I know what you’re thinking.
“Hey, Hispanic Fanatic, wouldn’t this country be better off if huge corporations called more of the shots?”
Yes, I’m nothing if not a shill for the benefits of global conglomerates having even more control over our society. I mean, when has big business ever screwed us over?
While you ponder that most rhetorical of questions, I will draw your attention to a recent study that looked at media company mergers.
Researchers at Columbia University’s Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race analyzed media company mergers after 2008, but they focused on the Comcast-NBCUniversal deal because it was the largest and well documented.
Now, remember that one of the many arguments that media groups make when merging is that their new tentacled beast of an organization will increase racial and ethnic diversity. These new companies will also make the internet free, cure cancer, and teach your dog to speak, but I digress.
So how did the Comcast-NBCUniversal merger do?
Well, the researchers found that “despite a pledge to increase Latino representation in programming, there was no significant increase in diversity behind the camera.”
The percentage of Latino directors went up a meager 0.8% after the merger. But the percentage of Hispanic producers, executive producers, and writers all actually decreased.
Yikes — that ain’t so good.
To be fair, the study also found that the percentage of Hispanic actors onscreen increased from 6.6% before the merger to 7.3% afterward. That’s good news, right? Well, even that mild improvement comes with a caveat, as deeper analysis shows that this increase “was accompanied by a significant rise in Latino stereotypes on NBCUniversal. Latinos who appeared as maids, janitors, [and] inmates” nearly tripled from 2008 to 2014.
Basically, more shows were hiring more Hispanics to appear as servants and thugs.
Yay for progress!
By the way, before the merger, Comcast and NBCUniversal had no Latino executives. But today, 4 out of 130 senior executives are Latino, accounting for 3.1% of upper management. However, only one (yes, one Latino executive in the whole company) holds a position outside of Telemundo.
Now, one can look at this study and link it to the current uproar that Hispanics, African Americans, and Asian Americans are a combined 0-for-40 when it comes to recent Oscar nominations for acting.
When we do that, we must come to the conclusion that, as the researchers so diplomatically put it, “The agreements and promises made before the merger [aren’t] really panning out.”
But I’m sure things will be different when the next big media merger happens. Next time, all their promises will magically come true.