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Darren Soto (D-FL), is calling on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to step in and address the “radicalization” of conservative talk radio in the city of Miami.
“The FCC must address radicalization of Hispanic seniors by rightwing Miami radio,” the representative wrote on Twitter, citing a lengthy HuffPost story titled How Spanish-Language Radio Helped Radicalize A Generation Of Miami Abuelos. “These lies are dangerous to democracy and clearly do not serve the “public interest”. Our seniors deserve better!” continued Soto.
The HuffPost story accuses Miami’s conservative talk radio programs of spreading misinformation that “is warping some residents’ understanding of reality — and straining family ties as a result.”
The HuffPost is not the first liberal media outlet to accuse conservative talk radio of publishing misinformation. NBC News, last September 6, published a story titled: Spanish-language Covid disinformation is aimed at Latinos as delta surges.
In that article, NBC asserts that, “Spanish-language radio, hosts are pushing right-wing conspiracy theories similar to those heard on English-language shows. Just recently, three English-language conservative radio hosts who railed against vaccines died from Covid-19.”
“Amid a surge in Covid cases across the country, medical disinformation in Spanish persists on AM radio, social media and closed messaging apps, where people claim that masks do not work and that the vaccines are dangerous and part of the “global reset,”” the story reads.
Darren Soto and fellow Democrats capitalize on anti-conservative narrative
Beyond the tweet posted by Rep. Soto, the narrative driven by the HuffPost and NBC articles are being used by Democratic congressmen and former congressmen in the Hispanic Caucus to pressure the FCC to intervene in a speech on Florida talk radio.
One of the Democratic politicians who has most attacked conservative talk radio on Twitter is former Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powel (D-FL), an Ecuadorian-American who lost her seat in Congress to Republican Carlos Gimenez.
Mucarsel-Powell has mainly attacked the famed Mambí radio station, a Univision-owned station, posting several tweets against the broadcaster and even calling for government intervention to stop it. “Congress must hold @radiomambi710 @facebook mainstream Spanish media & politicians like @MaElviraSalazar @marcorubio @RepCarlos accountable for spreading dangerous misinformation. It is a danger to our communities and our democracy. No más mentiras.”
While the tweets from Mucarsel-Powell — calling for congressional action — and Darren Soto — requesting FCC intervention — are fairly recent, the Democratic effort to intervene in Miami radio and limit speech is nothing new.
In April of this year, several Democratic representatives, including Darren Soto and Ruben Gallego (D-AZ 7th District), attempted to manipulate the FCC to stop the sale of a Miami radio station to Spanish businessman Carlos Vasallo.
Vasallo, as denounced by the Democratic politicians, is a conservative businessman, president and CEO of America CV Network, parent company of Miami’s America TeVé channel. The businessman signed a contract in April to acquire South Florida’s Caracol Radio 1260, owned by Grupo Prisa, awaiting FCC authorization to close the sale.
According to the Miami Herald, the sale of Caracol Radio set off alarms among Democrats due to the “underrepresentation” in Spanish-language radio stations in Miami; especially after the dismissal in March of Raul Martinez, a “former Hialeah mayor and powerful liberal voice in South Florida radio” who left Radio Caracol Miami.
Likewise, Representative Darren Soto told the Herald that he was “concerned” about “misinformation” in the Spanish-language media and explained that the FCC should not approve the sale of Radio Caracol Miami in the name of the “public good.” In other words, the same argument used in his recent tweet, where he quoted HuffPost.
“Radio waves are the people’s waves, and the FCC needs to scrutinize each sale to make sure it is in the public good, and it could be quite possible that this is not in the public good,” Soto commented to the Miami Herald. “We saw similar stations perpetuate the big lie that President Trump won the election, which isn’t true, and we saw the dangerous results of that. I was there in the Capitol when the insurrection took place and we saw [the lie] perpetuated in Spanish-language media mostly unchecked.”
The efforts by Darren Soto and other congressional Democrats, for the time being, were in vain and, in fact, earned much criticism on social media after Brendan Carr, the FCC commissioner appointed to the post by former President Donald Trump in 2017, warned Democrats that they were crossing a line that could violate the First Amendment.
“This attempt by Democrats in Congress to pressure the FCC into blocking the sale of a Spanish-language radio station based on the political viewpoints that it would broadcast to South Florida’s Hispanic community crosses a line drawn by the First Amendment,” said Commissioner Carr.
“The FCC has no business doing the Democrats’ bidding or using our regulatory process to censor political opinions that Democrats do not like… Worse, Democrats appear to be treating the FCC as a mere arm of the DNC – expressly pressuring the agency to take actions that they believe will increase their electoral odds in Florida in 2022,” he added.
“Democrats lose elections because of their mediocrity, not because of talk radio”
As liberal media and Democratic politicians criticize conservative talk radio, talk show hosts are beginning to raise their voices to respond to the accusations.
Lourdes Ubieta, a journalist for Radio Mambi in Miami, spoke with El American to give her point of view on the articles by HuffPost, NBC, and also the statements by Democratic congressmen against the stations.
Ubieta argues that Democrats, in reality, are not concerned about the alleged “misinformation” being broadcast by conservative radio stations, but are upset because there are critical voices on these programs that do not follow the liberal narrative, as there are in the traditional media.
“The ultimate goal of all the articles that have been running since January, and the attacks by Democratic representatives against the radio programs, is to silence conservative voices in South Florida because they, in their minds, believe that it is because of two Miami radio stations that they lose elections,” Ubieta told El American.
“They lose elections because they are mediocre people who have not known how to govern and have not known how to win the vote. Debbie Mucarsel-Powel and Dona Shalala lasted one term in Congress each, why? Because to compete in South Florida you have to have what it takes,” she added.
Ubieta also said that the Democratic attacks against conservative radio stations are a sort of cancellation culture, but at governmental levels: “Unfortunately, federal congressmen lend themselves to be part of this attempt to silence conservative voices, that is part of the cancellation culture we are living in the United States.”
Emmanuel Alejandro Rondón is a journalist at El American specializing in the areas of American politics and media analysis // Emmanuel Alejandro Rondón es periodista de El American especializado en las áreas de política americana y análisis de medios de comunicación.
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