During the presidential election, one network explicitly cast itself as the opposition to Donald Trump.
Univision – and their lead anchor Jorge Ramos – cast Trump as a racist and xenophobe on their news program.
But they never expected what would happen to their bottom line.
After hounding Trump for 18 months on the campaign trail, Univision’s ratings tanked.
The tumult in the face of zero access from the Trump team comes as a Los Angeles Times story dropped in the new year which said Univision lost more than 45% of its prime-time audience since 2013, with rival Telemundo making gains among younger viewers.
For its part, Telemundo announced early on its intention to approach the election through a straighter news lens and a network executive said they feel vindicated by the decision to say things like they are “without an agenda.”
“Trump’s administration could affect our community enormously and the coverage of his presidency could be more important for our audience than the campaign coverage itself,” the executive said.
In the Buzzfeed piece, Univision executives – and Ramos himself – note the network offered nothing to Trump supporters and ignored the fact that a portion of Hispanics were going to vote for the GOP nominee:
“I won’t change a thing,” Ramos said. “We were right in challenging Trump when he made his racist and sexist remarks.”
But he acknowledged mistakes in his and the network’s coverage: for instance, the little coverage given to that Latinos who were going to vote for Trump, and the level of resentment in many parts of the country.
The network talent source said that in antagonizing Trump, the network antagonized his supporters and his side of the country. “Right now the gap could not be larger between Trump’s America and our audience, Hispanic America. There is almost no intersection.”
This was not unique to just Univision, however.
The entire corporate media repurposed themselves as the opposition to Donald Trump during the campaign.
The shift occurred after an article was published by New York Times media critic Jim Rutenberg.
He argued that if reporters believed Trump was a threat to Democracy, then they were obligated to throw out the norms of journalism such as objectivity.
“If you’re a working journalist and you believe that Donald J. Trump is a demagogue playing to the nation’s worst racist and nationalistic tendencies, that he cozies up to anti-American dictators and that he would be dangerous with control of the United States nuclear codes, how the heck are you supposed to cover him?
Because if you believe all of those things, you have to throw out the textbook American journalism has been using for the better part of the past half-century, if not longer, and approach it in a way you’ve never approached anything in your career. If you view a Trump presidency as something that’s potentially dangerous, then your reporting is going to reflect that. You would move closer than you’ve ever been to being oppositional. That’s uncomfortable and uncharted territory for every mainstream, nonopinion journalist I’ve ever known, and by normal standards, untenable.
But the question that everyone is grappling with is: Do normal standards apply? And if they don’t, what should take their place?”
Now the bill has come due.
The media is paying for their unyielding lust to defeat Donald Trump in the form of decreased credibility with the American people – and in the case of Univision, sagging ratings.