FL Taxpayers to Subsidize Cable Channel Pushing Immigration Reform

Florida taxpayers are set to subsidize a joint venture between Univision and ABC that will try to use a new cable channel to "own" the debate on comprehensive immigration reform. 

According to a report in the Miami Herald, Fusion, the cable channel that will debut on October 28 in roughly 20 million homes, may collect nearly $10 million in subsidies "pledged by Miami-Dade County and Florida for the new venture, with the state contributing $7 million to the package."

Fusion's facility opened on Wednesday in Doral, Florida and, in return for the subsidies, Univision has reportedly "pledged to spend $247 million on the new complex over many years."

Jorge Ramos, the host of Univision's Al Punto Sunday Show, will anchor a one-hour show at 8 PM on Fusion, and he was clear that the channel will intend to "own" the immigration debate "from the first hour." On his Sunday show, Ramos has been a fierce advocate of comprehensive immigration reform. On a recent episode, Ramos interviewed citizen-activist D.A. King, a staunch opponent of amnesty. Ramos's first question to King was, "Why do you hate immigrants so much?"

“We’re going to come out on Oct. 28th, and if the House doesn’t approve immigration reform by then, then there’s going to be a new, very loud voice in Fusion, talking about immigration every single night until immigration reform passes,” Ramos told The Huffington Post in a recent interview.

As the Herald notes, Fusion is "partly a hedge against the aging of Univision’s primetime audience of nearly 4 million Spanish-speaking residents, as their children and grandchildren increasingly turn to English-language programming."

Though "Nielsen ratings show Univision drawing an average prime-time audience of 3.6 million, large enough for it to be the No. 1 network in any language during the summer re-run season," a Pew Research poll found that "half of Hispanic Latino adults get their news in both Spanish and English, while the number relying solely on Spanish-language news sources dropped from 22 percent in 2006 to 18 percent in 2012."

The channel also plans to target so-called millennials, and some of their hosts do not speak Spanish. The network has even hired a former producer for The Daily Show to produce satire programming on news and sports.


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