Where is Public Media’s “Influence of Immigrants?”

In Inquiring Gringos Want to Know, the Los Angeles Times’ Daniel Hernandez discusses Gustavo Arellano’s ‘Ask a Mexican‘ column in the OC Weekly. (Is there a way for a public media program to approach sensibilities’ such as Arellano’s?)

“I’m being exotic so that we can remember we’re not exotic,” Arellano said. “In any minority group, you’re always going to have this stigma that you perpetuate on yourself. ‘Oh, we’re a minority, we’re a minority.’ My response is ‘We’re not a minority. Let’s get over that and just say, All right, these are the problems we have.’ ” …

Since April, Arellano has been taking listeners’ questions live on the air on the conservative talk radio program “The Al Rantel Show” on KABC-AM (790).

“I’m a frothing-at-the-mouth right-winger,” said “Al Rantel Show” producer John Phillips, who contacted Arellano about doing “Ask a Mexican” on the radio. “The thing that Gustavo and Al and I have in common is, he’s absolutely as politically incorrect as they come. He has no problem saying things on his mind that he believes may or may not offend others.”

Also on the changed-American-culture beat, The New York Times reports that

MARKETERS are embracing America’s mishmash of cultures as the influence of immigrants is felt in areas like cuisine, music, holidays and clothing…”The U.S. consumer is exploring different flavors more now than before,” Ms. Montilla [of Pepsi] said. “We definitely will see a lot of crossing paths when it comes to innovation — innovation that is targeted to ethnic consumers but crosses over to the general market.”

I can think of little in the sound or style of public radio or TV that relfects the realities that Pepsi and Gustavo Arellano address. Are any of those phrases used above– mishmash of cultures, the influence of immigrants, exploring different flavors,a lot of crossing paths, politically incorrect— applicable to what is seen and heard on public media? What little comes to mind is cultural, and largely from community radio– Eduardo Calvillo’s Rock Sin Anestesia on WLUW, for instance, which really sounds like Chicago’s Rock en Espanol scene. Perhaps the World’s music programming, or Afropop Worldwide, both distributed by PRI. But in terms of journalistic content? Very little, if anything, reflects our changed world. One possible exception– the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC, which sounds more like the New York region than other stations’ shows sound like their cities. It even features an improved blog.
PS- NPR’s John Hendren had an excellent piece on the media tactics of the Iraqi insurgency.


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