Maggie Rodriguez Brings La Raza Perspective to CBS
A cover story in the June edition of Latino Magazine, discussed CBS Early Show co-host Maggie Rodriguez's efforts to "...educate her peers on how to be cognizant of Latino viewers, by pushing stories about Latinos that are of interest to all Americans, as well as informing them of more humane and respectful labels - such as undocumented immigrant instead of illegal alien."
The story, written by Aida Bardales, quoted Rodriguez: "All you have to do is to mention it to them. If I wasn't here, they wouldn't think twice because forever 'illegal alien' was used and they didn't put a face to that term." It went on to praise Rodriguez's reporting on the 2008 conference of the left-wing Hispanic group La Raza: "Though she's careful to not force irrelevant stories upon her viewers, she does feel a need to include the Latino perspective. When she was invited to host the National Council of La Raza's Annual Conference in 2008, she saw it as opportunity to share the experience with "The Early Show" viewers."
Earlier in the story, Rodriguez argued that her ethnic background actually made her a better reporter on certain issues: "As Hispanics [we] will always give a more accurate representation of a Hispanic story...just because we understand the language and are part of the culture. We have a unique understanding of the people that an Anglo would not have."
Rodriguez described how her Hispanic background aided her reporting on California's Proposition 187, the state's 1994 ballot initiative to deny illegal aliens access to certain government services: "I understood them in their language and I was able to translate their words with all of their passion and all of their true intent. I don't think that someone who didn't speak their language or understand their culture would have done their story justice...and thank God because [the] story needed to be told right."
A 1994 Media Research Center study found that the media far from told the story right. Out of the 30 stories on Proposition 187 that aired on the four network evening news shows from October 16 to the end of November, "More than 75 percent of the stories aired were anti-187. Talking heads who opposed 187 outnumbered proponents by more than 2 to 1."
In an interview with Howard Kurtz in Monday's Washington Post, Rodriguez acknowledged that she was "proud" of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, but "would not overlook her weak points." Similar to Rodriguez, Sotomayor also claimed that her Hispanic heritage would make her "better" at her job.
-Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center.