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Univision’s Jorge Ramos, Who Was Told by Trump To “Go Back to Univision,” Warns His Network: “It Is Very Dangerous To Fail To Confront Trump”

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Veteran Univision journalist Jorge Ramos is pushing back against his network’s alarming interview with former President Donald Trump, warning in a recent column that the cozy and largely unchecked sit-down with journalist Enrique Acevedo at Mar-a-Lago earlier this month “put in doubt the independence of our news department.”

“We cannot normalize behavior that threatens democracy and the Hispanic community, or offer Trump an open microphone to broadcast his falsehoods and conspiracy theories,” Ramos writes, pointing to Trump’s horrific immigration agenda, openly racist statements, and numerous federal charges for his primary role in attempting to overturn the rightful results of the 2020 presidential election. 

“We must question and fact-check everything he says and does,” Ramos continues. “That’s why it is very dangerous to fail to confront Trump. And that’s why it is our moral obligation to confront him every time there’s a journalistic opportunity to do it.”

This of course isn’t the first time Ramos has spoken truth to power. Ramos was early to sound the alarm about the normalization of Trump’s dangerous rhetoric, pressing the then-candidate about his proposal to deport millions of undocumented immigrants during an August 2015 press conference in Iowa. Trump instead had a bodyguard physically remove Ramos from the room, telling him to “go back to Univision.” But we knew what Trump really meant about the journalist, who was born in Mexico and became a U.S. citizen in 2008. Outside the rally, Ramos was then confronted by another racist who directly told him to “get out of my country.” Ramos calmly responded that this was his country, too.

To add further insult to injury, not one journalist inside the event stood up to defend Ramos against Trump’s ugly attack. Some even blamed Ramos for doing his job and attempting to ask the tough questions on immigration. MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, for example, gave Trump a free pass and painted Ramos as the bully, saying “he wants to make it about him.” 

By the way, because the record matters: both Scarborough and cohost Mika Brzezinski had repeatedly sucked up to Trump during the 2016 race, choosing ratings over integrity and flipping their lids at the mere suggestion that some of Trump’s support was coming from racists. They finally changed their tune after Trump’s bigoted attack on Judge Gonzalo Curiel. Better late than never, we guess.

But while Scarborough claimed that Ramos wanted to make it about himself, the record has shown the journalist has consistently centered the communities he reports on and for. When the then-deadlocked Supreme Court issued the 2016 decision that continued blocking former President Barack Obama’s DAPA program and expanded DACA program, Ramos penned a hopeful letter lifting up the accomplishments and relentless activism of immigrant communities. “I like your style. I like your attitude. You are my heroes. When I grow up I want to be like you,” he wrote to Dreamers. “This is where you belong.”

Ramos has also given his massive platform to undocumented immigrants and children of undocumented immigrants to share their stories, like Astrid Silva and Karla Ortiz, and was also early to document the resurgence of hate groups in the Trump era.

His 2016 documentary on the rise of extremism was called “Hate Rising.” These days, hate is not just rising, it is surging. In just the past several days alone, a white man shot three Palestinian men simply going about their day in Vermont. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, has encouraged “law enforcement to file state and federal hate crime charges if the evidence confirms that anti-Palestinian racism motivated this attack.” 

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has previously stated that “domestic violent extremism poses the greatest terrorism related threat to our homeland,” noting that when politicians repeat white nationalist conspiracy theories in particular it “fuels the threat landscape we encounter.” While the exact motivations behind the Vermont attacks remain unclear due to an ongoing investigation, past domestic terror attacks targeting Latinos and other marginalized groups – as well as the threats a second Trump term pose to these communities – makes Univision’s next steps crucial. 

Last week, America’s Voice was among more than 80 organizations urging Univision to adhere to higher journalistic standards. The country and Latino community are at risk of a fundamental and irreversible change should Trump be allowed back into the White House, which makes Univision’s decision to treat Trump with kid gloves all the more disturbing, groups said.

“The confidence bestowed on Univision is built on the understanding that the network is committed to telling the real story about Hispanics in the U.S. while adhering to the highest journalistic standards and reporting integrity, and doing what true journalists do best — speaking truth to power,” the letter stated. “This trust has been betrayed. It is beyond alarming to learn that Univision’s leadership is giving former president Donald Trump— the most anti-Latino and anti-immigrant president in modern American history— unquestioned access and allowed him to spread falsehoods unchecked.”

Criticism over the softball interview also came from Joaquin F. Blaya, a former president of Univision, who told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow the segment was “basically a one-hour propaganda open space for former President Trump to say whatever he wanted to say.” Judd Legum of the Popular Information newsletter notes that the segment was engineered by Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, who has a relationship with TelevisaUnivision Mexico CEO Bernardo Gómez. TelevisaUnivision owns Univision. 

\Disturbingly, Univision has continued to promote the lie that Trump has softened on Latinos and immigration, even as he’s promised an unprecedented assault on undocumented immigrants and their U.S. citizen children, and has even gone as far as echoing the language of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. “In just the last few days, Trump has said, if he returns office, he’s gonna go after all those who oppose him and wipe out what he called the vermin, quote, the vermin in America — a specific phrase with a specific meaning,” President Joe Biden responded in remarks reported by NBC News. “It echoes language you heard in Nazi Germany in the ’30s. And it isn’t even the first time.”

“Democracy is something that must be defended every day,” Ramos continued. “And for journalists, the way to do that is to ask questions. Even if it hurts. Even if it makes someone uncomfortable. Silence almost never makes for good journalism.”