Trump interview an ‘insult to Hispanic community’, ex-Univision head says
A former president of Univision condemned the Spanish-language US television network’s recent interview with Donald Trump as “propaganda” and an “insult to the Hispanic community”.
“To call the Trump [interview] an interview is mistaken,” Joaquin Blaya told MSNBC. “It was not an interview as we understand [it] in the United States. It was basically a one-hour propaganda open space for former president Trump to say whatever he wanted to say.”
The friendly interview was filmed at the ex-president’s Mar-a-Lago home. Lingering controversy ensued, including a call from John Leguizamo, the actor and sometime Daily Show host, for a Univision boycott.
Amid revelations that Univision canceled both ads bought by president Joe Biden (after announcing a surprise policy change) as well as an interview in which a White House official was scheduled to respond, a top network anchor resigned.
Speaking to the MSNBC host Rachel Maddow on Monday, Blaya lamented “a drastic change for what have been the standards of Univision”.
“When I created the Univision network news [in the 1980s], [it was] built on the principles of American broadcasting journalism, the ABC, CBS, NBC … we were trying to basically create a Spanish but American network,” Blaya said.
“And I say that because there’s a big difference from our association in those days with the news that we’re coming from Mexico.”
Univision recently came under the control of Grupo Televisa, a Mexican company. In his interview, Trump, who famously clashed with the Univision anchor Jorge Ramos during the 2016 election, said of the new owners: “They like me.”
Last week, Blaya told the Washington Post that the Univision interview failed to preserve a standard “separation of business and news”.
“What I saw there was batting practice, someone dropping balls for him to hit out of the park,” Blaya said. “I think it was an embarrassment.”
Trump faces 91 criminal charges and assorted civil threats but dominates Republican primary polling, amid mounting warnings of the fascistic tone of his rhetoric.
Speaking to MSNBC, Blaya said favourable Univision coverage of Trump’s anti-immigration views was “a real insult to the Hispanic community of this country”.
He added: “And for those who understand the business, there is no doubt that in doing what they did, [it] had to be a corporate decision. That is not a decision that the local news director or the local general manager would have taken on [their] own.”
According to the Post, the interview was “arranged with the help of Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner,” who was also a senior White House adviser for the ex-president.
The Post said the interview was also “attended by a trio of senior executives at Univision’s parent company”.
Latino voters have long leaned Democratic. This week, however, the polling firm Morning Consult noted that “Trump is gaining ground among key voter segments including Black, Hispanic and young Americans.”