These past two weeks, Univision viewers have witnessed two strikingly different approaches to the initial coverage dedicated to the two major party candidates for Vice President of the United States, Indiana Governor Mike Pence and Virginia Senator Tim Kaine.
In the case of Pence, you might have reasonably expected Univision to immediately focus on what the former Republican congressional leader may bring to the table in terms of helping reach a workable deal on immigration, one that would simultaneously achieve the goals of stricter border security and law enforcement, as well as create some kind of mechanism that would enable the legalization of the many unauthorized immigrants in the country who have an established track record of gainful employment. Immigration is, after all, the top domestic policy topic Univision covers, day in and day out.
But such a focus would probably have actually proven to be to helpful to the Republicans on what has been a consistently pro-Clinton, pro-Democrat network. So instead of any semblance of constructive – much less honeymoon-style - coverage of Pence, Univision immediately rushed to cast Trump’s running mate in a negative light.
ENNY PICHARDO, CORRESPONDENT, UNIVISION: This Democrat official says that the selection of Pence sends a clear message to voters.
ADRIANO ESPAILLAT, NEW YORK STATE SENATOR: More of the same. An intolerant voice, a voice that discriminates against immigrants, a voice that discriminates against the LGBT community, a voice that tries to impose religious affairs when people should have the option to freely choose to do what they want.
ENNY PICHARDO, CORRESPONDENT, UNIVISION: During his time in Congress, the ultraconservative Pence proposed anti-immigrant laws and supported free trade agreements, reasons for which Trump has criticized the presumptive Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton strongly.
Univision didn’t even bother to give a politically balanced synopsis or introduction of Pence’s formidable career. Instead, they gave 36 seconds to the Clinton’s campaign retort to the announcement, and to the views of Adriano Espaillat, a Democrat State Senator from New York. Not even one pro-Trump or Republican voice was included in the 2 minute, 25 second report.
Compare that to Univision’s glowing, all-honeymoon love-in coverage of Senator Tim Kaine’s selection, just a week later, as Hillary Clinton’s running mate. When it came to Kaine, Univision rushed to highlight his ability to speak Spanish and his stint as a Jesuit volunteer in Honduras. During a 5 minute and 12 second report, 5 minutes and 6 seconds was nothing short of fawning, with only a 6-second passing reference to Kaine’s dubious record of gift-taking during his years as Governor of Virginia.
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It’s worth noting that Univison rival Telemundo was once again notably more even-handed in their coverage of the Pence rollout. Unlike Univision, Telemundo did not label Governor Pence an “ultraconservative” and instead let the Governor’s own words define him.
MIKE PENCE, GOVERNOR OF INDIANA: I’m a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican…
REBECCA SMITH, CORRESPONDENT, TELEMUNDO: [Translating Gov. Pence] “I’m a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order.”
Telemundo correspondent Rebecca Smith went on to highlight that Pence was originally supporting Senator Ted Cruz in the primary and he had key policy differences with Trump, but that they had seemed to reach an understanding among themselves.
However, in covering Kaine, much like Univision Telemundo glowingly highlighted the Virginia Senator’s ability to speak Spanish and his background as a Jesuit volunteer in Honduras.
Telemundo correspondent Angie Sandoval also said Kaine is known for a more conservative reputation and record among the Democrat rank-and-file, although in reality he has a 100% Senate voting record in favor of the nation’s abortion lobby (NARAL) and is even more liberal on gun control than Bernie Sanders.
Sandoval devoted only 13 seconds to the reaction of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to the selection, and made no mention whatsoever of Kaine’s problematic record of gift-taking as Governor of Virginia.
In sum, Univision and Telemundo together devoted more than double the amount of coverage to the Clinton-Kaine rollout than was given to the Trump-Pence rollout. The former received essentially honeymoon treatment, while the latter was largely negative. Univision was especially quick to slap negative labels on the Indiana Governor, and were relentlessly one-sided in trying to fit him into their narrative of Republicans being “anti-immigrant.”