View Full Version : After uproar, Univision pulls ad discouraging Latinos from voting

19 Oct 10,, 23:51
Tue Oct 19, 2:31 pm ET
After uproar, Univision pulls ad discouraging Latinos from voting
By Liz Goodwin

By Liz Goodwin liz Goodwin Tue Oct 19, 2:31 pm ET

Latinos for Reform The Spanish-language station Univision has announced it will not longer air ads telling Latinos to stay home on Election Day.

"Don't vote this November," the English version of the ads says, while playing images of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other Democrats. "This is the only way to send them a clear message: 'You can no longer take us for granted.' Don't vote."

The decision to pull the ads came after a wave of outrage from Latino leaders.

"I think there's nothing more cynical than to encourage people to make themselves irrelevant," Arturo Vargas, director of the nonpartisan National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, told The Upshot. "I hope Univision makes the decision not to run the ads."

Vargas joins a slew of Latino leaders in Nevada who asked the Univision network to refrain from running the ad. Fernando Romero, president of Hispanics in Politics, told KTNV the message must be "denounced."

Univision confirmed to The Upshot that it will no longer run the ads.

"Univision will not be running any spots from Latinos for Reform related to voting," the statement said. "Univision prides itself on promoting civic engagement and our extensive national campaigns encourage Hispanics to vote."

You can watch the ad below:

Robert de Posada, a former Republican National Committee official whose group "Latinos for Reform" is behind the ad, tells The Upshot he is "totally shocked" that Univision has rejected the ads and that he is considering taking legal action. He says the network approved the ad on Friday and ran five spots this morning. De Posada says it's "absurd" to accuse the ads of encouraging disenfranchisement. "Disenfranchisement is happening right now," he said. "One party is taking us for granted while another is writing us off."

The ads, which de Posada says are funded by individual donations that are all under $5,000, were intended to run in Nevada, California, Florida, and maybe Colorado, pending the group's finances. De Posada says he doesn't know where they will air now since Univision has a "monopoly" on the market.

De Posada, who has appeared on Univision before to offer political commentary, denied charges that the ads are designed to help Republican candidates, since Latinos overwhelmingly vote for Democrats. Nevada Senate hopeful Sharron Angle, for example, has made cracking down on illegal immigration a centerpiece of her campaign, and yesterday told a group of Latino students that some of them looked Asian when defending her use of stock images of Hispanics in anti-illegal immigration ads. Reid supports immigration reform, but has not brought the matter to a vote after losing the support of Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham. De Posada argues that for the Latino community, either candidate is equally bad.

"If Sharron Angle wins it would be very similar to if Harry Reid wins reelection: Nothing is going to happen," he says. "We are the ones allowing people to take us for granted. If she gets in there, she's not someone we can count on, but it sends a message to future politicians and politicians in Congress that they need to be taking us seriously. We don't benefit from either one of them."

De Posada says he wishes he could advise Latinos to vote Republican, but that the GOP's opposition to reform and anti-illegal immigration rhetoric makes that impossible. He says Latino voters should still participate in local election balloting.

"We're angry at the rhetoric from some of the more conservative members of the party. We're simply very disappointed with what they're doing. We could not reward that kind of rhetoric [by asking people to vote for Republicans]," he said.

Vargas says he thinks the plea will fall on deaf ears. "We're going to do anything we can to surpass projections that 6.5 million Latinos will vote on November 2," he says. "That's a million more than voted in 2006."

De Posada's group existed as a 527 in the 2008 election, when it drew attention for radio aids claiming Barack Obama put the needs of African-Americans over Hispanics.

(Photo: Screenshot from ad.)