Is Univision Moderating Its Coverage of Hot-Button Issues?

It would appear that Univision is going through the process of moderating the biased tone of its news coverage, if its coverage of oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in the matter of Zubik v. Burwell (also known as the Little Sisters of the Poor lawsuit against the obamacare contraception mandate on religious liberty grounds) was any indication. But closer scrutiny would seem to indicate otherwise, and reveals a marked difference between how stories are covered on TV and on the network's expanding digital platforms.

Coverage was almost straight-up, albeit framed within the pro-Obamacare argument. Both sides were given close to equal time, but viewers were left with little clarity as to why the Little Sisters felt compelled to seek relief from the Court. Here's what the split looked like:

SISTER LOURDES MIRANDA, LITTLE SISTERS OF THE POOR: If we don't sign... or, um... give them permission - they don't give us permission, we will have to pay 70 million dollars a year.



SARAH DÍAZ, SPOKESWOMAN, PLANNED PARENTHOOD: Contraception is the right of all women, especially the Latino community.

That "...don't sign...or...give them permission..." quote from Sister Miranda is basically the heart of the matter, but the statement was simply presented at face value with no further clarification. However, at least this side was presented. The same cannot be said for Univision's digital coverage of the same issue, which takes Chief News Officer Isaac Lee's "no two sides" marching order to heart. 

Univisión Salud's (Univision Health) piece was entirely one-sided in favor of the pro-mandate position, and only presented quotes from an ACLU representative- again, in support of the mandate. Unlike the segment that aired on TV, there were no quotes from the pro-religious freedom side. There was no interest in showing why the Little Sisters felt unduly burdened by the contraceptive mandate, or really anything else having to do with their arguments except that they would cite the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.

As an additional measure of bad faith, the statute's name was left in English. Seriously, was Ley De Restauración De Libertad Religiosa Del 1993 that hard to figure out? Was this a bridge too far for the person that translated portions of the ACLU's press release into Spanish?

Finally, Univision helpfully bolded certain portions of the text, perhaps in case readers weren't clear about which side it sees as the "Allied Expeditionary Force" here. Bold quotes include:

...female employees can access birth control at no cost...

...allowed some employers with religious objections to refuse to pay for contraceptives for women (in reference to Hobby Lobby ruling)

'Will the court use religion to discriminate?' (a deceptive translation of the ACLU's 'Will the Court sanction the use of religion to discriminate?')

Our Constitution...shields Americans from having religious beliefs forced upon them.

(the government's)...its plan is the most reasonable or "least restrictive" manner to offer birth control....

Univision's overall coverage of this landmark case is nothing but grotesque, and is further evidence of an ongoing progressive policy bias that extends far beyond immigration. Sometimes, you just have to know where to look.

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Jorge Bonilla's picture

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