Univision’s Al Punto is not, by any measure of the imagination, the place to go when you are looking for balanced news analysis and political commentary. So, too, was the case with its most recent iteration, which opened with reaction to last week’s contentious hearings on the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court.
Host Jorge Ramos’ idea of a balanced panel is to find people from all parties who agree on a particular issue that falls within the network's (or his) agenda. Such was the case with this panel, which featured Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez for the Democrats, former Treasurer of the United States Rosario Marin for the Republicans, and Ana María Archila, the left-wing activist who confronted U.S. Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) in a Capitol elevator and is largely credited with swaying him to condition his vote to allow the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh out of committee, contingent to a limited FBI investigation of some of the allegations of sexual assault aired over the last few weeks. Archila’s appearance on Al Punto confirms those suspicions.
The New York Daily News describes Archila as “a member of the Working Families Party and executive director of the New York-based (and Soros-funded -Ed.) Center for Popular Democracy.”
Watch as Archila lays out her rationale for specifically targeting Flake, later concedes that opposition to Kavanaugh is mostly over political ideology, and listen as Jorge Ramos seems to encourage more of these performances. The below portions aired on Univision’s Al Punto on Sunday, September 30, 2018.
JORGE RAMOS, SENIOR ANCHOR, UNIVISION: Ana Maria Archila, the confrontation you had with Senator Flake did not change his vote, but- why do you do it? Why is it important to do it?
ANA MARIA ARCHILA: I do it because I’m really thinking about my daughter and my son. I do it because in reality, the stories that are coming out in solidarity with Dr. Ford are creating a new awareness. They’re forcing the country to confront the reality that, at this time, we are still allow men to violate women. And we are allowing someone who has been charged with to have the responsibility of oversee justice for this country. I truly had my hope placed in Senator Flake. I thought that he was someone who could truly vote his conscience and not just vote for his party.
JORGE RAMOS: The last word, Ana Maria Archila.
ANA MARIA ARCHILA: President Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh because Brett Kavanaugh is willing to destroy the right to an abortion, to destroy the healthcare system, and to violate workers’ rights. And now that he’s been charged with sexual abuse, President Trump has decided that his political agenda is more important than having someone with integrity on the Supreme Court and that’s why we women must go out and show the country that we are no longer willing to tolerate this treatment.
Here, Archila concedes that Flake was targeted because he could be bullied into submission, er...persuaded to "vote conscience over party".
There is a lot to unpack from this interview. It is clear from the sequencing of the interviews that Archila was the headliner. Sanchez and Marin were there to bolster, to bring their own (similar) perspectives and points of view, and mostly to chew up enough clock so as to keep Jorge Ramos from having to ask the uncomfortable questions that might emerge in a full ten-minute interview with Archila, especially after admitting that Flake was specifically targeted for what is known throughout Latin America as an “escrache”.
“Escraches” are performative confrontations, most commonly directed these days at former Chavista officials that have left Venezuela and opened businesses abroad. The purpose there is often to shame. Here in the United States, escraches are often performed by radical left-of-center organizations and directed at conservatives for the purpose of shaming as well as intimidating. A recent example is Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), who was recently hounded in the midst of dinner with his wife at a D.C. restaurant- also over the nomination of Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Here, Archila clearly admits that Flake was a deliberate target of an escrache for purposes of swerving his vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The rest of the interview was the usual one-sided Al Punto fare. This isn’t to cast doubt or aspersions on the panelists’ accounts of their own experiences. (Marin’s testimony was especially moving in this regard, as she recounts that her abuser “went straight to hell” without ever facing charges).
But the segment wasn’t really about believing victims of sexual abuse. For example, after playing a portion of the back-and-forth between Kavanaugh and Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) over FBI investigations, Ramos falsely concludes, “Brett Kavanaugh doesn’t want an FBI investigation.” Furthermore, there is no discussion about the FBI investigative process, and since the panel wasn’t balanced, there was no one on the panel to denounce the Democrats’ shameful actions throughout this process.
Today’s Al Punto served no other Purpose than to encourage other left-wing “escraches” against conservatives and to convict Brett Kavanaugh in a kangaroo court.