WaPo Rehashes Univision's Failed Rubio Drug Smear

December 14th, 2015 10:52 AM

Well, it was bound to happen at some point.  “It”, of course, being that another top national media outlet would attempt to rehash and regurgitate the story at the heart of Univision's failed 'Get Rubio' strategy of 2011.

The Washington Post emerged as the one to deliver the low blow, while the rest of us focused on the festivities of UFC 194, the Army-Navy game, and the Heisman Trophy award ceremony. The story itself is old news: 80 paragraphs detailing the arrest and subsequent conviction of Marco Rubio’s brother-in-law of narcotics charges in the ‘80s, and its effect on the Rubio family. 

Missing from the lengthy narrative, however, is the fact that Univision used that same story five years ago, in a failed attempt to shame Rubio into appearing on Al Punto for an immigration battle royal with star anchor and the network's chief demagogue. Jorge Ramos.

Here’s how the Post whitewashed what was then a furious pushback against Univision News President Isaac Lee’s “plata o plomo” ('give me your money, or get a bullet') tactics in trying to bring Rubio to heel, at the end of the 11th paragraph:

Rubio’s staff complained vehemently when Cicilia’s long-forgotten case was the subject of a 2011 report on the Spanish-language television network Univision.

Except that the story (as well as its underlying purpose) was roundly condemned five years ago, and not just by Rubio staff. A more detailed account comes courtesy of Miami Herald archives:

On July 7 (2011), Alex Burgos, Rubio’s communications director, and Rubio’s political advisor, Todd Harris, held a 45-minute conference call with a handful of top Univision editorial staffers, including Lee, the news chief who handled most of the discussions for Univision. Harris represented Rubio as Burgos took notes. Rubio was not on the call.

Toward the end of the conversation, Lee brought up Ramos’ show and suggested the drug-bust story could change — or not run at all, according to Harris and Burgos’ notes.

Said Harris: “You’re saying that if Marco does an interview with Ramos, that you will drop this investigation into his family and the story will never air?”

Lee, they say, responded with this statement: “While there are no guarantees, your understanding of the proposal is fair.”

That’s a far, far cry from the Post’s disingenuous framing of Team Rubio’s reaction as little more than whiny pushback against an unflattering story. 

When Univision first ran the story about Rubio's brother-in-law, the Gang of Eight immigration bill was not yet in existence. Marco Rubio was considered an immigration heretic who was opposed to the DREAM Act and refused to condemn Arizona’s controversial SB 1070, considered to be extremely dangerous because of his ability to communicate and connect in two languages.

The purpose of the story - to otherize and racially vitiate Rubio to potential voters from across the ideological spectrum - remains unchanged from five years ago.

That story ultimately backfired, gaining little to no traction outside of local press and conservative media. However, the mainstream media did capitalize on the permission structure created by this story. In many ways, this story begat some of the nonsense we see today, such as the New York Times' laughable "Rubio yacht" story, and Mark Halperin's ridiculous quizzing of Ted Cruz' Hispanity.

With the passage of time and much higher stakes, the Washington Post has decided to regurgitate this story - to the point of using Univision stills in the article - thus becoming a full participant in the disgusting racial vilification of those who do not toe the left’s line for minorities.

Tellingly, Univision and The Washington Post are currently scheduled to host a joint GOP presidential candidate forum in early 2016.