One constant throughout my conversations with those who work in local media (particularly local media serving Hispanic communities) is the contemptuous tone reserved for the “parachute media”: that is, members of the elite Acela Media (“media reporters” and such) who “parachute” into a subject matter they know nothing about, fart out their reports, and then return to D.C. or New York. I’ve thought about that quite a bit as I consider the quality of reporting subsequent to Televisa’s interview of former President Donald Trump.
The common thread to emerge from coverage of the interview and subsequent reaction is that the interview is somehow representative of Univision shifting to the right. I assure you, this is the fakest of fake news.
Semafor’s initial report revealed grumbling within Univision over the fact that the whole operation was run by Televisa- Univision’s parent company which is headquartered in Mexico City.
The unusual structure of the interview has prompted some internal grumbling within Univision. According to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation, the interview
was largely organized by Televisa, the giant Mexican media company that owns Univision. While Acevedo, a former Univision and CBS broadcaster, is one of Mexico’s most widely-respected television journalists, the decision to give an anchor from Televisa an hour in primetime is unusual, network sources said, and some Univision staff told Semafor they would have preferred if the interviewer was a member of Univision staff — who tend to be more engaged in American politics.
In this context, “member of Univision staff” is code for Jorge Ramos, who you’ll recall stage-crafted his ejection from a Trump press conference in Dubuque, Iowa, and manufactured a confrontation in which he asked no questions. (click “Expand”)
PETER MANSBRIDGE, CBC: Why did you make the decision that you had to go to Iowa to confront Donald Trump?
JORGE RAMOS, UNIVISION: As you know, television… television doesn't happen. Television is produced. It is created. And, so we brought three cameras, we brought microphones, and our purpose was to talk to Donald Trump. And confront Donald Trump. That was the purpose. As a journalist.
MANSBRIDGE: A confrontation.
RAMOS: I wanted to ask him a question- many questions, but (...) yes, it was going to be a confrontation.
MANSBRIDGE: You keep calling it questions, your “questions”, where in fact you didn’t ask a question. They’re statements, not questions.
MANSBRIDGE: You can not deport 11 million people
RAMOS: You can not deport 11 million… you can not deport 11 million people.
MANSBRIDGE: You can not deport 11 million… you can not deport 11 million people
RAMOS: You can not build a 1900-mile wall.
MANSBRIDGE: You can not deny citizenship to children in this country.
RAMOS: You can not deny citizenship to children in this country.
RAMOS: I confronted him on the fact that he wants to deport 11 million people, and build a wall, and deny citizenship.
RAMOS: We thought that in Dubuque, Iowa, there would be just a few journalists following the candidate. And we were right. So we showed up like two hours before, we brought three cameras, and then we made a plan. I was going to be wearing a microphone so my voice would be at the exact same level as his when we start editing
DONALD TRUMP: No, you haven’t you haven’t been called.
RAMOS: I have… I have the right to ask a question. And this is...no. And this is the question. You can not deport 11 million… you can not deport 11 million people. You can not build a 1900-mile wall. You can not deny citizenship to children in this country.
RAMOS: Then we had the three cameras well-positioned, the lighting was right, and then I made a plan. (...) We planned everything.
RAMOS: TV, television doesn't happen. You create it. You produce it. It doesn't happen just like that. And that’s exactly what we did. (...) We NEEDED TO CONFRONT HIM.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN: You wanted to get into a fight with him and you got your fight.
RAMOS: We will be judged, as journalists, by how we responded to Donald Trump.
Puck followed suit. Dylan Byers’ writeup goes into the history of the Televisa merger, Jared Kushner’s relationship with Televisa co-CEO Bernardo Gómez, mentions the Ramos spectacle, and posits the “shift”:
Since the merger, Univision’s editorial stance has shifted rightward, network sources said, presenting a stark contrast to the more adversarial posture Univision was known for during Trump’s first campaign. Indeed, the last time Trump spoke to Univision on camera was in 2015, when he repeatedly told then-star anchor Jorge Ramos to “sit down” during a press briefing before Ramos was thrown out for refusing to stop asking questions. Under TelevisaUnivision, Univision has made a greater effort to interview Republican politicians, the sources said, and earlier this year the network partnered with Fox Business as host of the second G.O.P. presidential primary debate—the first time Univision has ever partnered with Fox Corp.
The Washington Post also ran with the “shift”. Now we have a trend, and something for the rest of the Acela Media to grab a hold of:
The reversal has shocked Democrats — who are preparing a massive ad campaign to brand Trump as hostile to Latino interests — and some journalists inside Univision, who think that the past week has demonstrated the heavy hand of their new corporate bosses. The Mexican media company Grupo Televisa, which has long fostered a close relationship with Mexican political leaders, merged with Univision in 2021.
But there is no shift. Televisa, horrified to discover that their long sought-after acquisition was little more than a regurgitator of the most unhinged Democrat talking points, tried to engineer a shift. This was a network that, among other things:
- Colluded with the 2016 Clinton presidential campaign. As the WashPost item notes, then-Executive Chairman Haim Saban directed President of News Isaac Lee to meet with Clinton campaign chair John Podesta. We were the only outlet to report on these communications, made public by WikiLeaks, at the time.
- Willfully failed to disclose to viewers that they used Joe Biden’s pollster.
Upon taking over, Televisa promptly fired President of News Daniel Coronell and brought in their trusted hand, Leopoldo Gómez. But this didn’t last long. Gómez was handicapped from the outset of his tenure, as Jorge Ramos was named Special Editorial Advisor to Univision CEO Wade Davis. Sure enough- Gómez departed Univision, unable to implement any significant editorial reforms, and the network rehired Daniel Coronell. As we noted when we broke that story, the hiring of Coronell was akin to a dog returning to its vomit- a clear sign that there would be no reforms at Univision.
But the media are running with the “shift” narrative, as demonstrated by MSNBC’s Alex Wagner:
MSNBC's Alex Wagner suggests Team Biden do its Spanish-language targeting on "channels that do not rhyme with Snunivision" (only Comcast sister Telemundo comes close). The Acela Media galaxy brains really want the left to shun its most reliable news outlet over Trump-Televisa. pic.twitter.com/BkFwWIU6Ph— Jorge Bonilla (@BonillaJL) November 16, 2023
What we are seeing here, more than the denunciation of a non-existent shift to the right for Univision (if anything, they’re overcompensating to the left, given the two-day news cycle they just devoted to the death of a non-binary judge in Mexico, for example), is the left’s collective mourning over the perceived loss of air supremacy on a network with near-monopoly power.
One swallow does not a summer make, despite both the irrational exuberance of my MAGA friends and the irrational anguish of my friends on the left. One interview, planned and executed by Univision’s corporate parent, does not constitute a major editorial shift. But Acela “media journalists” unable to distinguish between Doral and Mexico City would have you believe that.
Univision has not shifted to the right, and is not suddenly willing to grant a fair hearing to conservatives. Univision is still the same corporate immigration client of the Democratic Party, and is as willing as ever to foist the rest of the leftwing policy pupu platter upon its viewers. That’s my assessment of the facts as they stand today. So long as Ramos and Coronell are in place and in charge, Noticias Univision will remain what it has always been- a reliable left-wing cesspool.
Could this change? We’ll see. Only time will tell, as the news division navigates this particular period of uncertainty. Will Televisa manage to pull Univision to the center, or at the very least, somewhere to the right of Mao? Or does Univision remain the Democrats’ most reliable media partner? We’ll know in the days and weeks ahead. Once the fog clears.