As further proof that the nation’s leading Hispanic media are really a subset of the establishment media - as opposed to something independent of it - the Washington Post has decided to once again dedicate prime ink to the showcasing of Univision’s much-ballyhooed voter registration drive.
The article itself is not much to speak of - a combination update/rehash intended to remind people that this advocacy effort exists (MRC Latino’s Ken Oliver-Méndez, in fact, was already quoted raising a few red flags when the initiative first rolled out). This really is nothing new under the sun. Univision voter registration drives have become as much of a quadrennial certainty as Jorge Ramos’ protestations of being ‘Columbused’ (discovered) every four years.
It is no secret that Univision has a clear political agenda, and that their unique brand of advocacy journalism is famously spearheaded by star anchors Jorge Ramos and María Elena Salinas. The Post makes no bones about the fact that this effort will benefit Democrats:
If successful, the media company could significantly alter the electorate in a way that would likely benefit presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Trump has insulted many Latinos by vowing to build a wall between the United States and Mexico and deport the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants living in this country.
In 2012, the vast majority of Latinos, 71 percent, supported Barack Obama. A record 27.3 million Latinos will be eligible to vote in the 2016 presidential election, according to Pew Research.
Of particular interest is the Post’s candor in chronicling the fact that Univision’s initiative appears, at this point, to be performing far below expectations…and the lesson in narrative deconstruction that is offered here.
Headlines throughout the media have blared out that 100,000 number - an exercise in media chest-puffery which is intended to inflame, excite, and in the case of Univision’s ideological enemies, to intimidate. But a closer read reveals that this mythical 100,000 is not unlike the old “created or saved” fluff we were all fed whenever it was time for the government to announce job numbers.
100,000+ persons did not actually register to vote but were, in fact, drawn to these drives. Readers are left to speculate as to what percentage of the individuals drawn (from across the entire Univision footprint) actually followed through and registered. Even then, the goal is three million new voters, and we are close to the halfway point of this voter drive. What benchmark would determine whether this initiative was successful? The Post doesn’t seem to want to dive that deeply into the math, and meekly buries its own headline with its own next-to-last paragraph:
It is unclear how many new voters have registered as a direct result of Univision’s activities.
The real takeaway from this article is not the failed voter registration initiative but the fact that Univision has a lobbying team in Washington, D.C.
Over the last year, the company’s in-house lobbying operation in D.C. has grown from two to five people.
In 2015, (Jessica) Herrera-Flanigan, who used to be a top partner at lobby firm Monument Policy Group, became Univision’s first executive vice president of government and corporate affairs, overseeing lobbying before Congress, the Federal Communications Commission and other agencies. The office this week added a new vice president of public policy — also a first for the company — Victoria Luxardo Jeffries, an attorney who represented Netflix, Google and other tech companies before the Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department.
Remember that video of Jorge Ramos discussing what domestic Spanish-language media needs in order to survive? We now see the full dynamic at work here. Univision, through its news division, advocates its preferred policies and campaigns to register voters, who will elect preferred policymakers, who are then lobbied to act through the network’s lobbying arm. This, not Univision’s so far failing voter registration drive, is the takeaway from an otherwise laughable Washington Post article which reverberated throughout the rest of the insular Acela media. Now for one last punchline:
Univision says its voter engagement effort is bipartisan — the company is not supporting any candidate.