Univision anchor Jorge Ramos turned the network’s coronavirus newscast into his personal platform from which to twist two out-of-context seconds of a recent CNN interview featuring Dr. Anthony Fauci into a scathing editorial decrying the Trump Administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Watch Ramos use the truncated Fauci clip as fuel with which to burn down an army of straw men, followed by what Fauci actually said (Click "Expand" to view full transcript):
RAMOS: How is it possible- it’s an honest question. How is it possible that the world’s most powerful country- that the world’s wealthiest country- Maria Antonieta- have those numbers, when we’ve known, since January 21st, which is when the first case was reported here in the United States. And President Trump waited until March 13th before making a decision. So...why was something not done sooner? How are we accepting these terrible numbers like this? Anthony Fauci, who is, of course the advisor- one of President Donald Trump’s main advisors- who, by the way, has advised six American presidents-
MARÍA ANTONIETA COLLINS: Oh, yeah?
RAMOS: He had an interview with CNN. And he told it exactly like it is. If they’d acted sooner- Had the Trump Administration acted sooner, more lives would have been saved. And we have what he said, so that you don’t (have to) take my word for it. Listen to him instead.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI: ...and you started mitigation earlier, you could’ve saved lives. Obviously, no one is gonna deny that.
RAMOS: It’s as simple as that. Had we begun the measures sooner, lives would have been saved. I’ll say it again because it’s very important. Had we acted sooner, more lives would have been saved. And since we didn’t act sooner, since we had all the information beforehand, since the government had all the information beforehand and took no action, Anthony Fauci is saying that this is why we have so many deaths.
FAUCI: You know, it isn't as simple as that, Jake, I'm sorry. I mean, to just say this is all happening because we got started too late. Obviously, if you looked could you have done something a little bit earlier it would have had an impact, obviously. But where we are right now is the result of a number of factors. The size of the country, the heterogeneity of the country. It’s- I think it’s a little bit unfair to compare us to South Korea where they had an outbreak in Daegu and they had the capability of immediately, essentially shutting it off completely in a way that we may not have been able to do in this country. So obviously, it would have been nice if we had a better head start. But I don’t think you could say that we are where we are because of one factor. It’s very complicated, Jake.
Naturally, Univision’s viewers didn’t get to hear the rest of Fauci’s statements because they would’ve immediately blown Ramos’ rant out of the water.
It should be noted that Ramos’ on-air editorial was a companion to his opinion column, the only such column among anchors of a prime-time network newscast in the United States, subty titled “Trump’s Failure”. Ramos’ columns are relevant to this discussion because in his on-air editorial he attempted to establish the period between January 21st and March 13th as a timeline of inaction. But what was Ramos discussing in his opinion columns during that same time period where "something was not done sooner"?
Going back to January 27th, and in order:
- Violence against journalists in Mexico
- Coronavirus aboard the Diamond Princess (2/17)
- Biden’s criticism of Obama deportations (extracted during interview with Ramos)
- Femicides in Mexico
- Ramos’ 62nd birthday
- Coronavirus (3/23 and thereafter)
It turns out that, with the exception of his column on the Diamond Princess, coronavirus wasn’t top-of-mind for Ramos either. When compared with his opinion columns during that same time period, it becomes clear that Ramos’ rant was little less than performative outrage and disinformation in furtherance of an agenda, to wit: to express opposition to the Trump Administration and to drive fear within the Hispanic population.
Univision’s viewers deserve better, and the marketplace cries out for an alternative.