Balance and Objectivity                                                                                             

"Longoria Affair Revealed" exists to bring thoughtful consciousness and balance for current objective thinkers.

“All essential parties should, if possible, be included and have a voice, and …smaller or larger deviations from a strict balance can be tolerated when justified by, for example, the existing supply of information or judgements of relevance.” Westerstahl* 


"The Longorias and Three Rivers were common people caught in the crosshairs of political chicanery." John Valadez quoted this thesis for his upcoming film to the people of Three Rivers whom he was trying to convince to participate in the film. "Common people" believed him. They believed that after more than sixty years their voice would be heard. The final production was far from even similar.


Balance is defined by Merriam Webster as "an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady". The above Westerstahl quotation implies that a deviation from balance requires an author/producer to use the "existing supply of information or judgements of relevance". The "existing supply" of relevant information is to be shared.


"Judgements of relevance" in this case require relevance to Tom Kennedy's decision to give Longoria's family the same entrance to the chapel wake for their deceased son as anyone else. Tom Kennedy politely but affirmatively refused Beatrice, the widow, her request that Kennedy not allow Felix's mother, father, and siblings to enter the funeral chapel during Felix's wake and funeral in Three Rivers. Tom Kennedy's decision cannot "remain upright and steady" based on presentation in this film. 


A heavily unbalanced presentation is not a "documentary"; it is propaganda. In this film, Tom Kennedy's decision is distorted with a one hundred eighty degree turn about. The film says that Tom Kennedy refused Felix and Beatrice the right to use the funeral chapel for a wake and funeral service. To learn how this reversal of reality occurred, read further on this website. 


Omission, manipulation, and distortion tip the balance of any story. It is difficult to separate the three. A small omission can be an oversight or purposeful manipulation and distortion. Multiple omissions constitute purposeful manipulation.


Innuendo and insinuation create an author's or producer's intended illusion or bias to manipulate the audience. Omission flies in the face of even the most intelligent conclusion. Viewers deserve information so that they can decide whether a film's purpose is to present a fair and balanced documentary or political propaganda.


All essential parties were not given a voice in this emotionally charged video. Deviations are definitely larger and cannot be justified by lack of information or relevance. A plethora of omissions create overwhelming imbalance. Even though an equal number of participants on each side of the story are shown, each statement by the Three Rivers’ participants is cut, reframed, marginalized, and contradicted by other participants, the narrator, and scenes. These are, interestingly enough, all three: omission, manipulation, and distortion.



* J. Westerstahl (1983), “Objective News Reporting.” Communication Research 10, 419; The Corporation for Public Broadcasting White Paper “Best Practices in Assessing Objectivity and Balance", by Alan G. Stavitsky, and Jeffrey A. Dvorkin  accessed from  on October 27, 2010.


The 1949 Incident:


In 1949, the Longoria story began as an honest misunderstanding. Cultural discrimination played a large part. Because of the cultural inequities of that time, Dr. Hector Garcia quickly believed the first story presented to him on the phone that first evening.


Kennedy, awakened by the phone call from a deep sedated sleep used language (indefinite pronouns) which confirmed Garcia's first response. Unaware of Beatrice's request for Kennedy's exclusion of the Longoria family during the wake and funeral, Garcia further understood Kennedy's responses as Anglo bias toward Hispanics in their phone conversation.


That changed on the third day when Garcia met with the Longoria family in Three Rivers. He then saw first hand the problem between the Longorias and Beatrice. However the night before in a rage, he sent 17 telegrams to heads of state with exaggerated charges to include refusal of "funeral" and "re-interment". His trajectory was set. With the story already spread abroad, a fait accompli (an irreversible outcome) was assured. 


From that time on, Garcia worked feverishly developing the Longoria story to bolster and support efforts for a completely just cause: Mexican American Equality. Media and political Longoria frenzy established a second fait accompli: anyone who supports Three Rivers or Kennedy is a bigoted "white rascist". This bias fails to recognze its own attitude of racism. Racism is a problem in the human race, not an isolated problem belonging to only one group anywhere. 


Since 1949, academics and the general public continue to join Garcia's just cause but misguided nascent event, often making additional exaggerations and embellishments. The plethora of writing produced by these proponents has created a legend with a completely imbalanced and undocumented "supply of information".


It is clearly evident in "Longoria Affair" sources that this imbalance and misinformation was relied upon to reignite fervor among an unsuspecting audience in a new age. The 1949 event, illuminated by the 51st Legislative Hearing, was clarification enough for Three Rivers residents who went on with their daily lives afterwards. But the disappearance of the Court Record keeps the details from the greater public, and the legend continues.





The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

The Longoria Affair Revealed, Richard Hudson, "Balance and Objectivity'" accessed from: your date of use here.

Uploaded on September 30, 2018. Modified on February 7, 2019. Published by Agarita Publishing.