Veteran journalist and presenter Jorge Ramos criticized Univision's weak interview with Donald Trump, while calling for good journalism, especially in the face of a hostile environment ahead of the 2024 presidential elections.
?I think Trump needs to be questioned and confronted; for democracy, for the rights of immigrants and, simply, to do good journalism? Ramos wrote in a column titled "The danger of not confronting Trump," which he published in his web site.
Ramos was blunt with his criticism of the interview that was broadcast by Univision on November 9, which, he said, called into question the independence of the news department, creating unrest and confusion within the newsroom.
He recalled that on August 25, 2015, the then presidential candidate expelled him with a bodyguard from a press conference in Dubuque, Iowa, after he tried to ask him several questions.
"Go to Univision," he told me. "I had gone to Iowa to question him about his statements in which he described Mexican immigrants as "rapists," criminals and drug traffickers," Ramos explained.
However, he said, few know that the former president allowed him to return to the press conference and ask him several questions for more than 10 minutes. At that time he was confronted about his intentions to build a wall on the border with Mexico and deport millions of undocumented immigrants, among other things.
?Our job as journalists is to question those in power. That's what reporters are for. That's what I did in Iowa and what I've done with Trump since he announced his first presidential candidacy? Ramos pointed out.
The journalist recounted Trump's failures after the 2021 elections, which he lost, denying the results that gave victory to Joseph Biden. The former president faces 91 charges against him for different alleged crimes, including conspiring against the democratic system.
?We cannot normalize behavior that threatens democracy and the Hispanic community, nor offer Trump an open microphone to spread falsehoods and his conspiracy theories. We must question and verify (fact-check) everything he does and says?, the journalist stressed.
?That is why it is very dangerous not to confront Trump. And that is why it is our moral obligation to confront it every time there is a journalistic opportunity to do so. But I understand that not everyone thinks the same?, he pointed out.
In that sense, he said he is convinced that journalists have two great responsibilities: to report reality as it is, not as we would like it to be; and question and demand accountability from those in power.
While it is important to give a voice to all candidates, regardless of the political party they belong to, it is essential to question.
?We cannot abdicate our responsibility to ask tough and precise questions. That's what journalism is for. And these journalistic principles apply to everyone?, he indicated.
It should be noted that his direct confrontations have not only been towards Trump, as he has pointed out that at the time he has done so with the current president, Joseph Biden, and former president Barack Obama.
?Democracy is something that must be defended every day. And for journalists the way to do it is to ask. Even if it hurts. Although it is uncomfortable. Silence almost never leads to good journalism? he explained.
Without making clear his current situation with the Spanish-speaking television station, Ramos pointed out that for 39 years he has reported ?with absolute independence and freedom? on Univisión, for which he will always be grateful.
"I believe in this and it is what I will continue to do as a free journalist, wherever I am," he concluded in his text written on November 25.
Also Univisión presenter, María Celeste Arrarás, said that Acevedo's questions had lacked “fang.”
?No matter which President or candidate it is, or which political party is involved, journalists have to ask the difficult questions and not be smiling after each interviewee's response. And certainly, a television network and its news department have to be objective, balanced and incisive. That was not the case with the Univision network and the exclusive interview it did a few days ago with Donald Trump?, he wrote on his Instagram account.
?The interview lacked fang, not to mention that it seemed more like a public relations campaign. Trump made several false assertions that were never questioned, despite the fact that there is strong evidence to prove it. The journalist's job is to supervise, to ask the difficult questions, the ones they DO NOT want to answer. "It doesn't matter if it's Trump, Biden or whoever," he continued.
He highlighted that the Washington Post newspaper made a serious complaint against the Univision network for, among other things, having brought to the interview three senior executives of Televisa who are very friends of Trump and his son-in-law.
?I can't imagine the stress that this added to the interviewer Enrique Acevedo, whom I know and appreciate. His bosses, good friends of the interviewee, listening to every word. That is why there is concern in the media and among the network's journalists about the influence of these executives on the way in which the electoral process is covered in the United States,” he wrote.
In the past, he pointed out, Televisa has not been partial when it comes to Mexican politics and has known how to censor its journalists. "That is why it is worrying that, inexplicably, the network canceled the usual response to Trump's interview by the Democratic party - even though it was already scheduled."
He also, he added, canceled Biden campaign ads that were scheduled to run during commercial breaks. ?Let us remember that the balance of the news and hearing both sides of the same argument is healthy for the electorate to make informed decisions. We are neither in Cuba nor in Venezuela where the press is threatened when it raises its voice in the face of any anti-democratic tendency?
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