Ex-Univision boss slams network’s Trump interview as ‘propaganda’

Ex-president claimed in interview that Mexican soldiers assisted in border fence construction ‘free of charge’

John Bowden
Washington DC
Tuesday 21 November 2023 17:24 GMT
Biden makes sign of the cross after mentioning Trump
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Univision’s former president has joined the growing criticism of the Hispanic network over an interview with Donald Trump that was panned by journalists for softball questions.

Reporters at the network, which has US offices and merged with a Mexican media giant in 2022, have found themselves at the middle of a discussion over their network’s ability to cover the 2024 presidential race fairly and accurately after Mr Trump sat down with Enrique Acevedo for an interview that aired just over a week ago. Mr Trump did not face any difficult questions about his criminal prosecutions or policy positions in the interview, and was also able to spout unfounded claims about his immigration policies without accurate pushback from Acevedo.

The controversy has grown over the past several days as prominent Latino Americans such as comedian John Leguizamo have called for boycotts of the network in response.

On Monday, things grew worse for the network as its former president Joaquin Blaya ripped the interview as embarrassing during a sit-down with Rachel Maddow on MSNBC.

“It was not an interview as we understand in the United States. It was basically a one-hour propaganda open space for former President Trump to say whatever he wanted to say,” Mr Blaya told Maddow.

“This was Mexican-style news coverage, a repudiation of the concept of separation of business and news,” he continued. “What I saw there was batting practice, someone dropping balls for him to hit out of the park. I think it was an embarrassment.”

The network’s executives addressed some of the controversy in a note to US-based staff this week, according to The Washington Post, but it’s clear that they have done little to quell the external backlash. The Post also reports that the Congressional Hispanic Caucus is set to address the interview in a letter to the network in the coming days.

Mr Trump remains the far-and-away frontrunner for the Republican nomination. Polls indicate that he currently enjoys the support of a larger share of the GOP electorate than his rivals do combined.

His legal woes continue to worsen, however, and it looks increasingly likely that he will be undergoing a criminal trial process (if not more than one) during the election next year. The former president, impeached twice by Congress, remains under four criminal indictments and faces more than 90 felony charges.

Rivals of Mr Trump for the GOP nomination like Chris Christie and Ron DeSantis have complained that Mr Trump is not taking the presidential nominating process seriously by skipping a series of Republican primary debates this summer and fall; however, the ex-president’s standing in the polls has not suffered due to lack of airtime.

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