Why Florida GOP’s Call for a Boycott of @Univision Makes No Sense

There is a saying in English that goes like this, "Don't bite the hand that feeds you," and Florida's GOP should take the advice as it foolishly calls for a boycott of Univision for its alleged treatment of Florida Senator Marco Rubio.

As reported today by Fox News Latino, Florida Republicans are now saying that they will boycott the country's fastest-growing television network because they claim that the network was strong-arming Rubio into making an appearance on Al Punto, Univision's public affairs program hosted by esteemed journalist Jorge Ramos.

Here is what was reported:

Citing sources on Rubio's staff and unnamed sources within Univision, the Herald reported that the president of Univision's news division, Isaac Lee, hinted the the network would drop or tone down a story about a decades-old drug bust of Rubio’s brother-in-law if the Cuban-American senator agreed to appear on Al Punto, hosted by Univision news anchor Jorge Ramos. 

 

Had he agreed, the newspaper said, Rubio would have discussed immigration – a highly charged topic, particularly in Rubio’s home state of Florida.

 

In the end, according to the Herald, Rubio declined the offer and Univision ran the story. 

 

"I always knew Univision to be a professional organization until this happened," Rubio told the newspaper, though he declined to comment specifically on the case.

Univision responded with the following statement:

“With respect to Senator Rubio, Univision covered the story in the same objective, fair manner we cover every significant story. Univision did not offer to soften or spike a story…we would not make such an offer to any other subject of a news story and did not offer it in this case.”

So now we know that Latinos are here to stay in this country when you start seeing different Latino camps go after each other. But in the end, we find it hard to believe that a news organization such as Univision would actually resort to substandard journalism. From our own contact through news producers at the network, we have always witnessed a professional organization. Also, to suggest that Jorge Ramos' show would make deals for Marco Rubio appearances is laughable. Ramos is a news anchor rock, one of the country's best and most respected journalists. This is classic political gamesmanship, but it will quickly backfire on Rubio for a couple of reasons:

  1. Contrary to what non-Latino Republicans might think (Rubio is Latino!), Rubio's national appeal to Latinos is minimal at best. His immigration policies are seen by many as divisive and short-sighted, especially among the Mexican American community. Rubio could be the Latino Savior of the Republican Party, but he is definitely not the Latino Savior of US Latinos. By creating a controversy with Univision, he loses out on getting his message to the masses. Univision has a bigger reach than Rubio. Why make enemies with such a large and influential media company?
  2. The Miami-centric angle to all this again does not play well on the national stage. It begins to get into the complex identity questions that plague Latino disunity in this country. Rubio lacks the political class and insight to understand this. And if Rubio doesn't understand it, imagine how non-Latino Republicans don't understand it.
  3. The clout of the Florida Republican Cuban American crowd is actually becoming less and less influential. With the Latino population growing at a steady clip in the US, there is a growing sentiment that Cuban American Republicans are more out of touch than ever. Their support and influence might have made a difference in 1961, but in 2011, immigration is taken on a bigger stage and Rubio is on the wrong side of it if he really wants to deliver the national Latino vote to the GOP.

So instead of just getting on the show and facing the music with Ramos, Rubio suggests a conspiracy scenario out of Citizen Kane. Too bad Univision is an actual real news organization and not the ones where Rubio plays to a more sympathetic crowd.

And his greatest mistake? Leading a boycott from the channel that brings you Sábado gigante. Now THAT is a bad move.

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