Univision, the powerhouse Spanish-language television station that often dominates ratings, on Wednesday invited President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney to a separate debate on Hispanic issues, claiming that the Commission on Presidential Debates had been biased against minority moderators.
“Univision network expressed its disagreement with the way moderators were chosen for the presidential debates, as no Latino or African-American journalists will be participating,” Univision news anchor Jorge Ramos said on air (in Spanish), according to Univision.com.
The irony here, though, is that Univision, like the mainstream media, has been guilty of being blatantly biased against conservatives and Republicans (a debate moderated by Univision would be biased against Republicans), and this was evident yet again in the days immediately after the selection of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney’s running mate.
Univision often helps the mainstream media set the dominant narrative, which often congeals into conventional wisdom, about Hispanic voters.
And immediately after Ryan was selected, Al Punto, Univision's politics show, racialized Ryan’s budget and implied Ryan’s selection was Romney’s way of conceding the Hispanic vote in the fall. Jorge Bonilla, who edits the “El Tercel Riel” blog about Hispanic politics and policy, pointed out the bias.
Bonilla told Breitbart News that Univision has been more favorable to Obama because Univision has a bias for Democrats and against “any apparent measure to control illegal immigration.”
“Because of its ratings and its history, Univision is very influential [within the mainstream media organizations],” Bonilla told Breitbart News, noting Univision often helps set the mainstream media’s narrative on Hispanic issues. “Jorge Ramos maintains a strong MSM presence with an English-language column, guest pieces on Time, and appearances on mainstream outlets.”
Bonilla immediately noticed what Univision was doing -- trying to influence the mainstream media narrative -- and wrote a blog posting in which he wrote that believing “Ryan’s budget will somehow hurt the ticket is to buy deeply into the notion that U.S. Hispanics are pre-ordained to live as helpless wards of the State, unable to function without the benevolent guidance and assistance that can only come from the enlightened experts of our government Überklasse.”
“The fact is that Hispanics are just as exposed to debt and deficits as anyone else, and have as much of a stake in the coming debate over debt and deficits, if not more so,” Bonilla wrote. “For Hispanics (as well as other immigrants), this election presents a stark choice between a return to the promise of the America they emigrated to, or a continued march down the road to an America that more closely resembles the country they intended to leave behind.”
As Bonilla predicted, mainstream media sites like NBC News and NBC Latino picked up the discussion on “Al Punto.” A CBS News reporter tweeted out the story. Politico ran a story titled, “Paul Ryan No Help To Mitt Romney With Hispanics.”
And just like that, a meme was being formed: Romney will lose Hispanics because of his selection of Ryan.
These reporters did not speak to Hispanic voters, but three days after the Ryan’s selection, the mainstream media was questioning whether Ryan would repel Hispanic voters.
Then, on Monday, a radio station owned by Univision openly ridiculed and mocked Mitt Romney when Romney graciously went on its Spanish-language radio program and answered a question about what fruits Romney liked.
Oblivious to the fact that “papaya” is a slang term used by Cubans to refer to female genitals, Romney replied that he liked papayas. The radio hosts giggled like teenagers while Romney was talking (imagine the outrage that would ensue if an American host giggled like that as a Hispanic person with limited English skills was responding to a question?). Here is the exchange:
“They’re waiting for you with a mamey and a guayaba — Cuban fruits — here in Miami, do you like those?” Mr. Santana asked.
“I am a big fan of mango, papaya, and guava,” Romney replied, to laughs from the host and the translator.
Then, Mediate piled on by writing a serious story about Romney and papayas.
As Bonilla noted, Univision treats Romney less favorably than Obama. These hosts would not have mocked Obama like they did Romney.
Bonilla said Hispanic media is as unabated and unchallenged as the mainstream media was in the 1980s. And while there is very little online presence to challenge and combat these narratives, Bonilla feels this is changing, and he credits the late Andrew Breitbart.
“I'm thankful that Andrew Breibart left us a template with which to engage the mainstream media, and that playbook is just as good regarding Hispanic media,” Bonilla said, noting that when he first decided to make his Hispanic politics blog bi-lingual, one of the first things he did was subtitle Andrew Breitbart’s 2012 CPAC speech.