LATINO VOICES
04/02/2014 07:03 pm ET Updated Apr 02, 2014

Admittedly Biased Organization Accuses Univision, Telemundo Of Bias

ASSOCIATED PRESS

A conservative research group is taking Univision and Telemundo to task for having a liberal bias.

The Media Research Center released a report Monday finding that Univision and Telemundo rely more heavily on Democratic or liberal sources in their reporting than conservative ones.

In an analysis of 667 news stories by the two broadcasters focusing on U.S. domestic policy, 49 percent presented a neutral perspective, 45 percent leaned liberal and 6 percent leaned conservative, the report says. Univision and Telemundo cited President Barack Obama or other Democratic politicians or left-leaning advocacy organizations three times more often than Republican or conservative voices.

The MRC report examined coverage on the two networks from November 2013 through February 2014.

"The launch of this new effort by the Media Research Center is good news for those who get their news and information from Spanish-language media," said Alfonso Aguilar, executive director of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, according to the Media Research Center. "Hispanic media need to be held to the same standards as English-language media. MRC Latino is a step towards this balance and accountability in Spanish-language media."

Both networks objected to the report's characterization of their coverage.

"We have an open invitation to elected officials and representatives from all sides to address our community on issues of importance and relevance," Univision spokesman Jose Zamora told Politico

"Noticias Telemundo stands for accuracy, fairness and independence, while we strive to meet the highest ethical standards in the industry," Telemundo spokesman Camilo Pino said, also according to Politico.

If the report's results are accurate, the Spanish-language media outlets would appear to share some of the one-sided tendencies of certain English-language news coverage, to judge from a Pew study on the 2012 presidential race. The nonpartisan organization found that 46 percent of Fox News' coverage of President Barack Obama was negative in the final stages of the race, while only 6 percent was positive. On MSNBC, things were even more lopsided: The tone on that network was largely critical of Republican candidate Mitt Romney, with 71 percent of coverage negative and only 3 percent positive.

The MRC report highlighted Univision's public campaign to get Latinos registered for health care after the passage of Obamacare, which Israel Ortega of the conservative Heritage Foundation called "perhaps the study's most damning finding."

Univision disagrees. In an interview with BuzzFeed before the MRC study's release, Univision's empowerment initiatives director Stephen Keppel argued that encouraging Latinos to sign up for health insurance was a good thing regardless of the political context.

"We've always looked at it with the simple fact that this is the law, it was approved by Congress, it was approved by the Supreme Court. It has an outsized impact on our audience because of the statistics on uninsured Latinos," Keppel told BuzzFeed. "We definitely want to give people all the tools they need to get enrolled. Our basic messaging on the website is: Find out what you are eligible for and enroll. And if you don't enroll you have to pay a fine and that's what it means."

The Media Research Center is itself admittedly one-sided, dedicated only to "neutralizing left-wing bias in the news media and popular culture," according to the organization's website.

CONVERSATIONS