`Univision/Fusion anchor Jorge Ramos continues to do his best to justify the underlying bases behind the MRC's "Ramos Must Go" campaign. This week's multinational syndicated opinion column features a call for debate moderators to join him in abandoning objectivity and inserting themselves into the debates.
Here is is his call for bias, which closed out the column as it appeared in Mexico city's Reforma:
Finally, I have great admiration for all the journalists that will participate as moderators in the three presidential debates as well as the vicepresidential debate. I know that they are under enormous pressure. But I hope that they understand that, this time, their role is very different to (what it was in) the other presidential debates.
The moderator that only raised issues and then took a step back so that the candidates could say whatever is a very old way of doing journalism. This time, the moderators must must own their role, above all else, as journalists, not as traffic cops; (they must be) active and participating, not passive and patient; asking the questions that we viewers would like to ask.
I ask the moderators, please, to take a side. No, not for any candidate but rather that they take a side for the audience and for the voters. That is journalism as public service. They are obligated to ask tough and uncomfortable questions, to correct the candidates if they lie, to press them if they do not want to answer, and to prevent them from spewing non-specific spin. In the end, if both campaigns complain about the moderator it will be the best indicator that they did their jobs.
Any of the two candidates could win the White House. There is much at stake. The debates are the final trial by fire. The entire world, no exaggeration, will be debating the debates.
The entire column is not yet available in English, but will be once it has been translated and rendered for Fusion's readers- and we'll be watching, as always, for any omissions or contextual changes. Nonetheless, these few paragraphs sure jump out.
Without mentioning her by name, Ramos is clearly evoking Candy Crowley's infamous 2012 presidential debate performance. The most widely-commented portion of the debate (read the MRC's full analysis here) was, of course, the exchange on Benghazi in which Crowley came to Obama's rescue. She stepped in, as Ramos now suggests, and corrected candidate Romney for something that did not need correction, and changed the trajectory of the debates. Because of Ramos' behavior throughout this campaign cycle, his line that moderators take a side "not for one of the candidates, but for the viewers" is beyond farcical, requiring a willful suspension of disbelief far beyond this author's abilities.
In fact, such side-taking will most assuredly go one way- Hillary Clinton's way. I know so, because of this breezy summary of voter doubts over the Democrat nominee:
Hillary Clinton, for her part, has had a cough and a credibility problem. Polls show that many people do not believe her. Why? Because they suspect that erasing thousands of e-mails on a private server is (done) in order to hide something. And, because decisions made simultaneously at the State Department and at the Clinton Foundation could have generated conflicts of interest.
The cough, caused by pneumonia, could have happened to any of us. But why the delays in disclosing the disgnosis to the press? Will this be the same M.O. at the White House?
Mark these paragraphs down, because they are the first time that Ramos has ever raised these questions about Hillary Clinton in an opinion column. And then, only as a couple of throwaway lines in the middle of asking debate moderators to reenact his Iowa press conference confrontation with Donald Trump. Note the passive voice when talking about Clinton's credibility gap- "polls show" and "decisions made". This is not exactly a profile of courage in taking "a stand against corruption and public lies".
But none of this should surprise anyone. As Newsbusters Executive Editor Tim Graham recently noted, the establishment media has been crying out for enhanced fact-checking during debates and candidate forums. Jorge Ramos is merely adding to the building of that permission structure, just as he built the permission structure for journalists to abandon objectivity altogether in 2016.