Washington, D.C. – The National Association of Hispanic Journalists condemns the repeated misrepresentations of minority communities spouted off this weekend by the Trump administration. Recently, DHS Secretary Nielsen misled the public by creating a false crisis in an attempt to drive the White House’s agenda, claiming that “3,000 ‘special interest aliens’ have been stopped at the border because they have terrorist travel patterns or they have known or suspected ties to terrorism.”
3,000 “special interest aliens” have been stopped because they have terrorist travel patterns or they have known or suspected ties to terrorism, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen says https://t.co/YYa34PeSTf pic.twitter.com/tR5gzS2gyp
— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 4, 2019
“Special interest aliens,” explained as a broad and general term over the weekend by critics, is propaganda that has been too often allowed by the White House press and spread by sharing these type of reports without context or fact-checking.
“Journalists and news organizations have a responsibility to report on fair and accurate facts only, and not give a platform to propaganda,” said NAHJ president Hugo Balta.
“Stories must be written and reported with the base value of truth, instead of regurgitation,” he continued.
When coverage is poorly executed, it can quickly contribute to the growing trend of profiling minorities as scapegoats for a variety of society’s ills. The media influences and educates communities’ knowledge across the country. As quickly as a report has the ability to inform, it also has the ability to cause great damage to communities through spreading inaccurate and unfair information.
The NAHJ once again implores media to challenge false narratives and claims, instead of relaying propaganda and calculated strategy by politicians. When the interview subjects cloud important matters with lies and distractions, the media must remain committed to transparency. By providing context and perspective of all issues and fact-checking all reports, media outlets become advocates for their viewers and advocates for a well-informed public.
With more and more urgency, it is becoming imperative for news organizations and the press corps to finally come up with a strategy on how to debunk the lies and dispose of misinformation. Accurate context while reporting helps to frame a story appropriately and gives specific definition to language used during coverage. Newsrooms should be conscious of the context in which the story is presented and be intentional in adjusting it for accurate coverage.
The National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) is the largest organization of Latino journalists in the United States and dedicated to the recognition and professional advancement of Hispanics in the news industry. The mission of NAHJ is to increase the number of Latinos in the newsrooms and to work toward fair and accurate representation of Latinos in news media. Established in April 1984, NAHJ created a national voice and unified vision for all Hispanic journalists. NAHJ has approximately 2,500 members, including working journalists, journalism students, other media-related professionals and journalism educators. For more information please visit NAHJ.org or follow on Twitter @NAHJ.