Entertainment

Lagordiloca Has Been Reporting On Local News For Years But Now She’s Under Fire For #FakeNews

Lagordiloca is a controversial amateur reporter from Laredo, Texas. Lagordiloca, whose name is an alias that’s a play on la gorda loca or “crazy fat lady,” has become a local and internet celebrity. Lagordiloca goes out into the mean streets of Texas with nothing but her wits and phone camera to tell local news stories of car crashes, shootings, and other violent crimes.

In a way, Lagordiloca is providing a service that is much needed in a time when checks and balances on the government seem nonexistent. The United States has a shrinking journalism industry, stripped of resources, talent, and staff. When local news is less prevalent, democracy doesn’t function as well. 

“Legislators tend to better represent their districts when the media provides better coverage of those constituents. Weaker news coverage also results in a less engaged citizenry, and one that’s less knowledgeable about politics,” according to Seth Masket of Pacific Standard

However, operating independently of a news organization has led to criminal charges against her and after misreporting some details, even fans are wondering: is Lagordiloca a fraud? 

Lagordiloca: News on the move.

Long before she was Lagordiloca, she was Priscilla Villarreal. Villarreal is 34, a high school drop out with a rap sheet, and has no formal journalism training. Her reports are a mix of local gossip, commentary, Spanglish, and news from the frontlines of local scandals. 

It all began one night when she stumbled upon police responding to a hostage situation at a home in the south side. Two girls were trapped inside. Villarreal started filming as officers carried the girls out. Her video clips had almost a million views within hours. 

“She’s already something of a folk hero down there,” said Daxton Stewart, a journalism professor at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth told the New York Times. “What’s fascinating is that she’s doing it the old-fashioned way, but with new technologies, by breaking news the authorities just don’t want out there.”

Villarreal is known for driving around in her old dodge pickup truck and broadcasting live from the scene of a crime. Her bilingual videos add some much-needed representation to video news, and her status as an ordinary woman makes her feel accessible to anyone. With over 135,000 followers on Facebook, people all over the world want to know her take on crime. 

The cops aren’t big fans of Lagordiloca, but should we be? 

Laredo, Texas has become a hotbed of corruption. A hero was needed, but just as with any vigilante, Lagordiloca exists in an ethical grey area.

“Suburban moms on the upscale north side discussed her posts at a recent country club luncheon. In a region notorious for corruption and a city where local politicians have been under investigation by the FBI, many see her as someone they can trust,” writes Molly Hennesy-Fiske for the Los Angeles Times

However, Villareal has done some questionable things. She posted the name of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture supervisory who died by suicide. Information that their loved ones might have wanted private. Nevertheless, the name was leaked to her by a police officer who was later placed on leave for the incident. 

Last summer, she told her viewers of police chatter that their might be a gas shortage in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Drivers flooded gas stations causing a ruckus. She told fans a man planned to kill children at a local school, sending parents in a panic to retrieve their children, but the man had already been detained. 

In a world with a lot of misinformation, while Villarreal’s intentions might be just, the clumsiness of citizen reporting can be pretty damaging. 

Police press charges against Lagordiloca. 

Noticias de Última de hora!! (Laredo,Tx) A woman was transported to a local hospital after being hit by a vehicle by Springfield between Locust and Plum. Driver of the vehicle that hit her fled the scene. No word of the condition of the woman at this moment…. #LaGordiLoca

Posted by Lagordiloca News LaredoTx on Saturday, January 13, 2018

In 2017, Villarreal was charged with two counts misuse of official information, which is a third-degree felon, after leaking the Customs and Border supervisor’s name. The charges were later dismissed by a judge. In another incident, Villarreal posted accusations that a daycare center was abusing children. The daycare sued for defamation and received a judgment of $300,000 in damages when Villarreal didn’t show up for court. 

“The case made me even more well-known in Laredo, and more sources talk to me now,” Villarreal told the New York Times. “But I remain scared, and who I’m most scared of here aren’t the criminals or smugglers. It’s the Laredo Police Department.”

But Lagordiloca is a woman of the people.

While Villarreal doesn’t always get things right, she has had more successes than wins. In February, she broke the story before official outlets of a former Laredo police investigator who was accused of taking gambling proceeds from police raids at casinos. The investigator resigned.

“I’m still learning how to say things like ‘allegedly’ or ‘it’s being said’ when I’m describing breaking news,” Villarreal said. “It’s a challenge, because I speak the language of the streets, and that’s why people follow me.”

This Is How Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Plans To Tackle Poverty In The US

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This Is How Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Plans To Tackle Poverty In The US

Since making her way to Capitol Hill at the start of the year, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been one of the most progressive voices in Congress — and her recently-unveiled policy package to tackle US poverty assures that her vision for the country hasn’t gotten any less bold.

“I am both energized and humbled to introduce legislation today to build upon the most transformative programs of the last century,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a statement.

The first-year lawmaker’s legislative package is called “A Just Society,” and it includes six individual bills.

ocasio2018 / Instagram

First, the Puerto Rican congresswoman aims to update the way the US government currently calculates poverty and determines eligibility for welfare. At the moment, a single person is considered “poor” in the US if they make less than $12,500 a year. If someone makes more than that, then they are unable to benefit from programs like Medicaid, even though they could still be struggling gravely economically.  Through the proposal, called the Recognizing Poverty Act, Ocasio-Cortez would prompt the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Bureau of the Census and the Bureau of Labor Statistics to modify the equation so that it takes more details into account, including a person’s geographic cost of living, what portion of their income they spend on health insurance or child care, and spending toward utilities. This act would undoubtedly result in a rise in the number of people who live at or below the federal poverty level and would widen people’s eligibility to welfare programs, like Medicaid, food stamps and family planning services.

According to the U.S. Census, about 40 million Americans live in poverty, a harrowing reality that the congresswoman doesn’t think many people in the country know or understand. “If we can acknowledge how many Americans are actually in poverty I think that we can start to address some of the more systemic issues in our economy,” she told NPR.

Her policy bundle includes proposals that could help the country’s most marginalized communities, including immigrants and people who were formerly incarcerated. For instance, her Mercy in Re-entry Act proposes that individuals who have been convicted of a criminal offense would be ensured access to all federal public benefits. Presently, many states ban people with felony drug convictions from receiving welfare and food stamps.

Even more, formerly incarcerated individuals often struggle to obtain government-issued IDs. 

ocasio2018 / Instagram

Additionally, her so-called Embrace Act would guarantee federal public benefits access to anyone, regardless of their immigration status. Currently, undocumented immigrants, including DACA holders, are not eligible to receive most federal public benefits, including benefits like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), regular Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). They’re also ineligible for health care subsidies under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and are prohibited from purchasing unsubsidized health coverage on ACA exchanges. Still, these individuals might be able to take advantage of some benefits that are deemed “necessary to protect life or guarantee safety in dire situations,” such as emergency Medicaid, access to treatment in hospital emergency rooms, or access to healthcare and nutrition programs under the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). However, rumors that the Trump administration is considering blocking immigrants using public benefits from getting their green cards is currently halting the most vulnerable in these communities from using those life-saving benefits.

“From the New Deal to the Great Society, we have shown time and again that our nation is capable of implementing big ideas and bold solutions that match the scale of the challenges we face,” Ocasio-Cortez, 29, said in her statement. “We must once again recognize the breadth and consequences of poverty in this country and work together to ensure a path forward to economic freedom for everyone.”

Her wide-ranging proposal also considers tenants and workers.

ocasio2018 / Instagram

The Place to Prosper Act would tackle the housing crisis by introducing a 3 percent national cap on annual rent increases, among other provisions. Meanwhile, the Uplift Our Workers Act would prompt the Department of Labor and the Office of Management and Budget to create a “worker-friendly score” for federal contractors.

Finally, the congressional freshman also proposed a resolution dubbed A Just Society Guarantees the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights for All that would request the Senate to ratify the U.N. Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

While critics have called Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal a “radical, extreme-left agenda,” the congresswoman believes it could effectively tackle the US’ poverty crisis and help the people of one of the wealthiest nations in the world to live a life beyond destitution. 

“In a modern, moral, and wealthy society, no person should be too poor to live,” Ocasio-Cortez says in a video introducing her legislation. “That’s what a just society means to me.” 

Ocasio-Cortez’s legislative package is her latest ambitious proposal. Back in February, when the congressional newbie was just one month on the job, she introduced the much-talked-about Green New Deal, a series of proposals backed by leading Democrats to tackle climate change.

Read: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Made A Student Loan Payment During Meeting To Prove A Point About Corruption

Donald Trump Tried And Failed To Write In Spanish Using Google Translate And This Is Why We Need Spanish Teachers In The U.S.

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Donald Trump Tried And Failed To Write In Spanish Using Google Translate And This Is Why We Need Spanish Teachers In The U.S.

Drew Angerer / Getty Images / Mitú

He has done it again. President Donald Trump’s Twitter is a gift that keeps on giving… us something to talk about. Trump went on a Tweet sesh, expressing his racist rhetoric, yet again.

Only this time, the attack came in the form of a poorly translated meme-like image that has the Internet shook.

Days after campaigning in New Mexico, a 50% Latino state that republicans haven’t been able to secure since George W. Bush’s presidential election, Trump sent his first Spanish-language Tweet ever.

The graphic, which he tweeted out, depicts Trump standing in front of a border wall, and a frown on his face. It reads “NO MÁS” in big bold letters. The usual anti-immigration rhetoric, however, provided some comedy on this occasion. I mean, does the President of the United States really rely on Google Translate to share a message in a different language? We’ll never know for sure. But a first-grade teacher could tell you, that using a robot to translate a human language, will definitely result in an unreliable source.

The auto-translate feature never fails…to fail. So should we even be surprised that not one person in the Trump administration could help to properly translate his insults? Given that it’s a language that the president obviously doesn’t speak and which he knows will make his bigoted white followers uncomfortable, the answer is… yeah, no. As 2020 approaches we can unfortunately expect more of these kind of messages as he prompts his followers into a white panic, relying on the ignorance of his fans. Clearly, the president will be doubling down on the hate that helped him get elected in the first place.

The xenophobic image, in which he was trying to say: “No more fake asylum”, “No more catch and release”, and “No more illegal entry into the United States” stated his usual discourse, and we get what he’s trying to say. But if you’re going to come after people, can’t you at least get someone competent to look over your copy?

Meanwhile, in New Mexico, the president tried his best to appeal to Latinx voters during his rally. And it got weird. At one point, Trump made a comment on how “white” one of his key Latino surrogates looks. “He happens to be Hispanic, but I’ve never quite figured it out because he looks more like a WASP than I do…But I’ll tell you what — there is nobody that loves this country more or Hispanic more than Steve Cortes,” Trump said. Cortes is a Trump supporter and TV commentator, as well as a member of Trump’s Advisory Council.

“Nobody loves the Hispanics more!” Trump continued, before asking Cortes “Who do you like more, the country or the Hispanics?”

Suggesting that Latinos have dual loyalties.

His answer though was pure gold: “I may have to go for the Hispanics to be honest with you…We love our Hispanics”

After the president tweeted the “NO MÁS” image, Twitter exploded with anger, but more so with mockery. Twitter users dragged the president’s intelligence, pointing out that he doesn’t speak a word of Spanish — and are not even sure that he masters English tbh (remember covfefe-gate?), others simply condemned his flat-out racism. 

Here for your entertainmnent is a roundup of just a few of the internet’s best reactions to the #GoogleTranslateFail.

After a lifetime of watching ‘Inglés sin Barreras’ commercials, it’s about time someone made ‘Español sin Barreras’… and sent a copy to the White House.

Covfefe anyone?

You gotta appreciate the artistry.

https://twitter.com/LuisValLeAnaya/status/1174450976008429570/photo/1

Can we have one sent our way asap?