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UPLIFTT | March 29, 2017

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Warning Shots to @NPR- Apologize to Latinos or We Will Boycott You

Warning Shots to @NPR- Apologize to Latinos or We Will Boycott You

After getting wind of the way NPR mishandled Latino USA for its alleged biased coverage of Chicago’s mayoral race between Jesús “Chuy” García and Rahm Emanuel, I had to wait a couple of days to write this. I could not do it right away. I was seething with indignation.

First, let’s get the supposed problem out of the way. According to NPR headquarters, the Latino USA episode “Chuy and the battle for Chicago” was biased because it disproportionally covered Chuy’s campaign a lot more than Emanuel’s. This is what Latino USA and the Futuro Media Group had to say about the unwarranted accusation:

Latino USA and the Futuro Media Group acknowledge NPR’s concerns regarding the “Chuy and the Battle for Chicago” episode. Having covered Latino issues in the United States for over two decades, we understand the weight of our responsibility. We regret any appearance of imbalance or lack of fairness in the episode, particularly as it may have reflected on NPR.

We should have made clear in the program that we had reached out to the Emanuel campaign numerous times without response. We also are reviewing other ways in which the program might have been better executed.

We intend to redouble our efforts to bring to our listeners overlooked stories while conforming at all times to the highest journalistic standards.

Latino USA and the Futuro Media Group took the high road. Something they did not need to do. Jesús “Chuy” García is Latino. Rahm Emanuel is not Latino. Now let’s go back to the name of the show: Latino USA. Now go back to Chuy’s ethnicity. Do I really have to point it out for you? Really? The name of the show is Latino USA. Of course it’s going to cover any Latino candidate a lot more than any other. That’s the point. Because entities such as NPR do such a shitty job at both hiring and covering our people, we have to do it ourselves. Yet, they still went ahead and reached out to Emanuel’s people several times, to no avail.

Do they not care about the Latino community? Obviously not. You might have won the battle this time around, Mr. Emanuel and NPR, but since you declared war on the Latino community without considering our meteoric growth, it is only a matter of time before we vote you out and take our business elsewhere. Trust me, it’s going to hurt you a lot more than it hurts us. You better pray to your gods that we aren’t as unreasonable with you as you have been with us once this happens.

From NPR editors:

“Fairness” is among NPR’s core principles. Our Ethics Handbook clearly states: “We make every effort to gather responses from those who are the subjects of criticism, unfavorable allegations or other negative assertions in our stories.”

We also value “completeness.” As the handbook says: “Errors of omission and partial truths can inflict great damage on our credibility, and stories delivered without the context to fully understand them are incomplete.”

NPR, how dare you? You hypocrites. Have you not lost count of the amount of times you’ve been accused of being ideologically biased? You also want to know what’s unethical? You have a diversity problem. You have poor hiring practices. You are “unbearably white.”

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You are not a ‘complete’. You are not an accurate representation of the American landscape despite being a non-profit. You should be held to a higher standard, but you’re not. You are still privately and publicly funded despite being a fraud. You’re a wolf in sheep’s clothing. You epitomize systemic racism and discrimination. I had to wait a couple of days from writing this because I was going to be a lot more scathing. Catch my drift?

NPR, you ought to be ashamed of yourself. I will not consume any of the content you buy and produce until you publicly apologize to the Latino USA and Futuro Media Group crew, as well as the Latino community. I will also make it my business to inform any person of color (and white allies) to stop sharing your content whenever I encounter it because you are a hypocritical, unethical, biased, and disrespectful bunch. You take us for fools. We’re putting an end to this.

You are dead to the Latino community.

Gente, let’s boycott NPR. You can help by tweeting this article to @NPR and sharing with your friends.


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César Vargas is a producer, writer, director, and diversity activist. He founded UPLIFTT (United People for Latinos in Film TV and Theater) and is president of Burning Ones Productions. You can reach him on Twitter at @CesarVargas365 and Facebook at facebook.com/vargas365

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