Latino Voices

Fox News Infuriates Latino Journalists With Insult Aimed At Kids

The National Association of Hispanic Journalists doesn’t think a recent Fox News segment was very fair and balanced.

NAHJ President Hugo Balta blasted the conservative news organization for mischaracterizing Latinos in a segment that referred to U.S. citizens with undocumented parents as “children of the corn.”

Chris Wallace guest-hosted the Sept. 19 edition of Fox News “Special Report, according to Media Matters, where he covered a recent analysis by Los Angeles county that estimated undocumented parents would receive some $650 million in government benefits this year. But the segment did not clarify that the undocumented immigrants received the assistance to benefit their U.S. citizen children.

As Wallace spoke, a graphic appeared in the upper right corner reading “children of the corn,” the title of Stephen King horror story that has been adapted to film. It’s not clear what the term meant, though presumably it refers to role of corn in the Mexican diet. Balta writes:

There were many things wrong with this segment, beginning with the use of the derogatory term “illegal immigrant” and undocumented in the same breath as if these terms are interchangeable – of course they’re not. That inaccuracy was compounded by the use of a graphic that read “Children of the Corn”. There have been many speculations as to what this meant – but one thing is certain it invoked a negative image.

The National Association of Hispanic Journalists has reached out to FOX News in an effort to get a better understanding of how this segment, riddled with basic misinformation and disdainful images made air. It is apparent that the segment went through many decision making filters who felt the finished product was editorially sound. NAHJ asks, “who are these journalists?” Experience has shown that most likely none were representative of the Latino community.

NAHJ has opposed the use of the term “illegal immigrant” for years. Recently, the Associated Press eschewed the term from its stylebook, prompting several other news publications, including USA Today and the Los Angeles Times, to follow suit. The New York Times continue to use the term “illegal immigrant,” as does Fox News.

Fox News did not immediately respond to emails requesting comment about the “children of the corn” segment.

U.S. economists generally agree that immigration, including illegal immigration, benefits the national economy as a whole, though it can lead to wage depreciation for workers in some fields who compete for jobs with undocumented laborers.


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