Univision senior anchor Jorge Ramos’ English-language vehicle is going through another reconfiguration, this time as part of Univision’s programming block on Facebook Watch. But will the show’s content be substantially different now, with a potential audience that could far exceed Fusion’s tens of viewers?
Univision is part of the social media giant’s strategy to buy its way out of scrutiny and scandal in the wake of the 2016 presidential election. Per Variety:
After going through the fake-news wringer, Facebook is shelling out money on original news content. The strategy is partly aimed at driving up viewing on its Facebook Watch platform — but it also is supposed to demonstrate the social-media giant’s commitment to funding trustworthy journalism.
The initial shows, fully funded by Facebook, come from seven partners: TV news orgs ABC News, CNN, Fox News Channel, and Univision; local news publisher Advance Local; and digital media companies ATTN: and Mic. They’re slated to roll out on Facebook Watch this summer. The mix includes live breaking news, daily news briefings, and weekly, longer-form series.
This funded publication of select, cherry-picked news outlets seems a purchase of indulgences from the same media outlets that are expected to scrutinize the runaway digital colossus that Facebook has become. Facebook even included Fox News, so as to make sure that no one feels left out.
However, Facebook’s decision to broadcast content from Univision on an exclusive basis warrants scrutiny. Given Univision’s behavior during the 2016 election and subsequent criticism, a reasonable observer could be baffled as to why Facebook would want to grant them monopolistic access to its news vehicle, and why Facebook thinks it is combatting the perception of bias by platforming an individual who is, arguably, the most biased anchor on national evening news. Telemundo’s exclusion here is inexcusable.
And this leads us to back to Ramos. Whereas last November’s rebrand was marketed as a #Resistance vehicle, this run seems to center around immigration - which means that we can come to expect more of the same. Whether Univision rehashes old Fusion programming or puts out new content, we’ll be watching.