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.”* 


Balance is defined by Merriam Webster as "an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady". The above introductory 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 not to refuse Longoria's family entrance to the chapel wake for their deceased son. 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 political propaganda.  


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. Manipulations and distortions use innuendo and insinuation to create the author's or producer's intended illusion or bias. All defy balance. Manipulation and distortion are more easily detected. Omission flies in the face of even the most intelligent conclusion. Viewers deserve to 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 story presented to him on the phone that first evening. Unaware of the request for Kennedy's exclusion of the Longoria family during the wake, Garcia further understood Kennedy to be talking about 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 Longoria's and Beatrice. However the night before in a rage, he had sent 17 telegrams to heads of state and exaggerated the 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 in his decision 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 "supply of information". It is clearly evident in the "Longoria Affair" sources that this imbalance and misinformation was relied upon to reignite a fervor among an unsuspecting audience in a new age. The event, illuminated by the 51st Legislative Hearing, was clarification enough for Three Rivers residents who went on their way afterwards. But the disappearance of the Court Record keep 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:

Uploaded on September 30, 2018. Modified on October 4, 2018. Published by Agarita Publishing.