Juan Gonzalez

Inside Media: Hispanic Media and the 2008 Presidential Campaign

October 04, 2008

Guest: Juan Gonzalez

Although the current financial crisis is dominating headlines and is Topic A in the presidential election debates, immigration remains a pressing issue — not just for Latinos, but the entire country — said New York Daily News columnist Juan Gonzalez.

Gonzalez, a founder of the National Association for Hispanic Journalists, said immigration is a continuing problem not just for the United States, but globally.

"The Third World is coming to the West in large numbers," he said, "meaning that the very cultures, languages and populations of those countries are undergoing significant transformation."

There has been an economic globalization not just for capital, but for labor, too, Gonzalez said. But the problem is that while barriers have been lowered for capital, they have been raised for immigration. He also sees little evidence that American leadership is looking at long-term solutions to that globalization of labor.

Neither presidential candidate — Republican John McCain nor Democrat Barak Obama — has an edge when it comes to immigration, Gonzalez believes: Both essentially favor some kind of reform. Gonzalez is troubled, however, that both candidates have been "silent on the continuing raids throughout the country" that result in deportations and arrests — the kind of negative story that makes up the bulk of reporting on the Latino community, he said.

NAHJ, founded 24 years ago when there were few Latino reporters and "the Latino community was not being covered comprehensively," remains relevant today, Gonzalez asserted. He cited a recent NAHJ study that showed that less than one percent of network news reports were about Latinos — and of those, 30 percent could be classified as "negative" reports. The study also predicted that by mid-century, 25 percent of the country’s population will be of Latino origin.

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