Univision has found itself at the center of a growing controversy after a recent interview with former President Trump that critics have called too friendly.
He interview that aired on November 9 It was remarkably warm, and Trump received little reaction when he made false or misleading statements about border security and the immigration policies he instituted as president.
Reaction from certain corners of the Latino community was swift, including calls for more balanced reporting and an open boycott of the television network ahead of the 2024 elections.
Latinos are considered a crucial voting bloc, and highly at stake, in next year’s election, which will likely be a rematch between Trump and President Biden. Although Latino voters have historically favored Democrats, in recent years the Republican Party has made significant progress in winning their votes.
The exclusive interview with Trump therefore raised major alarms within the Democratic Party and its allies that the Republican front-runner was making wild claims to important swing voters.
Actor John Leguizamo posted a video to his million Instagram followers on Thursday, criticizing the Spanish-language media company for “misleading Trump” and allegedly canceling Biden ads. He said network television has become “MAGA-vision.”
He implored other artists, athletes, activists and politicians to join him in boycotting the network until it restored “parity, equality and fairness” among the presidential candidates. The television network has also requested an interview with Bidenaccording to the Washington Post.
The more than hour-long interview with Trump was conducted by Enrique Acevedo, a presenter for the Mexican network Televisa who is not a Univision journalist. The two media groups merged last year. Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner reportedly helped arrange the interview.
“All you have to do is look at the owners of Univision,” Trump said in the first minutes of the speech. interview when asked about Latino voters and recent polls showing him defeating Biden in 2024. “They are amazing entrepreneurial people and they like me.”
“They want to see security,” Trump added. “They want to have a border.”
During the interview, Trump made questionable claims that the partial wall built along the southern border was made possible by Mexico providing thousands of “free” soldiers and that former President Obama laid the groundwork for the controversial border policy to deter illegal immigrants. crosses that became known as family separation crisis. Acevedo did not reject any of the claims.
“It wasn’t just a friendly interview. It was an embarrassing hour-long report with lots of smiles and no negative reactions with a guy who enjoyed attacking, belittling and differentiating Latinos and Latin American immigrants,” said Ana Navarro-Cárdenas, a prominent Nicaraguan-American political strategist and commentator. he said on platformthe company formerly known as Twitter.
León Krauze, a veteran Univision news anchor, has since quit the network. He did not provide a reason for his departure.
State Sen. Susan Rubio (D-Baldwin Park), a member of the California Latino Legislative Caucus who is running for Congress, said she knew many other Latino leaders who were “personally upset” by the interview.
Rubio said she was “horrified” by how the former president “was allowed to continue to spew lies unchecked” during the conversation. She called the interview “an insult to our entire Latino community.”
The network is “absolutely influential” in homes like hers, she said, describing it as a news source that she and her Spanish-speaking parents consider trustworthy and unbiased.
“Our community trusts that this information is true. They depend on this source that the Latino community has relied on for many, many generations,” he said. “They should have done a better job of making sure our community is not lied to.”
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus plans to send a letter to the television network requesting a meeting with its executive director, Wade Davis, and calling for stronger barriers against misinformation, according to a draft of the letter reviewed by The Times.
More than 70 organizations, including prominent Latino groups such as the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, America’s Voice and the Coalition for Human Immigrant Rights, signed an open letter to Davis and other TelevisaUnivision executives, harshly criticizing the interview. .
The letter, first reported by the Post, asks that the network “conduct a thorough internal review, take corrective action and reaffirm its commitment to unbiased reporting and to keeping the Latino community informed and up-to-date with the facts and truth.” . according to a copy reviewed by The Times.
The controversy is more complicated than it seems, said Mike Madrid, a Republican political consultant who has a forthcoming book titled “The Latino Century: How America’s Largest Minority is Shaping Our Democracy.”
Madrid, who is an outspoken critic of Trump, said the objections to the interview reflect how the Democratic Party and other left-wing organizations have taken Latino voters for granted and relied on the television network to promote their candidates and policies. during decades. .
Since the late 1980s, Democrats have relied on Latino voters to win elections, Madrid said. But over the past decade, Democrats have begun to “hemorrhage” second- and third-generation Latino voters, born in the United States and fluent in English.
Madrid does not deny that the interview with Trump was biased or too cozy, but said it demonstrates the media company’s shift toward the medium and, therefore, toward a new Latino audience.
“Where were they for the last 30 years when the Democratic Party was getting softball interviews? Democrats have taken this basic vote for granted. “They assumed I was there and that Univision would always be on their side, always defend them and defend their candidates and policies,” he said. “When you have been a beneficiary of media bias, objectivity sounds like betrayal. That’s what’s happening”.
Instead of promoting a boycott of the network, which Madrid called “absolute madness,” Democrats should adjust their strategy and start courting Latino voters on a variety of issues, such as the economy and jobs, instead of just immigration.
“Democrats have to realize very quickly that going to war is not in their best interest,” he said. “They will have to learn to fight for this vote, when they have not done so in decades. …And they have less than a year to resolve this.”
Times staff writer Stephen Battaglio contributed to this report.
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