For the first time in broadcast history, Univision, a Spanish language station had the more viewers than any other television source in America among all adults between 18 and 49.
I am not opposed to immigration, I think we need it and profit from it. But I am a profound believer in assimilation, and I don't see very much of that in broadcast statistics. For the past few years, Univision has been edging out one, two or sometimes even three of the networks among viewers 18-49. Univision regularly beats all four of the major English language networks on Friday or Saturday and sometimes both, but this week's Univision ad in Cynopsis confirms that:
Univision swept ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX. For the first time ever, the Network's no-repeat lineup of primetime novelas, variety and sports made Univision America's New #1 Network among both adults 18-34 and 18-49, including men and women. In any language.
(Telemundo, the NBC/Universal Spanish language network, usually finishes somewhere in the bottom half of Nielsen rated broadcast networks.)
These ratings have been consistent over the past five years. Even as other network ratings decline, Univision and Telemundo maintain their audience.
I still believe that television effects our culture more than any other form of media and that Spanish language networks make it easier for Hispanics to avoid assimilation. Given the bilingual classes given in many public schools, the situation may linger for generations and lead to a perpetual gap between English speaking citizens and Hispanics, and I think that's the last thing our country needs.
As an example of what might occur, I point to the continuing rupture between English and French speaking Canadians, and here I quote from a New York Times editorial of 1975. The "Canadian situation tragically demonstrates the awesome power of bilingualism to perpetuate differences within a country, deepen antagonisms and make national politics an endless walk on a ethnic tightrope."
If Univision continues to be the new number one of the major broadcast networks, we too are facing an endless walk on an ethnic tightrope.