The New Republic
Roger Ailes says he plans to make Fox News more Hispanic-friendly, partly because it would be a “tremendous business opportunity.” The New Republic’s Eliza Gray, who talked with Ailes, explains more of his thinking behind the plan:
Mitt Romney lost the Latino vote by nearly 50 points, and now almost everyone agrees that the Republican Party needs to improve with Hispanic voters to have a shot at the White House in 2016. That could also be Ailes’s last year at Fox News: His contract expires then, when he’ll be 76 years old. So if Roger Ailes wants to see a Republican win what may be his last presidential election as a major player, he’ll need to try to make conservatism more palatable to Latinos. Which, of course, he will.
“The fact is, we have a lot—Republicans have a lot more opportunity for them,” Ailes says. “If I’m going to risk my life to run over the fence to get into America, I want to win. I think Fox News will articulate that.”
Ailes, who wouldn’t go into specifics about his plan, told Gray he thinks the Hispanic audience is “an essentially traditional audience that will go to Fox News for traditional American values.”
One of the challenges for Fox News will be changing the tone of its immigration coverage. Ailes alluded to this, saying: “Republicans haven’t used the right language. They keep talking about illegal immigration.”
Fox’s Sean Hannity told Gray “I’ve used ‘illegals’ all these years I’ve been on TV … I don’t see it as an offensive term.”
A recent National Hispanic Media Coalition survey found that Fox News audiences are “more likely to hold negative stereotypes about Latinos compared to less ideologically oriented broadcast news networks.” Additionally, they’re “more likely to agree that Latinos are on welfare (56%), take jobs from Americans (43%) and have too many children (42%) compared to ABC, NBC, CBS and MSNBC audiences.”
Fox News has tried in the past to reach more Latinos. Three years ago, the network created Fox News Latino, a news site for Hispanic Americans. “There’s an assumption that Fox News Latino is softer on Latinos than Fox News in general,” Ailes tells Gray. “That’s ridiculous.”
Ailes says he wants conservative Hispanics to turn not just to Fox News Latino, but to Fox News as well.