The president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists announced Thursday that the organization is dropping Fox News as a sponsor at the Excellence In Journalism conference in San Antonio next month.
NAHJ president Hugo Balta said in a statement Thursday that it is “important that news organizations do not use or give a platform to slanted jargon disguised as opinion that misconstrues the facts.”
Balta particularly took aim at Fox News radio host Todd Starnes, who Balta said used “prejudiced language directed against Latino immigrants as opinionated commentary.”
“Starnes unapologetically states that America has ‘suffered’ from the ‘invasion of a rampaging hoard of illegal aliens,’ claiming that most ‘illegal immigrants’ are violent criminals as well as casually using a reference for their immigration to the United States with the Nazis invading France and Western Europe in World War II,” Balta said.
Balta noted that Starnes’ comments came less than two weeks after the mass shooting in El Paso.
“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.
Balta also said that the move to drop Fox News’ sponsorship “follows years of ongoing NAHJ conversations with Fox News and recent meetings with management.”
As a result of “passive action and insincerity to ongoing conversations,” Balta said that the NAHJ will return $16,666 to Fox and has asked co-conference partners the Society of Professional Journalists and the Radio Television Digital News Association to join NAHJ in returning their $16,666 share of the $50,000 in sponsorship dollars.
When asked for comment, Fox News shared the following statement with TPM Thursday from vice president of diversity and inclusion Marsheila Hayes:
“It is unfortunate the country’s main organization for Hispanic journalists has chosen to exclude FOX News from their upcoming convention. 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.”
Read the letter from NAHJ’s president here.