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Supporters Deliver Nearly 8,000 Signatures Demanding MSNBC Keep José Díaz-Balart On Air

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Earlier today, DRM Action and supporters delivered nearly 8,000 signatures to MSNBC studios demanding the network keep journalist José Díaz-Balart on their weekday morning schedule:

“José Díaz-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,” said Cesar Vargas of DRM Action. The petition was launched earlier this month by AV’s Juan Escalante, after reports indicated that the journalist’s two-hour show was at risk of getting either shortened or cancelled to accommodate the expansion of “Morning Joe” from two hours to four hours. Currently, Díaz-Balart is MSNBC’s sole Latino anchor. And, as Escalante noted, viewers, multiple Latino groups, and high-profile organizers are concerned the show’s possible elimination by MSNBC could come at a severe cost to the community as anti-Latino sentiment has exploded:

At a time when anti-immigrant sentiment is brewing, thanks in part to the rhetoric coming out of Donald Trump’s campaign and supporters, it is journalists like José Díaz-Balart who provide fair and balanced coverage on issues that are of relevance and importance to Latinos and immigrants. Hector Sanchez, chairman of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, and Alex Nogales, the president and CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, have signed a letter addressed to NBC News and MSNBC about Mr. Diaz-Balart’s future in the network: “In light of our recent meeting where we were assured that more Latino representation would be a priority for the network, any changes to minimize or eliminate José Díaz-Balart’s two-hour show will be [met] with strong organizational opposition.” Having built his career at Telemundo, José Díaz-Balart has demonstrated that he is willing to go above and beyond his duty as a journalist. Before Jorge Ramos, another respected journalist within the Spanish language media, was ejected from a Donald Trump press conference and consequently insulted by one of his supporters, it was Jose Diaz-Balart who was asking the tough questions on immigration from Donald Trump. When it comes to speaking with Dreamers about their advocacy efforts and their accomplishment, it has been José Díaz-Balart who has welcomed them time and time again to his show “The Rundown.”  When President Obama’s executive actions on immigration were met with delays and criticism from Republicans, it was José Díaz-Balart who hosted him in Miami for a townhall discussion that sought to reassure our community about the DACA and DAPA programs.

MSNBC has not made an official announcement regarding their final decision as of yet. But as Escalante noted, elimination of the show “will send a strong message to Latinos, immigrants and its current viewership, that there is no place for their only Latino anchorman.”