News Analysis: Sparks Fly at Hispanic Media Outlets over May 1st Boycott

Many news media organizations are finding themselves in a difficult position regarding the controversial immigrant boycott planned for May 1.

Some, such as Houston's El Dia have been quite vocal in their support of the boycott. After running the headline “Let's all go to the march,” and proclaiming “No human is illegal," the paper has been the target of intense anger and hate-mail from those who oppose the boycott. Editor Pedro Arévalo stands behind his decision, affirming the importance of reflecting the voice of the community in his newspaper's pages.

Other organizations are deciding to take a less provocative stance, yet drawing fire from the other side of the debate. Univisión has been the subject of immigrant advocates' wrath after the mega-broadcaster allegedly circulated a memorandum instructing its on-air personalities to steer clear of the debate.

Perhaps this might be a case of history being written by the victors. After all, right now Hispanics across the country are deciding to either boycott or not, and the righteousness of the various news outlet's current positions on the issue will likely be judged by the success of the demonstration.

If the boycott is largely successful, outlets like Univisión may well be criticized for taking such a weak stance and ignoring the passionate viewpoints of its customers. Even if the boycott is not a resounding success, Hispanic news outlets that have been quiet on the subject may be held responsible for stifling the movement's momentum.

Another interesting angle is how this might affect advertising revenue for the respective media outlets. If the boycott is an unmitigated success, then Hispanic papers such as El Dia could be rewarded with more advertising interest, as they will benefit from increased credibility stemming from their in-step position with their readership.