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Bilingual experts are launching a project to combat distortions and stereotypes of Hispanics in the media.

The organization Media Matters for America (MMFA) announced Monday that it is launching an integrated Hispanic media program that aims to combat “conservative misinformation” targeting Latinos.

Miguel Ferrer, senior advisor to MMFA, explained that Media Matters experts have been working on issues of civil rights, immigration and LGBT issues for years. They are now adding a new team of experts with a background in academia, public policy, communications and information management.

“We think the narrative about Hispanics in English-language news media is often distorted and that needs to be refuted. There is an insistence among media to characterize the immigrant population with pejorative images,” Ferrer said.

“How many times have we seen a news show talking about immigration, using images of border crossers, portrayed as shirtless and dirty with an aggressive sense that these people are coming to take what’s yours?” Ferrer asked. The answer is too often, he added.

Between 2000 and 2011, the Latino population has grown from 35 million to 52 million people, which has led to a boom in English- and Spanish-language media targeting this segment of the population.

Thirty-nine percent of Latinos were born in the United States and consume news media in both English and Spanish, while another 31 percent of Hispanics consume news only in Spanish.

Media have tried to capitalize on the bilingual segment of the Latino population, from Fusion to MSNBC’s Rundown With Jose Diaz-Balart. Meanwhile, Spanish-language media networks like Univision and Telemundo continue to grow and have added new channels like MundoFox.

This has presented an opening in both English- and Spanish-language media for conservative voices that claim that information must be “balanced” with different views.

Now MMFA experts will be able to offer the perspective of Hispanics.

For more information, visit:
mediamatters.org/inclusionmatters.

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