A Critical Reader
Edited By Yolanda Medina and Ángeles Donoso Macaya
This book is an indispensable resource for scholars, researchers, educators, undergraduate and graduate students, as well as any individual, group, or organization interested in issues that affect Latinas/os in the United States in current times.
Policing the Latina/o Other: Latinidad in Prime-Time News Coverage of the Elián González Story
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Policing the Latina/o Other
Latinidad in Prime-Time News Coverage of the Elián González Story
Isabel Molina Guzmán
Although U.S. Latinas/Latinos remain generally invisible in the mainstream news, there continue to circulate those exceptional stories (Méndez-Méndez & Alverio, 2001, 2002; Subervi-Vélez, 2005)— recent raids on undocumented immigrants, the 2006 immigration rights marches and the 1999–2000 custody battle over Cuban refugee Elián González. In this chapter I specifically focus attention on the Elián case in order to provide a broader theoretical framework for studying the symbolic dimensions and ideological repercussions of mainstream television news coverage of Cuban identity and Latinidad. The Elián case is particularly important because it remains one of the most covered stories in television news history, second only to the O. J. Simpson trial (Center for Media and Public Affairs, 2000). Indeed, the four major U.S. television news networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN) devoted 36.5 hours or 5 percent of their overall programming time to coverage of the conflict between conservative U.S Cubans and the U.S. federal government (Méndez-Méndez & Alverio, 2001). In addition to the high amounts of television news coverage, the case was also followed with interest by a large majority, 78 percent, of the U.S. population (Gillepsie, 2000). The unprecedented public interest along with the extraordinary level of news coverage surrounding the Elián story makes it an iconic case in...
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