The most prominent U.S. journalist at Univision, the country’s largest Spanish-language network, wrote Saturday that reporters had a moral obligation to ask hard questions of Donald Trump during his campaign to retake the White House.
Jorge Ramos devoted his weekly column to making that case in the wake of his network’s recent friendly interview with Trump, which was attended by three senior executives at Univision’s relatively new parent company. Ramos wrote that it had “put in doubt the independence of our news department.”
The column by Ramos, an influential anchor of Univision News since 1986, goes to 40 U.S. and Latin American newspapers, and he speaks on Univision Radio and other television shows. His most recent column, headlined “The Danger of Not Confronting Trump,” addressed the recent interview and recounted the ex-president’s separation of immigrant families and lies, including that he won the 2020 election.
“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,” Ramos wrote. Ramos has tangled with Trump before and was ejected from a news conference in 2015 after asking the candidate about his remarks denigrating immigrants.
Ramos’s comments are the latest fallout from the interview that was recorded on Nov. 7 at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club, in which a Mexico-based journalist conducting the interview did not challenge false statements by Trump, including assertions that he had built a wall on the border and that Mexico had effectively paid for it. The interview, which had many softball questions and was broadcast on Nov. 9, led to much criticism of Univision and its new owners. One prominent anchor, León Krauze, resigned in its aftermath.
Ramos didn’t say whether he would follow Krauze out the door but left open the possibility, writing that “for 39 years Univision has allowed me to report with absolute independence and freedom — and even to write columns like this one.” He added, “I will continue to do it as a free journalist, wherever I might be.”
The Trump broadcast was part of a broader shift in tone since Mexican media company Grupo Televisa, which works closely with Mexican political leaders, merged with Univision in 2021. Univision’s Miami station enthusiastically covered a Trump rally on Nov. 8 in Hialeah, Fla., that it described as “historic,” preempting a national show, and it canceled a planned Democratic response to the Trump interview, The Washington Post has reported.
Trump praised the new owners, saying they were “unbelievable entrepreneurial people, and they like me.”
The coverage has alarmed Latino advocacy groups and Democrats, especially because Trump has been polling better among minority groups than during his previous runs. Hispanics are a large proportion of the electorate in Florida, Texas and California and a significant proportion in more closely contested states.
Former Univision president Joaquin Blaya called the Trump interview “a repudiation of the concept of separation of business and news,” and those still inside the newsroom have privately echoed the sentiment, complaining that it is a disservice to viewers and listeners.
In previous Trump campaigns, Univision and Ramos in particular have asked tough questions of Trump, who launched his 2016 campaign by calling Mexican immigrants drug dealers, criminals and rapists. Trump himself is now facing 91 criminal counts in four courts, as Ramos noted in his column.
Spokespeople at TelevisaUnivision did not respond to Post emails seeking comment about Ramos’s column.