The top domestic Spanish-language television networks, Telemundo and Univision, have pounded the voter registration and turnout drum, as they have for every election cycle, and yet they’ve remained silent on the race to replace an icon and pioneer in Florida’s 27th Congressional District.
One would’ve thought that the race to succeed the retiring Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the first Hispanic woman elected to Congress, would have obtained a higher profile on the nation's leading Hispanic media outlets. Ros-Lehtinen’s long run on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which has included its chairmanship- has made her a frequent guest on Sunday morning political affairs shows, but that hasn’t been the case so far.
Both Telemundo and Univision have provided minimal coverage since María Elvira Salazar’s victory in this past summer's Republican primary for Florida’s 27th Congressional District. Since then: mum’s the word. Telemundo has even gone into radio silence as far as Salazar is concerned. Since then, absolutely nothing except on rival CNN En Español, which last week provided this key insight into the race:
JAVIER MAZA, POLITICAL ANALYST: Maria Elvira Salazar comes from the world of television and journalism. Generally, she has a good image.
ANA MARIA MEJIA, CORRESPONDENT, CNN EN ESPAÑOL: A journalist and host with over 35 years of experience in media, especially within the Hispanic community - perhaps her greatest strength.
Why go dark on FL-27? It really boils down to this: Ros-Lehtinen is a Republican, as is Salazar - with all that this implies in 2018.
More importantly, Salazar comes from the Miami media orbit, where both Univision and Telemundo are headquartered - and has served stints at both networks. The last thing these folks want is to have to cover someone who was once one of their own, knows how they work, knows their biases and who knows how to engage them...or worse, to have to engage her in an interview. Better for them, then, to wait the election out and see if Donna Shalala, a far friendlier interview, ekes out the win.
Fear, ultimately, is why there exists a virtual national Spanish-language media blackout against María Elvira Salazar.