of color.

Free Press: Free Press is building a powerful nationwide movement to change media and technology policies, promote the public interest and strengthen democracy. Free Press advocates for universal and affordable Internet access, diverse media ownership, vibrant public media and quality journalism.

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Bella Vida Letty is a regular contributor to LatinoRebels.com and one of the Original Rebeldes, having been with the group since the very beginning. Last year she was named one of the Most Powerful Latinas in Social Media by VOXXI. You can follow her on Twitter (@bellavidaletty) or read more about her on her blog, Bella Vida by Letty.

#LatinoLit Banned Book Review: “Always Running – La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A.” by Luis J. Rodriguez

In this powerful autobiography, Luis J. Rodriguez relates stories from his youth growing up in an impoverished East Los Angeles barrio. The son of Mexican immigrants, from an early age Rodriguez constantly faces barriers to success from a system designed to keep him out. As a result, Rodriguez and his peers are forced to invent the rules they will live by as they seek validation and protection in the troubling world of gang life.

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Rodriguez brings alive his teenage years through vivid accounts of robberies, shootouts, drug use, gang rivalry and youthful sexual exploits. Despite the barrio’s firm grip on his life, Rodriguez’ inner desire to break free and make more of himself is evident.  As his boxing coach constantly reminds him, he has the jaspia (hunger) necessary to succeed.

First published in 1994, this book came out after the infamous L.A. riots of 1992, but it provides an important historical account of barrio life in Los Angeles during the 1960s and 1970s. The young people in Rodriguez’ neighborhood faced layer upon layer of discrimination and racism, from exclusion and  alienation at school, to constant surveillance and heavy-handed tactics by local police.

Through involvement in the Chicano movement in the late 1960s, Rodriguez starts to make connections beyond his own personal situation to the wider political and sociocultural factors that influence life in the barrio. This is probably precisely why the book is banned in Arizona: the book implicates police brutality in perpetuating gang culture; it illustrates the extent of racism inherent in the public system; and, crucially, it outlines some of the revolutionary ideas of the early Chicano movement.

In the short clip below, Rodriguez explains that gang life took hold of him at the tender age of 12. By the age of 18 he had lost 20 of his friends to la vida loca and he was facing a six-year jail term for assault with a deadly weapon.

Despite the incredible odds stacked against him, Rodriguez was one of the fortunate ones able to make a break from the barrio through a combination of education and his budding literary ambition—”when you read books whole worlds open up to you, even though your world is so limited that you think there is no way out of it”.

Truly inspiring, this book covers important issues as relevant today as they were 50 years ago.

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Jen Wilton currently lives in Oaxaca, Mexico and reports on social and political issues related to Mexico and Latin America more widely. Jen tweets as @guerillagrrl and blogs at revolutioniseternal.wordpress.com

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Please support these #LatinoLit bookstores before you buy anywhere else:

La Casa Azul Bookstore, New York, NY: http://www.lacasaazulbookstore.com

Tía Chucha Cultural Center, Los Angeles, CA: http://www.tiachucha.com

Resistencia Bookstore, Austin, TX: http://www.resistenciabooks.com

Casa Ramírez, Houston, TX: 241 W 19th St – (713) 880-2420

EN ESPAÑOL

Librería Barco de Papel, Queens, NY: http://libreriabarcodepapelny.com

Girón Books, Chicago, IL: http://www.gironbooks.com

Librotraficante Underground Library locations in AZ, NM and TX: http://www.librotraficante.com/index.php/underground-library/locations

Latino News Roundup for January 4th, 2013

Latino News Roundup Edition from HispanicTips:

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Latinos Shifting Political Trends – Tensions between different Latino ethnic groups might be changing local politics on the east and west coasts. Host Michel Martin speaks with Columbia University adjunct professor Ed Morales, who says shifting Latino demographics are the driving force behind it all.
     From: www.npr.org

New Congress Convenes with Record Number of Latino Members
     From: latino.foxnews.com

Celebrating Dia de los Reyes Magos with your kids
     From: nbclatino.com

For the first time in U.S. history, white males will no longer be the majority of House Democrats.
     From: thegrio.com

New ICE Detainer Guidance Too Little, Too Late
     From: immigrationimpact.com

Alt.Latino – New Year, New Music: Songs From Puerto Rico, Argentina And More
     From: www.npr.org

Immigration Reform is Opportunity for Latino Leadership
     From: www.newstaco.com

Billionaire Bloomberg knocks out Joe Baca, adds dynamic to gun politics – California
     From: www.sacbee.com

Hispanic Marketing Insights: Some Things I’ve Been Noticing
     From: www.thinkmulticultural.com

Culled from these HispanicTips’ Reports

TOP STORIES Hispanic Report for January 4th, 2013

CULTURA Hispanic Report for January 4th, 2013

BUSINESS Hispanic Report for January 4th, 2013

#VivaViernes VIDEO: Hilariously Cute “I’m a Daddy and I Know It”

Over 100,000 shares on Facebook in just three days.

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This one is for all the daddies of the world.