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Latino Activists Fight to Keep José Díaz-Balart on Air

First Posted: Sep 28, 2015 05:01 PM EDT
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José Díaz-Balart Petition

Photo : Twitter/DRMAction

Latino activists sent a strong message to MSNBC on Monday, hand-delivering over 7,000 signatures in support of the network's only Latino anchorman, Jose Diaz-Balart, in wake of rumors that his show might be cancelled.

In addition to being the network's only Latino anchor, Diaz-Balart is known as a valuable voice for the Hispanic community and for his consistent coverage on important issues like immigration reform. However, earlier this month, Mediaite reported that the left-leaning station was planning to shave an hour off of "The Rundown with Jose Diaz-Balart," which currently runs from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. ET on weekday mornings in in order to expand "Morning Joe."

Following the report, the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA) wrote a letter to MSNBC executives Andrew Lack and Phil Griffin, voicing outrage about the network's plan to cut Diaz-Balart's show by an hour.

In the private letter, which was obtained by BuzzFeed, NHLA Chairman Felix Sanchez made note of a prior meeting that the Latino group had with the network's heads in order to "increase Latino representation on MSNBC." Sanchez also warned that if reports to cut Diaz-Balart are true, then the group will show "strong opposition" to the decision.

As opposition against MSNBC's possible cut down or cancellation of "The Rundown" grew, America's Voice Education Fund collected nearly 8,000 signatures via Moveon.org and AV.org. Activists from the group, along with the Dream Action Coalition, then delivered the signatures to the MSNBC studios in New York City.

"José Díaz-Balart built his career at Telemundo and has strong ties to the immigrant and latino communities, but now MSNBC may be ending his show just so that they can give an extra hour to "Morning Joe," reads the petition.

"Every morning, José Díaz-Balart reports the facts about immigrant contributions in the United States," the petition adds. "He's a critical voice for millions of immigrant families across the country."

"As a journalist, it has been José Díaz-Balart who has spoken to President Obama about his executive actions, challenged Donald Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric, and has consistently spoken to DREAMers about their advocacy efforts."

"MSNBC cannot have it both way -- they cannot claim to be a reliable cable news network, while silencing journalists like José Díaz-Balart."

In a press release sent to Latin Post, Cesar Vargas, Co-Founder of Dream Action Coalition, said, "Jose Diaz-Balart is an important voice for the Latino community across the country and MSNBC should honor this significance by not only keeping him on the show, but by ensuring other voices are brought in to speak to a diverse community."

Likewise, Juan Escalante, Digital Campaigns Manager for America's Voice Education Fund, added that "José Díaz-Balart is one of the most respected journalists in the national media today, and has consistently provided fair and balanced coverage on the issues that matter most to immigrants and Latinos. We need voices like Jose's, journalists who report on the contributions our communities make across the country, in order to combat the anti-immigrant rhetoric that continues to be spread each and every day."

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