The former president of Univision condemned its recent interview with Donald Trump, telling MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that it was “a real insult to the Hispanic community” that “deviates in a very drastic way” from the the Spanish-language network’s original mission.
Joaquin Blaya not only criticized the interview itself, which he dismissed as “a one-hour propaganda open space,” meaning, an interview created with total cooperation between the journalist and the subject. He also laid blame squarely on Univision’s owners, telling Maddow “there is no doubt that in doing what they did, had to be a corporate decision.”
Blaya, who created Univision news in the late 1980s, told Maddow the interview “is a drastic change for what have been the standards of Univision. When I created the Univision network news, they were built on the principles of American broadcasting journalism, the ABC, CBS, NBC… we were trying to basically create a Spanish but American network. 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.”
Blaya noted that the standard was to bring “excellence in journalism” to the Hispanic community, “and this basically deviates in a very drastic way from what has been that.”
He later added that “to call the Trump an interview is mistaken. It was not an interview, as we understand in the United States. That was basically a one-hour propaganda open space for former President Trump to say whatever he wanted to say.”
Then noting the softball nature of the interview, and the way Univision favorably covered Trump’s anti-immigrant views, Blaya added that the interview was “a real insult to the Hispanic community of this country.”
“And for those who understand the business, there is no doubt that in doing what they did, had to be a corporate decision,” Blaya said also. “That is not a decision that the local news director or the local general manager would have taken on its own.”
The interview, which aired Nov. 9 on Univision was derided at the time for the extremely friendly treatment it have trump. But in the weeks since revelations about the network’s unusual and arguably unethical behavior have raised even bigger questions.
For instance, it canceled ads purchased by the Biden administration, citing a never-before-announced policy against running opposition ads during interviews with only a single candidate. This ensured only Trump-friendly content aired during the program. Univision also canceled an planned interview with a Biden official to respond to Trump.
One of the network’s top anchors resigned over the matter, and now the company’s new owners — who took over when Mexico’s conservative pro-Government Grupo Televisa merged with Univision last year — are under greater scrutiny.