The exchange between anchor Félix de Bedout and U.S. Senator Robert Menéndez on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court, aired on a recent episode of Unvision's public affairs show Al Punto, is emblematic of what must change at Univision’s news division if there is to be an honest effort to engage U.S. Hispanics from all walks of life.
Watch as de Bedout, filling in for a vacationing Jorge Ramos, asks Menéndez about the Kavanaugh pick and then allows Menéndez to spew talking points unabated, as aired on Sunday, July 15th, 2018.
FELIX DE BEDOUT, UNIVISION ANCHOR: Senator, I have to move quickly to two current issues such as the nomination of a new candidate to the United States Supreme Court. Your opinion regarding the president’s nominee:
SEN: ROBERT MENENDEZ (D-NJ): This nominee, for me, is unacceptable, because he has shown through precedents that he has set in federal court that he is intolerant towards a series of the most important issues for our community- the issue of immigration, the issue of the rights that we have under the healthcare law, which has caused an opportunity for millions of Hispanics to have health care insurance. Civil rights, voting rights, workers’ rights...all of those elements where the United States Supreme Court decides what the law of the land is are at risk for our community and for the nation, and that’s why this judge is not acceptable to me.
There was no further discussion of the pick beyond Menéndez’ partisan talking points, and no one to advocate for Kavanaugh’s qualifications, experience, and record. Univision’s viewers are simply expected to take Menéndez’ partisan opinion (as elicited by de Bedout) as fact. This bit of hyperpartisanship that Univision attempted to sell as news analysis is part of former Chief Content Officer Isaac Lee’s legacy of “no two sides” journalism.
Recall how Lee justified these institutional biases when he was President of Univision News:
ISAAC LEE, (FORMER) CHIEF CONTENT OFFICER, UNIVISION: I think if you are an American journalist covering the Second World War, it’s not a problem for you to want the Nazis to lose. And I don’t think you need to be saying ‘Well, you know, the Allied Expeditionary Force Commander says this, and on the other hand the Fuhrer says that.’ I think it’s ok to understand that sometimes you have to be on the right side of the issues in history.
It is incumbent upon Lee’s successor to restore the credibility of Univision’s news operation, and to restore a brand of journalism that places facts and honest debate above liberal activism.