Univision anchor and reporter Jorge Ramos has joined the growing list of voices criticising his network’s recent airing of an interview with Donald Trump which was widely regarded as a PR spectacle and avoided serious questions.
The former president and current candidate for the Republican presidential nomination sat down with Enrique Acevedo earlier in November; their conversation marked the former president’s first formal interview with the Spanish-language broadcaster, as well as Univision’s first with any current or former Republican president. The questions posed to the former president stayed far away from interrogating his continued insistence of victory in the 2020 election and other sensitive topics.
What’s more, it was apparently attended in person by Univision corporate executives, a highly irregular move for any journalist sitting down with a political candidate.
Ramos, one of the network’s most prominent journalists for decades, wrote in his weekly column distributed to dozens of media outlets that his network’s Trump interview had “put in doubt the independence of our news department, and created discomfort and uncertainty within the newsroom” — as strong public criticism as a journalist can typically make about their company without leaving it first.
He continued: “We cannot normalize behavior that threatens democracy and the Hispanic community, or offer Trump an open microphone to broadcast his falsehoods and conspiracy theories. We must question and fact-check everything he says and does.”
“That’s why it is very dangerous to fail to confront Trump,” said Ramos. “And that’s why it is our moral obligation to confront him every time there’s a journalistic opportunity to do it. But I understand that not everyone agrees, and I open the debate here.”
Univision’s press team has avoided comment on the matter thus far. The network previously saw its former president, Joaquin Blaya, criticise Acevedo’s interview during an appearance on MSNBC, and comedian John Leguizamo dedicated part of his guest-hosted episode of The Daily Show to denouncing the Trump interview as well.
“I don’t know what’s more shocking, that Univision gave Trump a softball interview, or that Trump let a Latin guy into his house,” Mr Leguizamo said.
Mr Leguizamo expanded on his criticism in an op-ed published in the Los Angeles Times, writing that “[a]s one of the most relied-upon news sources for Spanish speakers, Univision has a responsibility to report the facts and maintain journalistic integrity, regardless of which politician the CEO chooses to befriend.”
The former president remains the current favourite to win the 2024 Republican nomination for president. Simultaneously, he faces more than 90 felony counts related to a host of alleged crimes, from subverting the 2020 election results to hoarding classified materials at Mar-a-Lago.
His four criminal trials are expected to begin over the next year.