Huffington Post Latino Voices Kind of Sucks

Generally, I enjoy checking out the main page of Huffington Post. Over the last few years it’s been a pretty good source of criticism of political incompetence, both by the Republican and now Democratic administration. It can also be a good way to tap into the Zeitgeist through videos that capture great moments in cable news shows as well as viral video. I began to become skeptical after the merger with aol.com, probably the information age’s dumbest portal ever, and of course have never been happy with their policy of not paying many of their writers, regardless of the legal merits of Jonathan Tasini’s lawsuit.

So when they started this new “Latino Voices” section, I was somewhat intrigued, though not really expecting much. But the fact of the matter is, it kind of sucks. Today’s lead post notwithstanding–written by a real giant, someone I admire, Luis Rodriguez, responding to the moronic anti-Mexican rant by comedian Katt Williams–the section is a lifeless and haphazard pastiche of items that are sometimes informative but other times poorly edited and counter-productive to the needs of Latino readers.

I guess it’s to be expected that since 65% of U.S. Latinos are of Mexican descent, the majority of stories are about Mexico or Mexican-Americans, but it would be nice to feature Caribbean-oriented, or “East Coast” Latino stories a little more prominently. Most of these stories so far are also of the celebrity category–Jennifer Lopez, Zoe Saldaña. Puerto Rico of course popped into the headlines with the Roberto Arango nude-photo controversy–but would there have been any mention of that island’s politics if there weren’t an Anthony Weiner moment involved?

I gotta say those links to Fox Latino turn me off. Did you ever notice that if you’re on Fox Latino’s page there is an easy link to Fox Nation, which Huffington Post mainstream recently revealed posted a racist photo montage depicting Obama’s 50th birthday party as a hiphop BBQ? And how about this puff piece pumping up media monopolists Comcast and their attempt to show that they are concerned about the poor’s access to broadband internet access? So, mainstream Huffpost criticisms of Fox News racism and corporate monopolies are good enough for mainstream readers, but not us?

It may sound like nitpicking, but simple proofreading to correct glaring spelling errors is a good way to run a respectable media outlet. This piece touting Latino leadership has a reference to an obscure state called “Road Island” that has still not been corrected. And this story about emerging Dominican political power in New York incorrectly states that “in New York City alone, Dominicans account for 150,000 people, followed by Puerto Ricans at 108,000 and Mexicans at 42,000.” Those figures might be an estimate of populations in Manhattan, but Angelo Falcón of the National Institute for Latino Policy tells me that the correct figures are

Mexican

319,263

Puerto Rican

723,621

Cuban

40,840

Dominican Republic

576,701

Manhattan; New York City as a whole. Big difference.

Finally, I would like to know who commissioned Dee Dee Blase, leader of the “Tequila Party,” whose exploits were documented in a previous post, to write this incoherent column about Marco Rubio. Firstly, the writing is abysmal, barely high-school level. She feels like she needs to explain the Trojan Horse myth as if it were not something the average reader could grasp. This goes on for two paragraphs. Then, her analogy makes no sense, since there’s nothing stealth about Rubio. Finally, we don’t need a conservative Republican to explain to Latinos that Florida, a hotbed of conservative Republican Latinos, supports nefarious policies directed against Latinos. And how about this conclusion, which tidily refers back to the Trojan Horse theme:

Indeed, within the last decade the Republican Party has transformed since 2000 when they used to fight to keep Elian Gonzales as Latinos galvanized themselves in Florida. Now we see the GOP using Marco Rubio as a Trojan Horse today to deport the “Mexican equivalents” to Elian Gonzales, and this will only serve to galvanize Latinos in the entire southwest against Republicans during the 2012 election cycle. 

Is there anything about these sentences that make any logical or even grammatical sense? I won’t even mention that Elián González is misspelled.

So listen, Huffpost Latino Voices: It’s not working. Get back to me when you have a section that takes Latinos seriously, or at least as seriously as you seem to take your mainstream readers.

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