Media Angle is a column offering perspectives on today's media landscape from the newsmakers themselves.
When she launched her campaign in 2019, she was branded the "anti-AOC" candidate.
Now Catalina Lauf, 26, says she's hoping to not just combat the loudest voices on the progressive left, but to also help modernize the face of the Republican Party and the conservative movement.
As the daughter of a Guatemalan immigrant mother and a small business owner father, Lauf declared in her campaign launch that she's the "product of the American dream."
After serving in the Trump administration in the U.S. Department of Commerce, Lauf now is seeking elected office in Illinois' 14th District, where she's running to become the GOP nominee on Tuesday's primary, and then to defeat Rep. Lauren Underwood, who was part of the "blue wave" in the 2018 midterms.
If Lauf wins out, she'll also break Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's record as the youngest woman elected to Congress. Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat often referred to by her initials "AOC," was 28 when she was elected in 2018.
Speaking to Fox News' Media Angle, Lauf talked about how the mainstream media "carries water" for House Democrats, how Americans are better off now under President Trump than they were four years ago, and how she is seeking unity amid the toxic viral cancel culture.
MEDIA ANGLE: The mainstream media gave glowing coverage to the incoming class of Democrats in 2018 as the most female and diverse. How does the media treat diverse GOP candidates by comparison?
CATALINA LAUF: The mainstream media does a great job at carrying water for Nancy Pelosi and AOC. The far-left supports females and diversity so long as your beliefs align with their agenda. They can’t fathom that a young Latina could be a Republican. That’s part of why I’m running--to show that conservatives are diverse and can come from all walks of life regardless of gender, skin color or creed.
MA: What kind of local and national media coverage has your campaign received?
LAUF: When I first launched my candidacy through my campaign video, “Heartland,” our message about standing up to the "Squad" and restoring patriotism to our Congress went viral. I was quickly branded as the "Conservative Answer to AOC." Since then, we’ve seen overwhelming support from both local and national grassroots supporters and media outlets. Fox News is one example of an outlet that has helped share our message as well as highlight the new conservative faces running this election cycle as a response to the rise of the far progressive left.
MA: As a Trump supporter, what do you think of the media’s coverage of him and his presidency?
LAUF: It's frankly, sad. Since day one of announcing his candidacy for president, the left-wing media has completely lacked objectivity, misreported information, and further fueled division in this country. As the president says, it’s fake news. When I worked for the Trump administration in 2018, internally I saw all the incredible work being done, yet none of it was reported fairly. Now as a candidate talking to voters on both sides of the aisle, I hear the level of distrust in the media because they can never say anything positive about Trump’s presidency. But it isn’t the media’s coverage that increases jobs month to month. The media’s coverage wasn’t what passed the historic tax cuts. The media’s coverage didn’t do anything to help our small businesses, manufacturing and farming industries.
So, I think most Americans will agree, their lives are better than they were four years ago, no matter what the fake news wants to say. The voters see the truth because of the real results they are feeling and the real support they're receiving from the administration on the kitchen table issues.
MA: Trust in the media is at a low ebb among Americans. Why do you think that is? What can the media do to restore that trust?
LAUF: The media is more focused on sensationalist headlines than real facts. Can you imagine if Donald Trump was a Democrat? The media would have a much different tune. Look at everything Barack Obama was able to get away with. He told a Russian leader to give him flexibility until his election was over. Did we see the media obsess over it for months? No. When Rashida Talib proudly said we are going to Impeach the M*F --- imagine if a Republican female in Congress would have said that about Obama?
There is a gross double standard in the media, and Americans are starting to realize it more and more. Media needs to truly be fair and balanced, report the facts and earn their credibility back. More and more people are turning off their television, seeking other outlets due to the misreporting and I believe the media industry will feel the pain from that.
MA: Many in the media portray themselves as unbiased journalists but often include their opinions in their coverage. Who do you think are the worst offenders and why?
LAUF: Just watch Morning Joe on MSNBC any day of the week. Are those guys doing okay? It’s hard to tell.
MA: What are your thoughts on cancel culture and its impact on social discourse? Is it a problem among both liberals and conservatives, or just with one side of the aisle?
LAUF: It is a huge problem in general. People are not listening to each other or willing to have an honest, intellectual dialogue without resorting to ad hominem attacks. It's childish and unproductive. People should not be losing friends or family members over politics. How are we supposed to find common ground and look past politics when for example if you support the president, you get judged so much that you can't even openly say it? Or, you don’t even feel safe walking to your car if you wear your support for the president. It's ok to disagree and stand firm on your values, but far-left Democrats like AOC and the squad promote the politics of division. They fuel fires based on victimhood and radical conversation, all to push their agenda.
My campaign is about unity and focusing on the future. United we stand, divided we fall, and I hope to inspire others of my generation and the next generation to come together to persevere what makes our country great. We need to focus on what unites us as people, accept our differences and work together towards a common future. Elected members of Congress should lead by example, not fan the flames of division.
MA: Has social media helped or hurt the national conversation?
LAUF: As a candidate, it's a great way to talk directly to supporters and constituents without the filter of media bias, so it helps in some ways. Having a platform allows you to share your views and values on a mass scale and is a great way to reach people in real-time. Having said that, people need to be able to differentiate between opinion and facts. Sometimes that gets lost on social media. Furthermore, the hate on some of these platforms when it comes to national topics promotes tribalism on both sides of the aisle. Everyone could be better about that and respect each other more.