Guest Column

Why Gannongate matters to Hispanic Americans.

By Elsa Salazar Cade
   Yes, it is a sordid affair. Prostitutes have been hiding in the White House Press Corps. But, it isn't about prostitutes because many of us know that prostitution is a way for the poorest of people to feed  and care for their families. So, I refuse to slam them. As for gay men, I have know some and found them to be noble and caring in spite of the  hatred that is constantly heaped on them. So I don't have any problem with them. I don't have problems with reporters as I regarded them as our eyes and ears on the ground to help us understand the things we  didn't have time or money to investigate ourselves. So, a male reporter that prostitutes on the side, no biggie. Yawn

   But wait, this guy was sitting in the White House press Corps for two years under an alias! When this surfaced, Scott McClellan said, "I don't think it's the role of  the press secretary to get into being a  media critic or to get into the role of  picking or choosing who gets  press credentials." But this guy walked into the briefing room with a daily pass for over TWO years! What about the FBI check?  Mcclellen  called him by his fake name over and over again when the questions for  Mr. Bush got tough! "Go ahead, Jeff."

   Why Jeff? In a time when the Hispanic American population is now the largest minority and issues important to Hispanics are at the  forefront. Why not, “Go ahead Miguel/Yolanda"?  

    The Center for Media and Public affairs report released in February  2004 said "Hispanic Highpoint—Though relatively small,  Hispanic-American representation rose one-third to a new high in 2003.  (3.2%, up from 2.4%) With 114 stories, NBC’s Jim Avila was responsible  for the bulk of this figure but CBS’ Vince Gonzalez (39 stories) and  ABC’s Barbara Pinto (34 stories) also contributed to the record high. (Hispanic-Americans made up 13 percent of the American population in  2001.)"  That is 3% of a population comprising 13%! On top of that, a  survey by the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Hispanic  journalists comprise only 4 percent of the newspaper workforce,  although the percentage of the total Latino population is triple that  amount.

    The 9th Annual Network Brownout Report prepared for the National  Association of Hispanic Journalists reports that out of 16,000 stories  that aired on the network evening newscasts in 2003, only 131 stories,  or 0.82 percent, were exclusively about Latinos. This was an increase  from 2002 when there were 120 stories about Latinos (0.75 percent).   You can find the Brownout Report here:  http://www.nahj.org/nahjnews/articles/2004/december/ 121304_networkbrownout.shtml  If you are a student in English/Spanish/  journalism, you can join for $25.00 and get access to any number of  possible internships!

   But hey, a closeted gay prostitute gay-bashing fake reporter gets  easy access and gets to lob "soft ball" questions at the President for  two years. And how about Williams? When, African American reporters are  also at very low levels, a prominent and highly visible African  American reporter, Armstrong Williams, the syndicated commentator, was  paid $240000 to push the Bush version of No Child Left Behind. Till it  was found out! We now know he isn't the only one. How many "reporters"  are shilling for Bush and how about all the others who are just too  scared?

   The Hispanic community has been pounded by the Bush administration left and right on issues. Here’s a  partial list:

    Charter schools versus better school funding for kids at risk.

    Cut backs in educational funding so those who are better off get tax  breaks.

    Cuts in veteran's benefits when a huge portion of returning vets are  poor whites, African Americans, and Hispanic Americans.

    Military recruiters, instead of school counselors.

    Increasingly poor relations with both Mexico and Canada, not to mention Europe and the Middle East.

    Outsourcing jobs, and illegal immigration. Not to even mention the war in Iraq, where our boys are coming back like looking like robot-cops. Thanks to modern medicine, the death count is much lower but the amputee count has yet to been addressed. How 
are these brave young men going to put their lives back together?

Let me remind you, politicians like to return to their jobs in Congress and White House and keep track of the people that contact them about the  various issues. If they don't hear from you then they think it doesn't matter to you. Squeaky wheel gets the grease.  Lets be hear! Que nos  oigan el grito!

Write or call your congressman. Even if you disagree with me, let them  know what really bothers you. You can find them at:Your Representatives in Congress
http://www.house.gov/house/MemberWWW.shtml Your Senators
http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

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Elsa Salazar Cade can be reached at: From: ecade@telusplanet.net