Veteran Univision anchor Jorge Ramos has become the latest prominent member of the Hispanic community to criticize the network for its controversial interview with former President Donald Trump, which has been viewed by some as being too friendly.
Writing in a column Saturday on his website, Ramos said Trump’s Nov. 9 sit-down with veteran journalist Enrique Acevedo, “put in doubt the independence of our news department, and created discomfort and uncertainty within the newsroom.”
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“We cannot normalize behavior that threatens democracy and the Hispanic community, or offer Trump an open microphone to broadcast his falsehoods and conspiracy theories,” Ramos added. “We must question and fact-check everything he says and does. That’s why it is very dangerous to fail to confront Trump. And that’s why it is our moral obligation to confront him every time there’s a journalistic opportunity to do it. But I understand that not everyone agrees, and I open the debate here.”
Ramos made headlines during Trump’s first presidential campaign for confronting the then-candidate about his views towards Mexican immigrants. Trump famously said in 2015, as he launched his bid for the presidency, that Mexico was sending “drugs,” “crime” and “rapists” to the United States.
During a press conference later that summer in Iowa, Trump kicked Ramos out after the anchor tried to ask the businessman some questions. Ramos notes in his column that after that much-publicized incident, Trump let him back into the news conference and let him ask questions, Ramos then confronted the president about his plan to build a wall on the Mexican border and deport undocumented migrants and predicted Trump would not win the Latino vote.
“Our job as journalists is to question those in power,” Ramos wrote. “That’s what reporters do. That’s what I did in Iowa and what I have done with Trump since he announced his first presidential campaign.”
TelevisaUnivision has been under scrutiny in the wake of the interview, with The Washington Post reporting that Democrats were alarmed at the tone of the interview and angry that ads the Biden administration had purchased to run during the interview were canceled at the last minute.
TelevisaUnivision CEO Wade Davis addressed the backlash in a staff memo last Tuesday, saying the company will continue to take a nonpartisan approach to news and highlighting how the Trump interview was the first of a Republican president, former or current, on Univision in 22 years, and that Trump was interviewed because he is the “current Republican frontrunner, according to the polls.” Davis said the network has reached out to President Biden for an interview.
Davis added, “Univision is not a tool of any party or organization. Univision is an independent news organization, and we will not be deterred by partisan interests and agenda-driven advocacy. Our responsibility is to our audience; we are strongly committed to this and will stay the course.”
After the Trump interview aired, Univision anchor Leon Krauze left the company, raising questions about whether his exit, made while Krauze still had time left on his contract, was related to the interview.
And on Monday, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus asked for a meeting with Davis, expressing concerns about “preventing the spread of mis- and disinformation in Latino communities.”
Meanwhile, John Leguizamo has called for a Univision boycott.
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