Topic: Media Research Center
When Republican Mayra Flores won a special election for congressional seat in Texas, the Media Research Center stopped doing "media research" and went into right-wing cheerleader mode. Curtis Houck gushed in a June 15 post:
On Tuesday night, history was made in southeast Texas as Republican Mayra Flores won a special election in Texas’s 34th Congressional District, becoming the first Mexican-born woman to be elected to Congress and did so by winning a district President Biden won by 13 points in 2020.
But not surprisingly, it fetched scant attention Wednesday morning on the English and Spanish broadcast networks with ABC’s Good Morning America (GMA) and NBC’s Today hiding from viewers this ominous sign for liberals.
Over on Univision’s ¡Despierta América!, Flores only got six seconds in a brief via Satcha Pretto: “Finally, the Texas special election gives Republicans a House seat.”
In the past, the networks certainly have covered past special elections, but, of course, they were either a D-to-R flip or because they were enamored with the Democrat.
Of course, if a Democrat had won the seat, Houck and the MRC would have censored all mention of it. Nicholas Fondacaro kept up the gushing -- and attacking anyone who wouldn't gush like him -- later in the day:
The cast of ABC’s The View was in something of a panic Wednesday after several congressional primaries revealed which Republican candidates would be squaring up against Democrats in November in what’s likely to be a massive red wave victory for the right. But the coven was in such denial that they aggressively shot down any mention of the red wave and completely ignored the historic win by Latina Republican Mayra Flores in a special election flipping a seat occupied by Democrats for over 100 years.
“I'm a conservative. I'm a Republican. And listening to Russell Fry who unseated Tom Rice, a principled conservative who voted to impeach Donald Trump,” whined guest co-host Alyssa Farah Griffin. “But here's what I would warn. The red wave is coming. Republicans are going to win the midterms short of something unforeseen that I cannot predict now.”
However, Houck and Fondacaro were censoring the fact that Flores is much farther to the right than they would have readers believe: Flores used QAnon hashtags in posts on Facebook and Instagram, despite hollow denials that she's a conspiracy theory enthusiast. When MSNBC's Joy Reid pointed out this inconvenient fact and called her "QAnon-curious," it was up to Aidan Moorehouse to go into damage-control mode and pretend her denials were meaningful in a June 16 post:
Apparently, Reid still thinks Q is relevant — which is hilarious on its own — but what makes her claim all the more ridiculous is that the only connection between Flores and Q seems to be, according to The Texas Tribune, the use of Q-related hashtags in social media posts already containing a shotgun blast of conservative hashtags meant to generate clicks on the right, such as putting #secondamendment on an Instagram post about COVID-19.
Flores herself has said, “I’ve always been against any of that [QAnon]. I’ve never been supportive of it,” but of course, that’s just smoke and mirrors. After all, everyone knows a hashtag equals full and total endorsement (#sarcasm).
For a June 18 post by Jorge Bonilla, the MRC was back into denial-and-censorship mode, cheering that "a Univision newscast spoke glowingly of the election of a conservative" and "closed out the report on the election of a Texas Republican with 'Latino pride'. A huge shift is underway."
Bonilla returned on June 28 with a bizarro-world complaint: Flores' Democratic opponent in the general election, Vicente Gonzalez, sounded like a Republican when he pointed out that Flores is an immigrant who came the U.S. at age 6 while he"was born in South Texas, the son of a Korean war veteran." Bonilla would normally cheer such remarks, but he melted down here:
So not only does “real Texan” González attack Flores for being an immigrant, but he then tries to clean it up by saying that he was actually calling her out over her stance on immigration- which he did by coming really close to an accusation of race treason. Now, where’s the corporate Latino media on this? Because if an Anglo Republican had said that he was the “Real Texan” in a contested race against an immigrant from Burgos, Tamaulipas, Mexico, I guaran-dang-tee you that Univision and Telemundo run multiple A-block cycles on the story and would’ve led their newscasts with it on the day that Carrasquillo’s piece first ran.
“Anti-immigrant rhetoric” is their bread and butter. It’s what they do. Any rando yelling “speak English” at a Latino immigrant is virtually guaranteed three minutes on any Univision or Telemundo national newscast. Remember the outrage when Jorge Ramos got himself thrown out of candidate Donald Trump’s press conference in Iowa?
Where is the rally to Mayra Flores’ defense? Where are the outraged opinion columns and A-block segments denouncing what is clearly, by Latino corporate media standards, “anti-immigrant rhetoric”? Is she not “one of our own” due to the R next to her name and thinks unauthorized thoughts on such matters as abortion or immigration?
I renew my call to Univision and Telemundo’s national news divisions. Live by the rules you've created and call out this blatant anti-immigrant rhetoric. Or forever stand complicit.
We'd ask why Bonilla isn't living by the anti-immigrant rules created by his employer, but we already know that at the MRC, trying to own the libs takes precedence over ideological consistency. Indeed, he rehashed his complaint on Tim Graham's July 1 podcast.
The national Latino networks exist to serve the Latino community first and foremost, right? Wrong. Hispanics actually come a distant second behind their corporate interests, as was confirmed with their coverage of the historic swearing in of Congresswoman Mayra Flores (R-TX) by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
During a photo op following the ceremony, a sneering Pelosi was caught on camera elbowing one of Flores’s daughters. This display got ample coverage from the mainstream media, along with Pelosi's lame excuse that she was only making sure that the little girl was not hidden from the camera.
At the Spanish-speaking newsrooms however, the on-camera humiliation of a little brown girl by the second person in line to succeed the president of the United States, was edited out from the videos as Univision, CNN En Español and Estrella TV wiped the incident from their reports while Telemundo bypassed the historic ceremony (and Nancy's wickedness) altogether. In other words, they all appeared to agree that covering for Pelosi was infinitely more important than saving face for the family of a Republican Latina.
Krumhansl completely ignored the fact that the truth is much more benign: Pelosi was trying to make sure the child would be visible for the cameras.But Krumhansl's seething hatred for Pelosi blinded her to anything that mightmake the House speaker less evil.
When the New York Times cited Flores' QAnon-curious activism to call her a "far-right Latina," Bonilla greivance-mongered in a July 7 post ranting that the Times was trying to "other" Flores:
The purpose of yesterday’s disgusting New York Times hit job on Texas congressional candidates Cassy García, Mónica de la Cruz, and Congresswoman Mayra Flores (R-TX34), titled “The Rise of the Far-Right Latina”, was to signal them as race-traitors to the rest of the Acela Media, and have that as the frame of how they are covered going forward. But such efforts are not likely to succeed.
Take notice of the things that are flagged for Times readers: adjacency to Trump (including a direct comparison to Georgia firebrand Marjorie Taylor Greene), the appeals to “God, family, country”, and policy specifics on abortion and school choice. These, in this order, are meant to represent to Times readers that the Texas Trio are well outside of the Hispanic mainstream (as imagined by the Times).
The NYT piece creates a permission structure for the rest of the Acela Media and their customers to vilify and racially disqualify the Texas Trio, in a manner reminiscent of the vile treatment of Justice Clarence Thomas since the Dobbs ruling. But such efforts are likely to fail.
Univision and Telemundo, which have far greater reach in South Texas than The New York Times, made sure to run glowing “Latina Pride” stories when Flores won her special election. Immigrant success stories usually get top billing on these networks, and to hide the historic election to Congress of a woman born in Burgos, Tamaulipas, Mexico would have constituted a grave departure from their norms.
As the election heats up, you should expect more of these pieces to run in the Acela Media and on cable. But now you know why they run.
Yes, Bonilla used the term "Acela media" three times as if that means anything to people outside his right-wing, anti-media bubble.
The MRC's designed Times' hater, Clay Waters, cranked out his own whining piece on the Times article two days later, this time invoking his employer's hatred for the new White House press secretary:
Latina Republican Mayra Flores’ historic win in a Texas congressional district in the Rio Grande Valley was greeted by the Times not with celebration but bitterness and denial. This is the same newspaper that loves to mark such supposed ethnic milestones on the Democratic side, as shown in the nauseating tributes to Sen. Kamala Harris and Biden press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
While both Bonilla and Waters block-quoted the part of the Times article that pointed out Flores' use of QAnon hashtags, they didn't comment on them further or try to downplay it -- which would seem to be a quiet, grudging acceptance that the "far-right Latina" descriptor is, in fact, not inaccurate.