February 21, 2022
How is power enacted in everyday broadcast practices? National Public Radio has a “rhetoric of impartiality” but this obscures the ideological work done by the network.” In The Sound of Exclusion: NPR and the Latinx Public (The University of Arizona Press, 2021), Dr. Christopher Chavez interrogates how NPR determines what it means to be American and what is deemed American news. NPR’s original mandate included engaging listeners in civic discourses and representing the diversity of the nation. Yet Chavez argues that NPR has created a “white public space” that pushes Latinx listeners to the periphery. As a result, NPR promotes the cultural logic that Latinx identity is separate from national identity – hindering Latinx participation in civic discourses. But Chavez maintains that the shared act of listening might facilitate the ways in which Latinx listeners negotiate and resist norms of what it means to belong, also known as sonic citizenship. He writes that through the act of listening, “… those without sustained access to political power might imagine alternative political possibilities in which they are included.”
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