Saturday, April 28, 2012

Time for Univision and Telemundo to man up

Univision's interview with U.S. President Barack Obama last week was supremely disappointing.   In fact, I personally have spoken with several Hispanics who felt that Univision did not challenge President Obama's rather outrageous answers.  

As they say, the network gave him one "free pass" after another.

Why is it important that Hispanos have reporters who act like journalists rather than people who get "a tingle up their leg" when they sit next to Obama?

The answer is simple.  We have a large segment of the Hispanic population that gets its news from one of the two Spanish-speaking networks.  Therefore, these networks have a tremendous responsibility to respectfully ask and challenge elected officials.

I would like to submit these sample questions and some follow-ups to the reporters for the next time that they sit down with Obama:

1) Mr. President: why didn't you send an immigration proposal to Congress?  You had 60 votes in the U.S. Senate and a big majority in the House.  The GOP did not have the votes to stop anything.

Let me follow up, Mr. President: were you afraid that the Democratic majority would not support you?

2) Mr. President: why don't you call on the current Democratic Senate majority to put immigration reform to a vote?  Your party has a 53-47 majority!

Let me follow up, Mr. President: again, are you afraid that the Democrats have a majority but not the votes to pass immigration reform?  Are you afraid that "pro-labor" Democrats won't pass a plan that includes guest visas?  We saw some of that when you were a senator and carrying the water of the labor unions back in 2007.  Have you seen the article that Ruben Navarrette wrote about you?  Ruben clearly states that you are not being honest about immigration reform.

3) Mr. President: why didn't you call on a Dem Congress to put the DREAM Act to a vote before the 2010 election?  What message does that send to the millions of Hispanics who gave the Democrats their vote?

4) Mr. President: Hispanics have been hit very hard by this recession.  Why is unemployment over 10% in the Hispanic community?  Why didn't the $787-billion stimulus work?

5) Mr. President: why don't you support education vouchers so that Hispanic parents can choose schools for their children?

Let me follow up, Mr. President: why do you continue to put the teachers' union over Hispanic parents?

Let me ask you: why did you send your daughters to a private school in Chicago?  Weren't the Chicago public schools good enough for your children?

6) Mr. President: we have many viewers on the U.S.-Mexico border.  Who approved putting 2,000 guns in the hands of Mexican cartels?  When will we know who signed off on this program?  

Why is it so hard to get an explanation about this issue from your administration?

Let me follow up, Mr. President: you apologized to Afghanistan when some U.S. soldiers inadvertently burned a Koran.  Will you apologize to the Mexican people for the deaths that resulted from Fast & Furious?  Are Mexican lives worth less than Afghans'?

7) Mr. President: our staff has done some research and discovered that the Arizona lawsuit does not accuse that state of "racial profiling" or violations of civil rights.  In fact, here is a link to a news story by Jake Tapper of ABC News on that point.

So, Mr. President, is it honest for you keep "scaring" Hispanics about Arizona?  Again, your Justice Department did not mention "civil rights" or "racial profiling" when it filed a lawsuit against Arizona.

Have you read your government's lawsuit?  Do you understand it?  Is it fair to play the "racial profiling" card when your lawsuit does not mention it?

When did Gov. Romney ever say that the Arizona law was a "model" for the country?  What specific speech?  Our staff cannot find it in any Romney speech.

8) Mr. President: there are thousands of Hispanic parents with sons in Afghanistan.  When will you ever deliver a speech explaining our mission and our reasons for staying there?  You have not made a major speech about Afghanistan since you announced that 30,000 troops were headed there.

9) Mr. President: we heard from our colleagues in Latin America that there is a sense that your administration has neglected the region.  Why do so many leaders of Latin America complain that you don't have a policy or agenda for the region?  

Let me follow up.  You opposed free trade agreements.  You wanted to renegotiate NAFTA.  You were against CAFTA and the recently approved Colombia FTA.  Were you wrong in your position on these matters?  Will you say today that Pres. Bush and Sen. McCain were right about free trade agreements?

10) Let me ask you about Solyndra and other green tech companies facing bankruptcy.  The common denominator in these companies is that the ownership comprises rich Democrats who contributed to your campaign.

Why do rich Democrats like Robert Kennedy, Jr. need a federal loan guarantee, anyway?  Why didn't he use his family money to get a loan?

11) Mr. President: is there a managerial problem in your administration?  Are you being well-served by your staff?  There is a sense that you are very detached from day-to-day governing.  Are you on top of things?

I don't know if anyone at Univision will ask these questions.  At the same time, I think that the Spanish media needs to get in the game and start holding Obama accountable.

Unfortunately, Telemundo and Univision, as well as most of the Spanish-speaking media, think that Hispanics are interested only in immigration.  In fact, Hispanics are interested in a variety of issues, from reckless spending to an unclear mission in Afghanistan to an economy that does not produce jobs, not to mention a president who is very good at "coqueteo" rather than governing.

As I mentioned above, we want Spanish-speaking reporters who ask questions rather than people who get a tingle up their leg in the presence of Obama.  Click here for our Saturday commentary:

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