CNNEE Did *Not* Monkey Up Its DeSantis Coverage

August 31st, 2018 11:12 PM

Whereas, as we recently noted, Univision embarrassed itself with its horrendously biased coverage of the “monkey it up” flap that kicked off the election of Florida’s next governor, CNN En Español showed how it’s done. Unlike its English-language namesake, CNN’s Spanish-language network is still in the business of hard news.

Here’s how CNN En Español covered the controversy surrounding Congressman Ron DeSantis’ desire that Florida voters not “monkey it up” by embracing the socialist “Abolish ICE” agenda:



ANA MARIA MEJIA, CORRESPONDENT, CNN EN ESPAÑOL: There is controversy, Juan Carlos, precisely due to some statements given by the other candidate, the one elected by the Republicans, Ron DeSantis. Well, he gave some statements on TV today where he spoke with like a bit of a racist tinge and he has been broadly criticized. DeSantis was publicly endorsed by President Donald Trump. Let’s listen to what is causing this whole controversy:

(VOICE-OVER OF) REP. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): Then, we have to work hard to ensure that Florida continues along the right path. Let’s build upon the success we’ve had with Governor Scott. The last thing we need (is to) muck it up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with a huge tax increase and bankrupting the state. That’s not going to work. That won’t be good for Florida.

JUAN CARLOS LÓPEZ, ANCHOR, CNN EN ESPAÑOL: Now we have to point out, Ana María, what the controversy is with regard to Ron DeSantis’ statements. In this interview that we showed you, he said that it wasn’t time for Florida to monkey it up. Depends on how you interpret it...monkeying around, monkey business...making reference to what, he says, he wanted to say was-  to make reckless decisions with regard to the future of the state. But that reference in English, “monkey up”, has to do with a monkey- the opposing candidate is African-American and he took it as a racist slur. The DeSantis campaign says it is not, but the battle has begun.



The first thing you’ll notice is that the reporter *did* try to frame DeSantis’ remarks as racist, as did Univision’s Lourdes Del Río. But unlike Univision, CNNEE actually provided a Spanish-language voice-over. Now here’s where it gets interesting.

The interpreter didn’t provide an exact match for “monkey it up”, instead going with “muck it up”. Standard practice isn’t to interpret exact word-for-word, but to convey units of meaning, especially when it comes to idiomatic expressions. “Muck it up” worked in that it precisely conveyed what DeSantis was trying to say, but left non-English speaking viewers puzzled as to why someone might find that to be racist...and made Mejía look like a fool for framing it that way.

After the segment, anchor Lopez had to go in and clean up. In so doing, he takes the time to explain the idiom “monkey it up”, he offers an identical Spanish-language idiom (which, incidentally, is the exact one used in the Spanish-language version of our coverage of the Univision report), and takes the time to explain how and why some perceived the remark to be racist. In other words, Lopez presented viewers with the facts, and trusted them to decide for themselves...the exact opposite of how Univision conducts itself, which always appears to betray a belief that their viewers are morons.

This still being CNN, the report closed with a chyron blaring out “Republican candidate’s racist remarks”. Even so, the coverage was still far more honest and factual than what the media have accustomed us to.