New MSNBC anchor José Díaz-Balart will receive an award from the National Council of La Raza, the nation’s largest Hispanic advocacy group, during its annual convention in Los Angeles this week.
“This is a very special honor, coming as it does from an organization with the history of service of NCLR,” Díaz-Balart, a Telemundo personality recruited to raise the ratings of the struggling news network, said in a statement after his Rubén Salazar Award for Communications was announced.
The award from La Raza comes as Díaz-Balart fights back against accusations that he is pushing a pro-amnesty agenda in his broadcasts.
“[My show] really is about opening up lines of dialogue, opening up to other communities, opening up to other thoughts across the board,” he told TVNewser last week. “I’m not an activist, I’m a journalist.”
But critics of Díaz-Balart have claimed that in just one week on MSNBC he has favorably portrayed illegal immigrants and their trials, all while subtly advocating for amnesty.
For example, to kick off his first broadcast on the network last week, Díaz-Balart interviewed a Honduran teenager using the name “Maria,” who came into the country unaccompanied and without documentation. Immediately after giving a Maria forum to describe her arduous journey to and illegal residency in the United States, Díaz-Balart spoke with La Raza president and CEO Janet Murguía, who in turn strongly advocated her organization’s stance in favor of amnesty for illegal aliens.
Additionally, as recently as Monday’s broadcast from La Raza’s convention in Los Angeles, Díaz-Balart said the House of Representative “has a responsibility” to hold an up-or-down vote on the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill. He also suggested that the unaccompanied children from Central America are entering the U.S. through illegal and treacherous methods because they feel it is the only way due to the House’s failure to pass the bill.
La Raza has made similar demands when the Senate passed the bill last year. Although the Senate’s so-called Gang of Eight bill proved vastly unpopular and all similar efforts have died quickly in the House, the organization repeated its insistence shortly after Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) was elected as the House’s new majority leader last month.
This is Díaz-Balart’s second award from a left-leaning organization this year. In June, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute announced he will receive that group’s annual Medallion of Excellence Award in October. He will receive the award along with union activist Eliseo Medina, who serves as secretary-treasurer of SEIU and is an honorary chair of the Democratic Socialists of America.
Along with his MSNBC show, Díaz-Balart also hosts Telemundo’s news program, Noticiero Telemundo, as well as its Sunday morning political talk show, Enfoque.
— Andrew Johnson is an editorial associate at National Review Online.