Mitt Romney’s Spanish Language Fail and LA Times’ False Balance

Just when you were wondering if the Romney campaign could be any whiter and/or awkward around minorities and/or generally failtacular (is that a word?  Do I care?) we get this lovely update from Talking Points Memo

What’s more, some of the phrases in those ads are awkwardly translated, said Melisa Diaz, a Latino media consultant based inWashington, D.C., who has worked for the DemocraticNational Committee.

“Doing Fine?” would be more accurately translated as “Las cosas están bien?” Diaz said, while the proper phrase to convey “the right direction” would be “la dirección correcta,” not “la buena dirección,” as used in the ads. And the English idiom “Day One” would be better if phrased “El Primer Día,” not “Día Uno,” Diaz said.

“These kind of mistakes would not happen in an English-language ad,” she said. “You can tell that the ads were not proofed by a native speaker.”

Romney’s campaign isn’t having native Spanish speakers write its Spanish-language ads?  I’d be shocked if I didn’t think there’s a 75% chance the Romney campaign doesn’t employ even one such person.

Those of you who actually bother to click the link will notice that the quote I pulled comes not from Talking Points Memo but rather from a Los Angeles Times article, and might therefore be confused about why I’ve incorrectly attributed the quote.  Well, quite frankly, I’m boycotting that article as it is a prime example of the sort of ludicrous false balance this blog was created to seek out and destroy.

Check out the headline and subhead of that article (which I will not link to, directing traffic their way will only encourage them): “Presidential campaigns missing the mark in advertising to Latinos: President Obama and Mitt Romney have yet to adopt nuanced approach to targeting the country’s 21.3 million Latino voters, Spanish-language media experts say.”

From that head, the reader is given the distinct impression that Obama and Romney are being equivalently bad/negligent toward Latino voters.  In fact, given that Obama is listed first, we might rightly assume that his campaign has somehow been worse in that regard.  The secondary lead continues this theme:

Yet in a race defined by massive spending on television ads, fast-response Internet videos and sophisticated social media efforts, both President Obama and challenger Mitt Romneyhave fallen short thus far when it comes to targeting Latino voters electronically, according to some Spanish-language media experts.

But when we get into the actual meat of the article, we learn that in addition to botching translations, Romney has completely failed to create any message tailored to Latinos and spent minuscule amounts on Spanish-language advertising.  In the words of the media expert interviewed for the story, “(Romney) is doing as little as possible” to court the Latino vote.


The Obama campaign has a Spanish-language website, a Twitter feed for Latinos, an English-language website targeted at Latinos and a Spanish-language website on the benefits of theAffordable Care Act.

Additionally, the article says Obama has spent 51 times more than Romney on Spanish-language advertising in Ohio and North Carolina; has run two rounds of Spanish-language ads in Colorado, Nevada, and Florida; are keying their ads to issues dear to Latino voters; airing endorsements from Spanish-language TV personalities; and doing all of this apparently without ever sloppily inserting poorly-translated English idioms into the mix.

So what has Obama done wrong?

“They’re doing more in English-language media than they are in Spanish,” he said. “They need to step it up.”

That’s literally the only criticism listed in the article.

So let me get this straight.  Romney is “doing as little as possible” to court the Hispanic vote and is apparently having an intern run his English ads through Google Translate to create what little Spanish-language media he does produce, with the effect that his ads sound like they’re voiced by some sort of bizarro Borat.   Obama, by contrast, has invested millions of dollars in Spanish-language media, has never had a translation gaffe, and is absolutely murdering Romney among Latinos in the polls.

Yet, according to our esteemed Los Angeles Times reporter, “both President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney have fallen short thus far when it comes to targeting Latino voters.” Both of them.  Obama listed first.


Author: inuyesta

Law student with Josh Lyman dreams in a Toby Ziegler reality.


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