FLASHBACK: Jorge Ramos’ Iowa Confrontation Of Trump, A Landmark Media TDS Moment, Was Totally Fake

August 25th, 2020 11:07 AM

Five years ago today, Univision senior anchor Jorge Ramos left the comforts of his Miami studio, headed to Dubuque, Iowa; and attended then-candidate Donald Trump’s press conference. The confrontation that took place became the top story of the day, and would eventually become a landmark media TDS moment that foreshadowed what coverage of Trump presidency would eventually become. But it was all fake.

The entire thing, per Jorge Ramos’ admission, was carefully produced and stage-managed with the intent of crafting confrontation that could produce a viral moment. See for yourself, in Ramos’ own words (click “Expand” to view transcript):

PETER MANSBRIDGE, CBC: Why did you make the decision that you had to go to Iowa to confront Donald Trump?

JORGE RAMOS, UNIVISION: As you know, television… television doesn't happen. Television is produced. It is created. And, so we brought three cameras, we brought microphones, and our purpose was to talk to Donald Trump. And confront Donald Trump. That was the purpose. As a journalist.

MANSBRIDGE: A confrontation.

RAMOS: I wanted to ask him a question- many questions, but (...) yes, it was going to be a confrontation.


MANSBRIDGE: You keep calling it questions, your “questions”, where in fact you didn’t ask a question. They’re statements, not questions.

MANSBRIDGE: You can not deport 11 million people

RAMOS: You can not deport 11 million… you can not deport 11 million people.

MANSBRIDGE: You can not deport 11 million… you can not deport 11 million people

RAMOS: You can not build a 1900-mile wall.

MANSBRIDGE: You can not deny citizenship to children in this country.

RAMOS: You can not deny citizenship to children in this country.

RAMOS: I confronted him on the fact that he wants to deport 11 million people, and build a wall, and deny citizenship.

RAMOS: We thought that in Dubuque, Iowa, there would be just a few journalists following the candidate. And we were right. So we showed up like two hours before, we brought three cameras, and then we made a plan. I was going to be wearing a microphone so my voice would be at the exact same level as his when we start editing

DONALD TRUMP: No, you haven’t you haven’t been called.

RAMOS: I have… I have the right to ask a question. And this is...no. And this is the question. You can not deport 11 million… you can not deport 11 million people. You can not build a 1900-mile wall. You can not deny citizenship to children in this country.

RAMOS: Then we had the three cameras well-positioned, the lighting was right, and then I made a plan. (...) We planned everything.

RAMOS: TV, television doesn't happen. You create it. You produce it. It doesn't happen just like that. And that’s exactly what we did. (...) We NEEDED TO CONFRONT HIM.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN: You wanted to get into a fight with him and you got your fight.

RAMOS: We will be judged, as journalists, by how we responded to Donald Trump.

Ramos’ performative confrontation has since led to wide media acclaim, two books, multiple awards and speeches, and multiple attempts at English-language programming across multiple Univision platforms.

His performance set the gold standard for Trump-era #Resistance Journalism™, without which there would be no Jim Acosta, no Paula Reid, no Yamiche Alcindor, no Weijia Jiang- among so many others. Furthermore, this outburst foreshadowed the extent to which a broken, corrupt media has yielded to rank partisanship against its viewers’ wishes and interests- as seen on CNN, MSNBC, the over-the-air newscasts and, especially, at Univision and Telemundo. 

Ramos would confirm the staged nature of the event afterwards but his former co-anchor María Elena Salinas, now at CBS but still doing Univision-y things, gave us the best contemporaneous insight into what Ramos did- via an op-ed that Univision would later pull soon after we translated it into English:

I didn’t need to see the images in order to know what had happened, I could already imagine it. At no time did I think, ‘Poor Jorge, they kicked him out’; but rather, ‘Trump has no idea of what is in store for him’. Jorge wanted a piece of Trump ever since that first speech where he announced his candidacy and said that Mexico sends criminals, drug traffickers and rapists over the border. In reality, most of us that work in Spanish-language media have wanted a piece of him (Trump), have wanted to question him and challenge him and show him that his statements are baseless. Moreover, that his words are the equivalent of a declaration of war against an important sector of American society. As in any war, an aggression against one of our own brings pride and nationalism to the surface. Insult Hispanic immigrants, with or without papers, and you insult all of us Hispanics. They are not alone.

Those who criticize Jorge for having stood up to ask questions out of turn need to understand something: he did not go there to play by Trump’s rules. Believe me, I know him. What interests him is what he always describes as “the big picture”, which could be translated into something like the greater goal. The Trump vs. Ramos fight made global headlines. Now Trump will surely grant Jorge the interview. At the end of the day, he loves to be the center of attention. Mission accomplished. The rest is small stuff.

Alas, no one at Univision- let alone Ramos- has gotten that interview. 

Five years ago today, politically-motivated grievance mongering took the place of actual reporting and fact-finding. We didn't know it at the time, but Jorge Ramos’ performative outburst in Iowa- in itself an overt act of Fake News- was an early warning of what was to come.


Click here to read Media Research Center Founder and President L. Brent Bozell’s letter to the FCC in strong opposition to the proposed rule change that would allow Univision to become 100% foreign-owned, which would only further embolden Jorge Ramos’ brand of activist journalism.