The central premise of a recent New York Times article is simple enough: If only Republicans were to submit to Univision (and, by extension, anchor Jorge Ramos) on immigration, then they may receive more favorable coverage that does not depict them to the network’s Hispanic viewership as hateful, racist, anti-immigrant monsters, and then they may have a chance to garner more of the Hispanic vote, with the blessing of the community’s self-appointed gatekeeper.
The first thing that comes to mind with the Times’ take on the subject is a sense of (with apologies to Yogi Berra) déja vu all over again. What we are witnessing here is the return of the nasty plata o plomo tactics (literally "silver or lead" - the Spanish phrase that means you either cooperate by giving a bribe, or you get a bullet) previously deployed during Univision’s 2011 war on Senator Marco Rubio.
In the wake of Sen. Rubio’s subsequent shift on immigration, this is how Isaac Lee, president of Univision’s news division, cryptically described that time during an interview for San Francisco public radio station KQED.
We don’t have a war with anyone, and we’re very happy that his (Rubio’s) position now is FOR the Hispanic community, and that he’s part of this Group of Eight senators that is going to present the bill…that’s it.
And so it appears that Univision has returned to the well, confident in plata o plomo’s effectiveness…albeit with a new twist. Now, Jorge Ramos is directly engaging the GOP, with an assist from mainstream media. We’ve already chronicled Ramos’ most recent “personal” op-ed; and now here’s audio from an interview that aired on Boston public radio.
This is my quick take:
Univision’s “Agenda Latina” goes far beyond immigration. Even the most cursory review of Univision’s news coverage over the years will uncover clear biases that go well beyond immigration, to include advocacy for gun control, Common Core, radical climate change legislation, against the Cuban embargo, consistently against traditional religious beliefs and for all-around greater government intervention in our daily lives.
For all its aura and mystique, Univision is essentially just another mainstream-media organization dabbling in partisan political activities, but in Spanish.
In that Boston NPR interview, Ramos sank to a galling new low by suggesting that conservatives want to “silence” immigration-activist journalists…which is sadly ironic, given that he came here from a place where journalists are actually (and quite literally) silenced.
If Jorge Ramos wants to play political operative (replete with repetitive talking points), then conservatives should continue to challenge him at every turn, rather than continue to give him the cowering deference that has been afforded him so far. It would be naïve - and dangerous - to think that Univision will change its posture towards conservatives if there is a cave on immigration.
Conservatives looking to convey an affirmative message of individual freedoms and free markets to the U.S. Hispanic community should rip many pages from Congressman Steven Pearce's (R-New Mexico) playbook, by engaging the community directly and often. The unpalatable alternative is to leave your message in the hands of a messenger who is committed to your electoral destruction.