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Democrats create bilingual tool to combat disinformation aimed at Latinos

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee created a collection of graphics in English and Spanish for people to use as a "rapid response" to disinformation.
Image: Dr. Melissa Pluguez Moldavskiy, Co-Medical Director of Unidos Contra COVID, administers a vaccine during an outreach event for the Latino community in Upper Darby, Penn., on Aug. 22, 2021.
Melissa Pluguez Moldavskiy, co-medical director of Unidos Contra COVID, administers a vaccination during an outreach event for the Latino community in Upper Darby, Pa., on Aug. 22.Rachel Wisniewski / Reuters

Democrats are trying to push back on disinformation aimed at Latinos, including some they say is spread by Republicans.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, responsible for getting Democrats elected and re-elected to the U.S. House, has launched what it calls a digital information hub, "Juntos Together," to target disinformation aimed at Hispanics, particularly in Spanish.

The hub carries colorful infographics and GIFs in English and Spanish that can be downloaded, shared and embedded on social media platforms as something of a "rapid response" to disinformation.

Many of the graphics address vaccinations, including providing numbers to text to find places nearby offering the shots.

Others promote President Joe Biden’s agenda and some of the Democratic legislation approved in Congress. A few take direct aim at Republicans: "Republicans lied and defended disinformation about vaccines. They don’t protect your interests," one said in Spanish.

“There is a lot of misinformation that we are seeing going through WhatsApp: anti-vaccination misinformation, lies about Democrats and things that have no basis in fact that spread like wildfire,” said Adrian Eng-Gastelum, a spokesperson for the DCCC.

Eng-Gastelum said the site is accessible to anyone, but Democrats plan to ensure their organizers and activists make them part of their anti-disinformation tool kits.

The 2022 midterm election cycle is underway and will ramp up in coming months. Every House member is up for re-election, some in more competitive races than others. 

Democrats hold a narrow majority in the House, 220-212. That majority could be in jeopardy, in part because midterm elections have historically swung toward the party not in power.

Democrats saw the impact of disinformation on social media with Latino voters in the 2020 presidential election. It is considered partly responsible for higher shares of Hispanics voting for former President Donald Trump, particularly in Florida. 

Factually incorrect information, particularly about the coronavirus and Covid-19 vaccines, has continued to proliferate online and on radio airwaves.

Sometimes it comes from members of Congress themselves, Eng-Gastelum said. He cited calls from Rep. Yvette Herrell, R-N.M., for support for allowing people to use ivermectin or other medicines for Covid-19 treatment.

The site and the graphics are paid for by the DCCC, but the organization said it will not include its logos on the shareable graphics.

Eng-Gastelum said the graphics could always be fact-checked by reporters to ensure they are not crossing into political spin.

“This site will be consistently updated (and) will always be sending out the positive information and the truth in these graphics,” he said.

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