Consider the following hypothetical.
Fox News, during the 2008 presidential campaign, learns about a long-ago arrest of a relative of Sen. Barack Obama. Fox calls Obama. It makes an offer Fox assumes he cannot refuse: “Agree to appear on the show of your anti-ObamaCare nemesis, Sean Hannity, or we run the story on your relative’s arrest.”
Obama refuses. Fox runs the story. Turns out the piece so lacks credibility that none of the other newspapers and television outlets, conservative or liberal, follow suit. A Fox executive later brags to a national magazine that Fox did, indeed, try to make mincemeat of Obama by getting him to debate ObamaCare on Hannity’s show in exchange for sitting on a hit piece.
Months after Fox’s attempt, a big-city newspaper gets hold of the story. It writes a lengthy piece about Fox’s sordid, and very possibly illegal, attempt at journalism by blackmail.
Fox, of course, did no such thing. But assume it used this tactic to make Obama go on Hannity’s show. What would be the result?
Occupy Fox News announces a rally outside the New York City building on Avenue of the Americas where Fox broadcasts many of its shows. OFN leaders and supporters include the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the Congressional Black Caucus, the NAACP, the ACLU, Hollywood groups like Norman Lear’s People for the American Way, Moveon.org, the National Press Club, the National Association of Black Journalists — just to name a few. The FCC launches an investigation. Fox’s on-air pundits start resigning after Fox refuses even to acknowledge that the attempt was wrong, let alone apologize for it.
All of this would be an appropriate response. After all, Fox — in this hypothetical — tried to force Obama into a game-changing, if not campaign-ending, on-air confrontation with a host who makes no pretense about his contempt for ObamaCare. This means a “news organization” sat on a story to force a politician — whose views it dislikes — to appear on the show of an antagonist.
Well something very similar did happen — last summer. Except the victim of the journalism blackmail was not Obama, but Florida’s Republican Sen. Marco Rubio. The media company was not Fox, but Univision. This issue was not ObamaCare, but Rubio’s opposition to the Dream Act and his “anti-Hispanic” view on immigration. The host was not Sean Hannity, but Jorge Ramos — a Republican-basher and Rubio critic who believes opposition to the Dream Act and “amnesty” equals racism.
The relative was Orlando Cicilia, Rubio’s brother-in-law, who was busted for drugs — almost 25 years ago.
The Miami Herald, last October, ran a story about what Univision tried to do to Rubio. Univision denied it. But later Univision’s news chief, Isaac Lee, told The New Yorker: “(Lee) offered three Univision options: report a stand-alone news story on Orlando Cicilia; have Sen. Rubio cooperate on a network profile; or have him be interviewed on Jorge Ramos’ ‘Al Punto.’ Whatever the venue, Lee says, the issue of Orlando Cicilia would have been raised.” So that makes it okay?
After the New Yorker admission, the now-vindicated Miami Herald pointed out: “That means a stand-alone drug-bust story might not run depending on how Rubio played his cards. That is, if Rubio appeared on ‘Al Punto’ and answered a question or two about Cicilia as part of a broader interview, then a stand-alone drug bust story might not run. And just because an issue is ‘raised’ in an interview doesn’t always mean it will be fully broadcast.”
Univision’s CEO Haim Saban, in an email, called Rubio “anti-Hispanic.” Lee, the Univision news chief, says his network is “pro-Hispanic” on immigration. This makes Rubio, the son of Cuban exiles, a menace who must be crushed.
Why aren’t the Hispanic advocacy groups up in arms? Rubio symbolizes the wrong kind of Hispanic — an anti-amnesty, pro-legal immigration Republican conservative who refuses to play the role of oppressed victicrat.
Remember Kathleen Willey, the former Bill Clinton supporter and White House volunteer? Willey, who claimed Clinton groped her in the Oval Office, says she telephoned feminist lawyer Gloria Allred twice for assistance. Allred, says Willey, never called back. Paula Jones, who claimed then-Arkansas Gov. Clinton groped her, says the National Organization for Woman would not get involved in her case because “she picked her forum and she picked her friends.”
Rubio, a fiscal hawk, recently wrote President Obama: “The first three years of your presidency have been a profile in leadership failure. … America deserves leaders who will stand front and center, level with the American people about our challenges and offer real solutions to solve them. Instead of simply asking for another debt ceiling increase, I urge you to come forward with a real plan to tackle our debt in 2012.”
This explains why La Raza, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund and other supposedly pro-Hispanic groups have been AWOL on what Univision attempted to do. To these left-wingers, Rubio is a Tio Taco — the equivalent of an Uncle Tom.
COPYRIGHT 2012 LAURENCE A. ELDER
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