Univision's Feb. 7 late night national newscast delivered a little more than the usual bias and "Resistance" talking points. Viewers got to see some misdirection, an outrageous smear against conservatives, and even a bit of relativist "whataboutism."
Here's how Univision anchor Enrique Acevedo dismissed Trump Administration charges that the media has underreported or misreported 78 recent radical Islam-inspired terrorist attacks:
ENRIQUE ACEVEDO, NEWS ANCHOR, UNIVISION: This list published by the White House doesn't include attempts like those of Oklahoma, Aurora, Colorado and Newtown, Connecticut committed by extreme right white men.
This sotto voce smear comes at the end of his report, a lazy bit of whataboutistic "tu quoque" intended to cast Trump and other media critics as racist hypocrites only concerned about terror attacks or mass shootings perpetrated by Muslim persons of color.
The fact is that none of the referenced white men were ideologically motivated "extreme right" wingers who shouted "Ronald Reagan is the greatest" before committing their atrocities. The Oklahoma City bomber was ideologically all over the place, and it is well-documented that both the Aurora and Newtown shooters had severe mental health disorders.
The smear, leveled at the very end of the report, seeks to distract from the sophistries of the broader piece. It is true that Univision has reported on most if not all of the major terrorist attacks in recent years. However, it is also true that on several occasions the network has sought to deflect from any Islamist motivations to those attacks. In that sense, the administration's charges actually ring uncomfortably true.
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Recall that Univision was quick to trot out a subsequently debunked gay angle (Miguel) before its viewers in the wake of the Pulse shooting in Orlando last June, as a way to deflect from Islamist terrorism as a motive. The FBI quickly discredited the theory, but not before the terrorist's alleged gay lover served his purpose and did his best to drive Islamism from the minds of Univision viewers. Talk about fake news.
Acevedo has also been an active part of the problem. Recall his op-ed after the Paris attack (which we covered here) in which he expressed his conviction that "what inspires the world's most violent group is not the Koran or Islam's religious teachings." Then, as now, Acevedo clearly sought to deflect from radical Islamism, as well as bring up the specter of the far right-winger.
Perhaps Mr. Acevedo is better served by reporting on things that are factual and allowing his viewers to reach their own conclusions insead of "making change" through "a story well-told"...especially when the story is so easily debunked.
Below is a complete transcript of the referenced report, which aired during the February 7, 2017 edition of Noticiero Univision Edición Nocturna.
UNIVISION ANCHOR ENRIQUE ACEVEDO: Today, President Donald Trump reiterated his criticism of the news media for minimizing terrorist attacks around the world and for not covering them, he said, in an adequate manner. The White House said that it would provide a list that would exemplify the arguments made by President Donald Trump.
UNIVISION ANCHOR ENRIQUE ACEVEDO: This is the list that was published by the White House. It includes 78 attacks carried out or inspired by the self-styled Islamic State and that, per the Trump Administration, did not receive sufficient media coverage.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: The very, very dishonest press doesn't want to report it.
UNIVISION ANCHOR ENRIQUE ACEVEDO: The White House's list also includes the attacks in Paris, San Bernardino, Orlando, Nice, and Brussels...events that were widely covered, in fact, (for) weeks after they occurrred.
ERNESTO LONDOÑO, JOURNALIST, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Trump's team has spent a year, year and a half on a strategic campaign that seeks to disparage the press...that seeks to convince readers and the public that (we in) the media are dishonest, that we publish lies, and that we often ignore information due to political reasons. Because we want to advantage some factions and we want to harm others. This most recent example is categorically false.
UNIVISION ANCHOR ENRIQUE ACEVEDO: Nationally, the White House mentions the attack against the Pulse nightclub in Orlando where 49 people died, as well as the attack in San Bernardino in December of 2015, perpetrated by American Syed Rizwan Farook. Both were extensively covered by Univision news.
This wall at the news museum, the Newseum, in Washington, D.C. includes the faces and names of many journalists that have died at the hands of terrorist organizations. It is a powerful testimony to what many of these journalists are willing to sacrifice in order to deliver the story to their audiences.
JOSÉ DÍAZ BRISEÑO, JOURNALIST, REFORMA (MX): Since 9/11, the issue of terrorism has been at the center of the agenda. There's been no incident that wasn't covered by international media. On the contrary, we're accused of overreporting these issues and forgetting about matters that are more central to people's everyday affairs.
UNIVISION ANCHOR ENRIQUE ACEVEDO: The tension between the media and power is not new- but as Luis Botello of the International Center for Journalists says, this administration has escalated its attacks against the press to unprecedented levels.
LUIS BOTELLO, INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR JOURNALISTS: The audience will understand that it is part of a democracy, I think at those differences, at those debates and intense discussions, always trying to maintain an independent press...
UNIVISION ANCHOR ENRIQUE ACEVEDO: Ilia, what is interesting is this list published by the White House doesn't include attempts like those of Oklahoma, Aurora, Colorado and Newtown, Connecticut committed by extreme right white men.