A major organization for Hispanic journalists on Thursday gave Fox News the boot from its upcoming conference in response to the network’s use “invasion” rhetoric when discussing immigration.
Fox News was set to appear as a sponsor at the National Association of Hispanic Journalists’ confab next month in San Antonio, but in a letter to the group’s members, NAHJ President Hugo Balta said that invitation has been revoked.
“The line between commentary and journalism was crossed long ago by Fox News and is no longer even in sight,” wrote Balta, who is currently an MSNBC senior producer. “To accept financial support from an entity that perpetuates the spread of disinformation to the public about the Hispanic and Latino community risks the integrity and credibility of NAHJ’s 35 year mission.”
As such, the NAHJ head wrote, the journalist org will return $16,666 in sponsorship funds back to Fox News.
“It is unfortunate the country’s main organization for Hispanic journalists has chosen to exclude FOX News from their upcoming convention,” Marsheila Hayes, Fox News’s vice president of diversity and inclusion, wrote in a statement. “As the leading news network in the country, we are committed to fostering a diverse and collaborative workplace environment, and have been recognized in the industry for our advancement in this area, most notably with our multimedia reporter program. We are proud of our inclusive team and their achievements in journalism.”
Balta explained that the final straw was a recent segment in which Todd Starnes, a Fox News pundit with a lengthy history of racist and anti-gay comments, described immigrants as a “rampaging horde of illegal aliens” and compared them to Nazis.
Balta noted that Starnes’ comments closely resembled rhetoric used in a racist manifesto written by the suspected gunman who killed more than 22 people earlier this month in El Paso, Texas.
“Starnes brazen language is symptomatic of a culture that provides a megaphone for disinformation by those in power with agendas, including the Trump administration at the cost of the most vulnerable – immigrant communities,” Balta said.
Although the organization singled out Starnes, Balta said Fox News was ultimately responsible for such rhetoric. Fox News management “accorded Starnes the license to use his program to sustain and cultivate fear,” Balta wrote, adding that the NAHJ repeatedly met with and talked to Fox News about segments the organization found alarming and offensive.
“The latest ‘regret’ by Fox News is one of many where the immigrant community and by association, all Hispanics and Latinos, have been demonized by voices with high visibility due to there being little to no consequences by management,” Balta said.
Though Fox News will no longer appear as a sponsor at the NAHJ event, Thursday’s statement said the organization would continue to engage network brass, and will revisit future sponsorship should they “demonstrate real change and a true sincerity for their partnership with our association.”
NAHJ joins a number of other organizations who have shunned Fox News over its pervasive anti-immigrant rhetoric. Many advertisers have boycotted purchasing time during Tucker Carlson’s primetime show over xenophobic comments he has made in the past year, including describing immigrants as making America “poorer and dirtier.”