As a Hispanic American that is fluent in both English and Spanish I find myself sometimes switching between both English and Spanish television. While watching a Hispanic network, I got sucked into watching one of those “craziest crimes” countdowns. Before I knew what was happening, I’d seen footage of a man get blown away in a suicide by cops scenario, a woman stabbed multiple times by her husband in public as people passed them by and a man on fire running from a car after a high speed police chase. “What the capital F am I watching?!” was all I could think to myself.
The images were insanely graphic and massively traumatizing even though they were behind a screen and practically worlds away. I couldn't believe I’d actually seen all of that on television! Not long after, I came across a Spanish newspaper at work that had a close up of a man lying bloody and lifeless after a bombing on the front page! In America, the media is known for placing its metaphorical hands over its viewer’s eyes during the really scary moments. This is how we end up with those cheesy reenactments on crime shows. You know which ones I'm talking about. The ones with the slightly more attractive actors portraying the real life victims. In Hispanic media, not so much. If footage is available, they show it. I began to start noticing a pattern.
On our local news stations, really graphic or violent content footage was usually left out. On Hispanic networks like Univision 23 or Telemundo, I see less of this censorship. For instance, in the recent South Florida double homicide that led to a car chase and resulted in the horrifying death of a mother, you can see an example of this.
Besides the the language, I noticed one significant difference in the reporting of this story. The channels in Spanish showed the entire car chase including when the car was hit and the woman was ejected from her vehicle. On American news stations, they cut right before and right after. While there are far better examples of this out there, I wanted to use this example because it is recent and easily accessible.
NBC coverage here (cut to :42)
Telemundo coverage here (cut to :11)