As a Univision Veteran, I Fear the Consequences of the Network’s Dangerous Turn
Univision, a staple in some 5 million Latino households, has a lot of explaining to do. The network decided to run an interview with former president Donald Trump that will go down as one of the most subservient in the network’s history.
Not content with this, Univision refused to run Biden ads as the interview aired, even after the president’s campaign paid for them. Furthermore, the network canceled a booking with a Biden spokeswoman on subsequent news programs.
Univision claimed it was due to a new policy that prevented opposition adverts during an interview with a single candidate. Still, the timing of this “new policy” — just before the interview aired — left many wondering.
There is growing anger within the Latino community because of the royal treatment given to Trump, a man who, in his 2020 campaign, called Univision “a leftist propaganda machine and a mouthpiece of the Democrat Party.”
To add insult to injury, we later learned the interview was facilitated by none other than Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. He and three Univision corporate executives were in the room while filming at Mar-A-Lago.
The backlash has been swift
León Krauze, a prominent Univision news anchor, quit after the interview. Latino actor John Leguizamo called out to his fellow actors and artists to boycott the network, calling it “Magavision.”
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus asked for a meeting with Univision’s CEO, Wade Davis, concerned over “the spread of mis- and disinformation in Latino communities.”
Ana Navarro-Cardenas, a Nicaraguan-American political analyst and a vocal member of “The View,” recently said that the interview, conducted by Mexico’s top anchor, Televisa’s Enrique Acevedo (and not veteran Univision anchor Jorge Ramos), was “so soft it could have been pillow stuffing.”
“It wasn’t just a friendly interview. It was an embarrassing 1-hour puff-piece with lots of smiles and no pushback with a guy who relished in attacking, belittling and otherizing Latinos and Latin American immigrants,” she wrote on X.
As someone who worked for four years as a News Director for Univision, I couldn’t agree more
As I watched the interview, what ran through my mind was that this was different from the Univision I knew. It felt like I was watching Fox News.
The Univision I knew would have had Ramos do the interview. It would have been confrontational and not, as Navarro-Cardenas said on “The View,” like Acevedo’s — who looked like he was “interviewing Barney the Dinosaur.”
“Well, the Latino vote is so incredible because they’re unbelievable people. They have incredible skills, incredible energy, and they’re very entrepreneurial,” Trump said during the interview.
“All you have to do is look at the owners of Univision. They’re unbelievable entrepreneurial people. And they like me,” the former President added.
And there you have it. This is not the Univision of Ramos. It’s now Univision after merging with Mexico’s media giant Televisa in 2021. Much, as we have seen, has changed since then.
Let’s be clear: Univision never was a liberal network
It’s legacy media styled on U.S. news organizations such as ABC and NBC — but in Spanish.
Notwithstanding, many powerful politicians and corrupt strongmen from the U.S. and Latin America have sat and sweated under the hot lights of a Ramos questioning. Not this time.
For me, and I expect for many Latino journalists, the preferential treatment given to Trump was hard to swallow. Coming from Univision, it is dangerous.
It is perilous not only because Univision executives did little to hide their bias but also because it puts into question the political leanings of the network and its adherence to the cannons of journalism.
Did TelevisaUnivision treat Trump with kid gloves because they wanted to get comfortable with the Republican frontrunner in the primaries and potentially the next U.S. president?
And this is massively important
The network is a powerhouse among Latinos, who, at 63.2 million, represent the largest minority (and growing) in the United States and the nation’s second-largest voting bloc.
Therefore, it’s crucial to call into question Univision’s coverage of Trump beyond the interview, especially after a group of Hispanic conservatives backed the move by Univision executives.
Joaquin Blaya, former Univision president who created the news division in the 80s and hired Ramos, called the coverage an “absolute embarrassment” and a “travesty.”
He said it must have been a “corporate decision” beyond news directors and news executives and ” deviates in a very drastic way” from Univision’s ethos and mission.
So, it’s essential that Latinos demand transparency from the network. We should not allow the new owners, used to cozying up to politicians in Mexico, to kidnap Univision’s initial journalistic mission.
Univision owes it to the Latino community it professes to serve.