The National Hispanic Media Coalition said Wednesday that the media is nourishing "negative stereotypes" about the Latino community among the general public.
Media treatment of Hispanics "influences the way of thinking about Latinos," NHMC President Alex Nogales told Efe.
"It has a lot to do with the media that the public consumes, above all the most conservative," he said at the presentation of a study discussing the problem.
Nogales extended his hand to other U.S. minorities, such as Asians and the gay and lesbian community, offering to work together "against the inciting of hate in the media and to lobby for more positive representations."
The study says that viewers, after consuming just one minute of audiovisual content, tend to change their opinion about Hispanics for the better if the messages are positive and for the worse if they are negative.
The NHMC also said that media consumers are used to conceiving of Latinos as a single homogenous bloc and that 17 percent of the people surveyed mistakenly think that more than half of all Hispanics in the United States are undocumented.
The study confirms that, the more contact with negative narratives about the community both in the news as well as on entertainment programs, the greater the "unfavorable and hostile" perceptions toward Hispanics and immigrants.
And it says that negative images of Hispanics in the news and the entertainment media outnumber the positive images.
The study also notes that Latinos are often portrayed in movies and on television as gardeners, servants, students who drop out of school or criminals.
Nogales said that news programs use the term "illegal aliens" instead of "undocumented immigrants."
The report found that 66 percent of those surveyed rely on the big media outlets to inform them, compared to 30 percent who opt for social media.
The media is causing harm by using coverage that "confuses the public" and presents a bad image of Hispanics, the NHMC said.
Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) supported the presentation of the report, along with activists from the NAACP, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda.
The study is based on a national telephone survey of 900 non-Latino citizens with an error margin of 3.3 percent and an interactive data collection survey of 3,000 people with an error margin of 1.8 percent. EFE