Univision Sunday Show Sidesteps Proof of Network's Liberal Skew

April 8th, 2014 10:20 AM

As promised, following its launch last week, the Media Research Center’s new Hispanic media arm, MRC Latino, is conducting ongoing analysis of the news coverage on the country’s top Spanish-language television networks. In this space, as well as bilingually on the Facebook page and Twitter account of MRC Latino, we’ll be calling out instances of slanted, incomplete or inaccurate news coverage on these networks as we see it, as well as pointing out especially well-done news stories, whenever merited.

Along those lines, it’s worth noting that in the days since MRC Latino’s launch, there have been some indications of an uptick in participation by conservative leaders being quoted or cited in major Spanish-language media news stories, including those covered by the flagship national evening news programs of Univision and Telemundo (the subjects of MRC Latino’s initial study).

For example, an April 2 Noticiero Univision story on the House Budget Committee’s vote against the principal Democratic-led immigration reform bill, H.R. 15, featured soundbites from three Republican committee members (Congressman Paul Ryan, Congressman Sean Duffy and Congressman John Yarmouth), each of whom was given an adequate amount of time (47 seconds total) to articulate their respective positions on the matter of immigration reform. In contrast, Congressman Tony Cárdenas of California was the sole Democrat in the story, articulating (in his 15-second soundbite) the position of the legislative minority on the issue.

However, the same cannot be said of the treatment of the MRC study’s findings in a brief exchange on the network’s Sunday public affairs program, Al Punto. During the program, anchor Jorge Ramos asked – of all people – Univision radio host Fernando Espuelas, one of the network’s leading pro-Democrat partisans, about the study. Even a cursory reading of Espuelas’ Twitter feed shows just how involved Espuelas is in advancing, at every turn, the Democrats’ electoral and policy agenda.

Without even citing the MRC by name, Ramos began his question by noting that “a conservative organization criticized us, various journalists in the news media, for being too liberal, for using more quotes, references and sources from Democrats than Republicans. Is that a fair criticism?” Ramos asked Espuelas.

Espuelas’ answer to Ramos’ question was “No.” But Espuelas did not ground his rejection of the results of MRC’s content analysis-based criticism of the network’s news coverage with a substantive response. Rather, Espuelas attempted to attack the messenger. In this case, however, Espuelas doesn’t even get the messenger straight. He attributed the MRC’s study to the Heritage Foundation and went on to attack the Heritage Foundation for publishing a supposed “report” attacking the IQ of Latinos that the Heritage Foundation in fact never published.

“I basically believe you have to ignore any type of criticism that comes from people who published that kind of infamy against the Latino community,” said Espuelas. Unfortunately, anchor Jorge Ramos also failed to correct Espuelas’ errors, both regarding the source of the study in question, as well as the accuracy of the attack against the Heritage Foundation. So it is that the less than one-minute treatment of the MRC study’s findings ended, with a baseless, ad hominem attack.

This surely will not be the final word or response to the subject, however, as MRC Latino and its growing number of allies from throughout the conservative movement across the country will continue to engage the nation’s leading Latino media outlets on the real need that exists in this important segment of the nation’s media for news coverage that is comprehensive, fair and accurate. The demand for honest journalism in all U.S. media – in whatever language – is indeed a fair one, and cannot be ignored.

Below is a translation of the segment:

JORGE RAMOS: Fernando, a short while ago a conservative organization criticized us, journalists in the news media, for being too liberal, for using more quotes, references and sources from Democrats than Republicans. Is that a fair criticism?

FERNANDO ESPUELAS: No, and you first have to see the source of that criticism. It’s the Heritage Foundation; the same ones who published a report that said Latinos have a low level of intellectual development and that this was going to be the reality for many generations.

JORGE RAMOS: And you fought them, I remember that.

FERNANDO ESPUELAS: Exactly, that is, basically they called all of us – all 450 million Latinos throughout the world – idiots. So I believe you basically have to ignore any type of criticism that comes from people who purposefully publish that type of infamy against the Latino community.”