On the media front, Jorge Ramos has unmatched influence in the Latino community. He is the face of Univision in the same way Lester Holt is the face of NBC News. Ramos’ newscasts are seen by millions each night, and has been in the business for almost 30 years since coming to the U.S. on a student visa in 1983. He owns eight Emmys and was voted one of Time’s most influential people just this year. Not a bad resume.
But Ramos—like so many journalists before him—began to read the fawning press clippings and fan mail a bit too much. As a result, the ego has grown substantially. The job description—in his own mind, anyway — has changed. It’s now no longer a matter of presenting the news and doing interviews that speak truth to power… it’s about downright advocacy on certain topics and particularly immigration.
By now, you’ve likely seen the Tuesday Donald Trump press conference and Ramos taking a starring role in crashing it. Here’s where the aforementioned ego kicked in, as Ramos just started blurting out questions without being called upon first. At that point, he was no longer a journalist, but a protester…and you know what happens to them when they start yelling at candidates at political rallies uncontrollably: They get escorted out. Trump eventually let the 57-year-old anchor back in and the two went back and forth hard on everything from changing the 14th Amendment to mass deportation, logistics and cost around such an endeavor, making for the kind of political theatre cable news execs used to only dream about.
Ramos would later tell ABC’s Fusion that “…As a reporter, my job is simply to ask questions, and that’s why I’m here.” Ramos the victim just trying to do his job: What a crock. Here’s what he told CNN’s John Berman just hours before the Trump presser: “How is he going to deport 11 million people? By bus? By plane? Is he going to bring the army to do that? Can you imagine the human rights violation that that would create?” He would admit in the same interview that his feud with the GOP frontrunner is “personal.”
But don’t tell that to the Associated Press, who characterized the confrontation thusly with this headline: Trump starts new media feud with Univision anchor Ramos. Yup – Trump started it, not Ramos by cutting in line, disrespecting other reporters and demanding answers to questions despite not being called on.
As for Trump, this will only somehow grow his appeal within the GOP, where his lead is growing to Secretariat proportions despite his demise being pronounced (including here) somewhere between 29-187 times. From the beginning of this campaign, Trump’s appeal has been one-third policy ideas, two-thirds attitude, bravado, confidence, and never apologizing for going (way) off the PC reservation. Note: Like Ramos, I don’t think that mass deportation is tenable, either. Many of my relatives were immigrants via way of Cuba. Obviously, I get the argument. But it appears Trump’s supporters are happy with that fact he’s simply broaching the topic when every other politician sees it as a third rail.
But Ramos needs to put aside his self-importance, his pomposity and most importantly, his advocacy when doing his job. Otherwise, he becomes just another Al Sharpton…a guy with a national platform and a microphone pushing his pet causes with no interest of presenting other viewpoints.
Journalism is becoming more opinionated, journalists more part of the story. In the end, Jorge Ramos’s job is to simply to ask questions…and not to conquer a presidential candidate with an equally-massive ego on a self-described personal mission.
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