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Conservative Delegate to Fight Spanish-Language Channel

V-me, Maryland Public Television's Spanish-language digital channel, has been on the air for less than a week, but a conservative lawmaker is already working to yank it.

Del. Patrick L. McDonough (R-Baltimore County) said he will introduce legislation when the General Assembly reconvenes that would establish a commission to determine what should air on MPT's three new digital stations.

"These are very powerful public assets," said McDonough, who has been vocal about his displeasure with MPT's decision to allow one of the stations to cater to a primarily Hispanic audience. "You're serving a very small minority."

Hispanic people make up about 6 percent of Maryland's population, according to 2006 U.S. Census Bureau estimates.

McDonough argued that it would make more sense to devote stations to such topics as health care, the elderly or children's issues. He said a commission should factor in sponsorship potential for the shows, particularly given the state's budget woes. MPT is partially funded by taxpayers.

McDonough is not likely to garner support from the administration of Gov. Martin O'Malley (D). Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D) appeared at the station's kickoff last week, calling MPT's decision "a renewed commitment to embracing the diversity that has shaped the American landscape for generations."

O'Malley spokesman Rick Abbruzzese said the governor would consider McDonough's legislation if he manages to push it through the General Assembly. But Abbruzzese suggested McDonough direct his efforts elsewhere: toward persuading Comcast, the Washington area's dominant cable provider, to air V-me in Montgomery and Prince George's counties.

"Maybe he should introduce legislation requiring Comcast to air the station," Abbruzzese said. "We'd sign that."

By Phyllis Jordan  |  August 27, 2007; 9:47 AM ET
Categories:  John Wagner  
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I've got an idea: how about having Del. McDuh actually watch MPT and witness for himself that the flagship station does address "such topics as health care, the elderly or children's issues." However, I'm not sure he could pull himself away long enough from watching professional wresling and NASCAR to see that MPT covers many of the issues he alleges he's concerned about. Why can't he be honest about his opposition to V-me? He doesn't like it because he's threatened by people not like him. As for forming a commission to determine what should air on MPT's three digitial channels--I thought that Del. McDuh and his ilk were opposed to making government bigger. What an awful idea: politicizing the decision-making process as to what should be broadcast on public TV.

Posted by: mercury | August 26, 2007 1:40 PM | Report abuse

You have to wonder if McDonough isn't just concerned about having people for whom English isn't the first language hearing more clearly what's going on in Maryland politics, which might result in their not voting for him and his issues.

Posted by: scotti | August 26, 2007 3:35 PM | Report abuse

He has got my vote. I am not supportive of a station operating in the USA that caters to a small ( and possibly here in the US illegal ) minority. English is the language of this country. Where will the accomodation stop? Press one for "NO".

Posted by: Anonymous | August 26, 2007 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Del. McDonough is right.
My mother learned to speak English by reading the newspaper every day and speaking English whenvever possible. She quickly became assimilated into the American culture. Had she had the "benefit" of a TV station in her native language, she might still be speaking Hungarian. Every immigrant group has learned that the key to success in this society is to learn English as quickly as possible.
It's time the rest of us figured this out.

Posted by: Son of Immigrant | August 26, 2007 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Why do I get the feeling Delagate McDonough has never sent a check to MPT, let alone watched it?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 26, 2007 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Oh please...have you seen the Spanish language offerings on cable? Or on Satellite, or on FTA? I just moved the dish and I've got dozens of channels from Latin America (and a funny one from Cuba). Dozens and dozens of channels, but lets have a public tv station use our tax dollars to do THE EXACT SAME THING as the private sector.

Really, why do we need MPT? More reruns of Eastenders? Antique shows?

Posted by: Andrew | August 26, 2007 7:16 PM | Report abuse

The prime idea here is that taxes are supporting a station that is not "diverse" because 94% of Maryland's population cannot understand it. I doubt a conservatifve cares if the majority of Hispanics vote for him since polls indicate Hispanics overwelmingly vote for those that support free citizenship for illegals.

Posted by: Pat | August 26, 2007 7:31 PM | Report abuse

It sounds like the topics of focus on this new station are aimed at improving the states...not just for immigrants, but for those who are their neighbors, employers, customers, teachers, etc. While that Spanish-language issue will continue to generate some knee-jerk reactions like we see from this McDonough character, I'll wait to see what MPT can accomplish before I pass judgement.

Posted by: Donny | August 26, 2007 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Dear Pat,
Being hispanic does not necessarly mean one speaks spanish. I am hispanic through my Portugese ancestors, but I can't speak spanish.
Also, not being hispanic does not mean one can't speak spanish. I know an African American high school student who spent 6 months living with a family in a Latin American country, speaking only spanish. And I believe Texan born Jeb Bush speaks spanish.
Buenas dias.

Posted by: Ted | August 27, 2007 1:09 AM | Report abuse

Actually, the idea here is not to ignore the 94% of Marylanders who don't understand Spanish, the idea is to make those people watch the channel and that way they start learning Spanish, which will be the main language of the country VERY soon.
Que viva Mexico!!!

Posted by: silver borgani | August 27, 2007 2:46 AM | Report abuse

By the way, Portugese people are NOT Hispanic. Hispanics are people who are originally from former SPANISH colonies in the Americas, and their descendants who are born elsewhere.

Posted by: silver borgani | August 27, 2007 2:50 AM | Report abuse

I believe that a primary function of this channel should be to have English classes so that those who can't speak English could learn it in the comfort of their homes.

Posted by: Robin Ficker of Robin Realty | August 27, 2007 4:09 AM | Report abuse

Here in Montgomery County, no public funds need be spent for Spanish-language television stations. There are five or six Spanish-language stations already. I'd rather see a public television station with the programming Delegate McDonough describes.

Posted by: crankygringo | August 27, 2007 7:28 AM | Report abuse

I find it amazing that this blog includes "fighting words" by Latinos who make it clear they want their own culture to supplant American culture. And these aren't even the criminals we read so much about.

Anybody who thinks illegal immigration is good for this country is out of his/her mind. Many middle-class Maryland neighborhoods have already been ruined by illegal immigrants. Take a walk in downtown Silver Spring some Saturday afternoon.

Posted by: crankygringo | August 27, 2007 7:32 AM | Report abuse

Odd to hear the Irish-Americans, Italian-Americans, German-Americans, Ruso-Americans, Greek-Americans, Ficker-Americans, Polish-Americans and all the other hyphenated Americans wail about Hispanics. The end of the world is coming!!

We heard it before and except for Native Americans, history has proven the influx of immigrants has made America a better nation.

feiern Sie Verschiedenartigkeit!
Celebri la diversità!
¡Celebre la diversidad!
Célébrez la diversité !
다양성을 경축하십시요!

Posted by: A Happy American | August 27, 2007 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Go Pat Go!
We really NEED to waste more tax dollars in this state, on special interests representing 6%+/- of the state population. How many of this so called 6% actually are 1) Paying taxes, or 2) Are here legally?
We have a major 'spend it and more will come' tax policy, likely to get worse!
Someone want to use their money to fund this station, hey, feel free! If it is YOUR money, more power to you!
BUT, keep these boondoggles out of being publically funded, and while you are at it, MPT itself should either survive in the 'real world' or pull the plug!
With gas, property, sales and every other tax known to 'Amego O'Malley' and the 'Beer Bong Boys' (Busch & Miller!) set to be raised, plus his BG&E 'fix' we will not have anything left!
While we are at it, slots are fine, but the State being in the 'business' other than selling the licenses, scares me!
We do NOT need to give those clowns in Annapolis more money to curry favor with, for all their friends! 'Fiscal responsibility' and 'politicians' DO NOT go together well!
Cut spending, find the $58 million in the Baltimore school system, etc. and give something BACK to the taxpayers in this state for once!

Posted by: Joe from Westminster | August 28, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

silver borgani, go back to wherever you came from and don't fall off the edge of the boat!

Posted by: gringoanna | August 28, 2007 3:08 PM | Report abuse

The Post has a history of understating the "undocumented workers" problem is around here, apparently having decided that this demographic is only going to grow.

This article understates the situation. It is not just one station. Try the digital channels, I get V-ME on channels 22-3, 62-3 and 67-3, there are probably more in other areas.

Seems as though the future of legals (assuming there is one) is managing illegals on the not so down low. Maybe there's no point resisting.

Posted by: whoever | August 28, 2007 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Hello all! Very nice site and very informativity!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2007 6:42 PM | Report abuse

"And I believe Texan born Jeb Bush speaks spanish."...duh. I guess he does. If he wants votes from the migrant population that has dominated parts of southern Florida, he needs to B.S. them in their language since they won't learn English.

Posted by: Whitey | August 28, 2007 9:19 PM | Report abuse

A Happy American, do you like your federal Government job? Pays well, doesn't it?

Posted by: j turner | August 28, 2007 9:26 PM | Report abuse

A Happy American, by the way, why didn't you type African-Americans in your list?

Posted by: j turner | August 28, 2007 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Wrong on two counts Turner. Maybe you're not happy enough.

Posted by: A Happy American | August 29, 2007 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Pat McDonough is an American helping all Americans reaching out to the rest of the world.
In the end of the day Spanish is only a big language in Latin America.
The rest of the Planet speaks English as a second language, Europe, The Middle East, Asia (Olympics 2008), Africa, Australiasia, Parts of the Americas and Canada!!!!. So it is in the Hispanic community best interest to learn English. Its a big world out there in the 21st century, theres more to life than the United States.

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