FWIW: “Fox News meets the Daily Wire for Latinos”

A new bilingual Latino-focused news site regularly attacks Democrats, boosts DeSantis

It’s been a week! Trump’s blog has been shut down for good, Facebook might start holding politicians accountable more often, and elections in Virginia and New York City are in their final stretch. In this week’s FWIW, we break down digital ad spending on all the major platforms and introduce you to one of the newest right-wing digital media sites that plans to reach millions of Latinos with fringe content. 

But first...

By the Numbers:

Here’s how much political campaigns & issue advocacy groups spent on Google advertising last week:

Top spenders last week include Terry McAuliffe, who is sprinting to the finish of the Democratic Primary election in Virginia next Tuesday, and “Strong Leadership NYC,” an outside group supporting Eric Adams for mayor of New York. 

The most notable new advertising campaign on Google platforms last week was from a fringe anti-immigrant organization, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). The group launched a new wave of ads claiming there’s a surge of migrants at the southern border who were invited to cross illegally by President Biden himself. 🙄 The low-production value spots are targeting over a dozen swing district House members from Arizona to Georgia.  

… and here are the top 10 political advertisers on Facebook & Instagram last week:

Florida Rep. Val Demings, who is gearing up for an epic campaign against Sen. Marco Rubio next year, has been spending *a lot* of money on Facebook recently, dropping over $415,000 on fundraising & list-building ads over the past 90 days. 🏆 In next week’s issue, we’ll take a closer look at the state of U.S. Senate campaign spending - stay tuned. 

For those keeping score, Facebook has now “spent” more than $5 million in the past 90 days on their own platform pushing the same ads that all of our readers have most definitely seen in their newsfeeds, advocating for “an update” to internet regulations:

FWIW, here are the top political advertisers on Snapchat since the conclusion of the Georgia runoff elections:

“Fox News meets the Daily Wire for Latinos”

One week before Election Day 2020, a new far-right digital media outlet geared towards reaching Latino audiences quietly launched without much fanfare. Founded by Venezuelan producer Jorge Granier and entrepreneur Carlos Penzini, the Miami-based El American is a new platform that aims to be “Fox News meets The Daily Wire for Latinos.”

El American’s website doesn’t disclose its ownership or management by Granier or Penzini, and neither lists the company publicly on their Twitter profiles or LinkedIn accounts. The site does, however, have a bizarre About Page claiming its mission is to “save America from the barbarians.”

Barbarians indeed. The content El American publishes is bilingual, often more extreme than right-wing mainstays like The Daily Caller and FOX, and many of their stories don’t contain bylines. They have a demonstrated pattern of publishing negative, inflammatory, or misleading stories on the Biden administration and general Culture War garbage, and they repeatedly publish favorable content about one politician: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. 🤔 

We don’t know all of their investors or if they come from Republican politics or the conservative donor world. But after some digging, we found a PDF of El American’s investor pitch deck online 👀 and it very clearly outlines Penzini and Granier’s plans to reach millions of Latinos with hardline messaging and this type of partisan content: 

So far, the site’s reach is limited to an engaged audience on Twitter, but they’re quickly growing on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and elsewhere. In the next 9-12 months, the founders’ aim is to reach 7 million monthly site visitors, and they could be well-positioned to hit that goal. El American’s writers, which include the wife of Dinesh D’souza and other activists - many of whom don’t live in the United States - have hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers and years of experience in digital media. From LinkedIn and their website, it appears El American has at least two dozen individuals on their payroll. 

We’re sharing all this because El American is just one more example of an ever-growing right-wing media ecosystem that is deliberately reaching audiences year-round with content that most certainly impacts our elections. We know that platforms like Facebook are where this type of content can take off and spread like wildfire. 

And, we know that Republicans have been making inroads for years with different communities of Latino voters. With statewide campaigns aggressively courting their votes next year in Florida and elsewhere, progressives should keep an eye on how this kind of content - from El American or others - is reaching these audiences.

Tracking the battle for control of the Commonwealth

As we mentioned before, next Tuesday is the Democratic primary for Virginia’s statewide and House of Delegates elections. In this week’s issue of FWIW Virginia, we have a final preview of the Democratic primaries as we head into the General Election.

Read FWIW Virginia

That’s it for FWIW this week! If you enjoyed reading today’s newsletter, forward it to a few friends, or share your thoughts on Twitter!