By Dom Serafini
The most powerful tool available for political campaigns in the U.S. is not being used:
Ethnic media. A New California Media (NCM) report called it “The Giant Hidden in Plain Sight.”
For example, during the 2020 election cycle, which included the presidential campaign, some $8.5 billion was spent across TV, radio, print, and digital media.
Of this, $4.7 billion was spent by Democrats, $2.7 billion by Republicans, and $1.1 billion by independents.
Broadcast television took the bulk of the ad spend (60 percent), while cable TV garnered 18 percent (as did digital media). The remaining $400 million went to radio. It is unclear how much print media received and if print media ad spend included digital editions.
With the exception of some Latino-Hispanic television channels, ethnic media was largely ignored by the U.S. political campaigns, and that includes television, radio, print publications, and digital media.
We’re talking about some 380 ethnic media outlets that could be added to 422 Latin-Hispanic media outlets, for a grand total of more than 800 outlets, according to the Knight Foundation, a Miami, Florida-based organization involved in journalism and arts.
NCM reported that 29 million adults in the U.S. are primary consumers of ethnic media, plus an additional 22 million are reached on a regular basis. Basically, that’s 19 percent of the U.S. adult population that was hardly reached by political messages.
This attitude can only be explained by the tunnel vision of U.S. politicians, which tends to be reflected in the government’s poor performance with regard to foreign policies, international trade, and global agreements.
What further astonishes is that even in those states where ethnic media have a strong presence, they’re routinely ignored during local, state, and national elections. For example, according to the Knight Foundation, California, with its 142 ethnic media outlets, is the U.S. state with the largest number of ethnic media outlets, followed by Texas with 96, New York with 91, and Florida with 76.
It is also astonishing how resilient this type of media is. It is kept alive mainly by the support, interest, and sheer determination of the ethnic U.S. population that is not yet on the radar screens of highly–paid political consultants. And that reality validates “The Giant Hidden in Plain Sight” epithet.