Bashing Trump at the Border: Telemundo and Univision Go Ballistic

As was to be expected, the top two national Spanish-language television networks, Telemundo and Univision, smelled blood and piled on to the liberal media frenzy over the efforts of federal immigration authorities to handle the recent spike in adults and minors entering unlawfully into the United States.

While the Big Three English-language broadcast networks (ABC, CBS and NBC) devoted 176 minutes to the issue over a six-day period between June 13 and June 18, Telemundo and Univision alone devoted a whopping 304 minutes of their comparable broadcasts to the same topic, during the seven days between June 17 and June 23.

In fact, on some days, such as June 18 on Telemundo and June 20 and June 21 on Univision, the two networks practically went in to “wall-to-wall” (pardon the pun) coverage mode, with the only news on their principal national evening newscasts being either border and immigration crisis coverage or World Cup soccer.

During that week, both Telemundo and Univision also made blatantly false and misleading use of the photo of two-year-old Honduran girl Yanela Varela. Without knowing for certain whether or not the little girl had been separated from her Mom (she wasn’t) both networks seized on the image to report that she had been separated.

JORGE RAMOS, SENIOR NEWS ANCHOR, UNIVISION: Time magazine shows President Donald Trump in a composite picture on its latest cover. We will show it.  It is the already famous image of a two-year old Honduran girl separated from her mother at the border, crying in front of the President.

As is also customary with Telemundo and Univision immigration coverage, retiring Chicagoland Congressman Luis Gutiérrez was also relied on for his consistently incendiary rhetoric on the issue. 

CONGRESSMAN LUIS GUTIÉRREZ (D-IL): We are not here to deny a part of our immigrant community justice to give a little bit of justice to others. It is for everyone or for no one.

However, during a similar surge of unauthorized immigrants four years ago during the Obama administration, the same Congressman spoke more realistically to Univision anchor Jorge Ramos about the fact that only a relative handful of the tens of thousands of people crossing the border unlawfully truly merit asylum and should not be deported.

CONGRESSMAN LUIS GUTIÉRREZ (D-IL): The law is clear. The inmen...Jorge, 95% of those children will never resolve a relief for their immigration situation. They are all in process of deportation at this time, and even after their hearing before the Court, 95% of them will be ordered to be deported. That’s why I don’t want them to come. And I join all those who say, “Children- and parents, don’t send your children here because that will resolve absolutely nothing. First, the coyotes and human traffickers will abuse them, they will rape them, they will kill them, and at the end they will charge them very expensively- and in the end, who wins? Those who are in human trafficking because the children will eventually receive no help in terms of immigration.

Another novel feature in liberal media coverage of the crisis was the characterization of the holding facilities for detainees as “cages.” Though the use of high, horizontal chain link fencing was also in evidence in similar holding facilities during the Obama administration, the term “cages” was never used.

For this study, MRC Latino reviewed Telemundo and Univision weekday morning shows, Un Nuevo Día and Despierta América, respectively, from June 18-22, 2018 along with both networks’ principal national evening newscasts from June 17-23, 2018.

MRC Latino Director Ken Oliver, news analyst Kathleen Krumhansl and intern Garvin Oliver contributed to this study.


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