In the midst of wrapping up a media tour hawking his latest book and on the heels of what he considers – because of the election of Donald Trump – the ‘worst time’ of his 35 years in the United States, Univision anchor Jorge Ramos now says he’s pining to return to Mexico.
In an extensive interview with Spanish-language television personality Jaime Bayly, Ramos, who turned 60 this month, confessed he would like to live in Mexico again, at least “for a while.” “I would like to return to the country I left,” Ramos said with evident nostalgia, calling his desire to return to his homeland “a pending assignment.”
Bayly also singularly succeeded in both confronting – and getting the Univision anchor to admit – that the type of journalism Ramos practices includes activism, specifically when it comes to U.S. immigration policy.
JAIME BAYLY, HOST, MEGA TV: I do believe you are an activist, and I am going to tell you why.
JORGE RAMOS, SENIOR NEWS ANCHOR, UNIVISION: Go ahead.
BAYLY: …and in this case I am not asking a question, forgive me.
RAMOS: …no, no, no, an affirmation. It’s an analysis, of course.
BAYLY: I believe you are an activist against racism, a topic that you are very sensitive about. You are an activist in favor of immigration, legal and undocumented. You believe it enriches, the mix is good.
BAYLY: You are an activist who supports, for example, a free press, of not allowing authoritarian presidents to restrict the right of journalists to ask uncomfortable things. That is activism. Do you not recognize that in that you are an activist?
RAMOS: Let’s see. It’s that I believe the great danger…my first answer, upfront, is no. I am a journalist, not an activist. I am just a journalist who asks questions, no? That is all. That would be my answer and I would remain silent and I would tell you, like Uribe, next question?
RAMOS: hahaha, of course. Yes, yes, yes. Don't you have another question?
RAMOS: Really, Uribe never wanted to answer.
RAMOS: Do you have another question, Mr. Bayly?
RAMOS: No, but, I think what is important here is to understand that the definition of a real journalist, a complete journalist, is one who at a given moment is willing, Jaime, to take a stand. Elie Weisel, the Holocaust survivor who recently passed away, winner of the Nobel Peace prize, said that neutrality only helps the oppressor, never the victims and I believe that our vision of what it is to be a journalist does include what you define as activism, but I believe that more than activism, it is a humanitarian position, humanist, before certain things.
Ramos went on to give lip service to national sovereignty in the matter of immigration (as well as acknowledge that lower, more restrictive immigration policies in and of themselves cannot be honestly, ipso facto characterized as “racist”), but he then all but throws national sovereignty out the window before “humanitarian” concerns, by declaring that "when there is a humanitarian crisis, that prevails over the right of a country to protect its borders."
BAYLY: Do you agree to admit that a political leader that wishes to stop undocumented immigration, is not necessarily a racist?
RAMOS: Oh, of course, I think there are people…
BAYLY: Is it legitimate?
RAMOS: Well, I think that every country has the right to protect its borders and choose who comes and who doesn’t. Now, you have to recognize that there are 250 million immigrants in the world, you and I among them, and most of the people here, and when there is a humanitarian crisis, that prevails, it seems to me, over the right of a country to protect its borders and not allow anyone in. I believe we are obliged to help the most vulnerable.
Finally, as also occurred during Ramos’s interview earlier in the month with PBS’ Christiane Amanpour, the Univision anchorman’s infamous disorderly conduct during an August 2015 Donald Trump press conference in Iowa continues to bedevil Ramos and led to several awkward exchanges and revelations during the book tour.
It is worth noting that CNN video of the event clearly captures then Trump campaign security director Keith Schiller telling Ramos he has a right to ask a question “in order” but those two words are deliberately and deceptively edited out of the version used by PBS, Univision and Fusion.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, HOST, PBS: Ramos, perhaps America’s most influential Spanish- language journalist, knows a lot about activism. Here he is at Donald Trump’s campaign event in August of 2015.
DONALD TRUMP: Who’s next? Yeah, please.
RAMOS: Mr. Trump, I have a question.
TRUMP: Excuse me, sit down, you weren’t called, sit down.
RAMOS: I am an American citizen
TRUMP: Sit down, sit down
RAMOS: As a U.S. citizen I have the right to ask a question…
TRUMP: No you don’t, you haven’t been called.
RAMOS: I have the right to ask the question, and this is the question.
DONALD TRUMP: You haven’t been called…
RAMOS: No, this is the question: You cannot deport 11 million people, you cannot build a 1,900 mile wall, you cannot deny citizenship to children in this country. And with those ideas…
TRUMP: Sit down, you weren’t called.
RAMOS: I’m a reporter, and don’t touch me sir. Don’t touch me sir. You cannot touch me.
KEITH SCHILLER, DIRECTOR OF SECURITY, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Please don't disrupt, you're being disruptive.
RAMOS: I have the right to ask a question.
SCHILLER: Yes, in order.
TRUMP: Yes, go ahead…
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: So, Ramos has written a book about what it means to be an immigrant in America. It's called Stranger, The Challenge of a Latino Immigrant in the Trump Era, and he is joining me now from Miami. Jorge, welcome to the program. It is extraordinary to introduce you with that piece of videotape and that reminder of what happened a couple of years ago. Um, your thoughts now seeing that - he just didn’t want to answer your question, even before you started with the statements.
RAMOS: Well yes, it was, I have to admit it was a long question, but you’ve been to many press conferences and not all the time you wait for your turn.
The multiple statement-filled “long question” also tripped Ramos up in his interview with Bayly.
RAMOS: I must admit - and I am glad we are talking about this - that if today I were to ask the question again, I would make it much shorter and maybe I would have said, are you a racist?
BAYLY: How interesting, because effectively they are emphatic affirmations…
BAYLY: that do not contain a question…
BAYLY: …though they suggest a question is coming, but he didn’t let you get to it.
RAMOS: Of course, and after thinking about it for so long, I believe sometimes one makes a mistake, and one must go with this Oriana Falacci instinct, no?
BAYLY: You would have asked him are you a racist?
RAMOS: Of course. He arrives, I stand up, he doesn’t recognize me (for a question). Also, Donald Trump who is a master in non-corporal language, he doesn´t even see me.
With his credibility on the matter essentially shredded, Ramos also pathetically defended his performance at the press conference by saying that “If I had waited, Jaime, for Donald Trump to recognize me to ask a question, I would still be holding my hand up.”