Univision Candidate Forum Big Loser? Not the Prez, Not the Guv, But the Commish on Presidential Debates


Your humble Tweeter-in-Chief was glued to her computer screen to watch the Univision Candidates Forum and tweet out to the universo what Governor Romney on Wednesday followed by President Obama had to say. Blogger_in_chief-TheWiseLatinaClub

¡Momento!  Aren't there normally four debates, one each week of October, leading up to election day?  Indeed.  But the Commission for Presidential Debates shunned Univision, or any diversity for that matter prompting the media juggernaut to throw "their own party" as Noticiero co-anchor Jorge Ramos told my girl Michel Martin on her NPR show Tell Me More (co-anchor María Elena Salinas also moderated the forums).

At the beginning of this rogue party, my tweets should have been authored by Griper-in-Chief.  I turned on my 1986 Sony Trinitron--Mono!-- at 10 P on the nose and while my Comcast menu announced, Univision Noticias Presenta, the image on the screen was the closing credits of la telenovela.  I dunno know:

Él que no sabe amar.

Margarita la del bloque.

Maybe it was Corazón en llamas?

No debate.


Maybe I'll try the live stream.  I go to Univision Tumblr but they no longer existe having just merged with ABC News.  I go to that page y pues nada, no clear markings that THIS IS WHERE THE LIVE STREAM IS.

Univision promoted this big event in ALL CAPS.  Why not do the same across every platform to clearly direct your audience to the content?

Univision News Facebook page, nothing.  Twitter?  Tampoco.  Finally I went to Univision's home page in Spanish.

Bull's eye!

¡Phew!  I'm up but wait.  Why is my live stream dropping out?  Does this mean it's OK for me to just make up what I think the Guv or the Prez are saying?  Qué Dios los bendiga for the Middle East, gas prices, Coke or Pepsi--for everything?


Then there was the lucha libre vibe at the Governor's forum--wootin', hollerin', booin' and hissin' when María Elena or Jorge asked tough questions or follow ups.  Why was this happening?

Don't most polls show Latinos favor 2 to 1 Obama over Romney?

Why did the President get more time?  No one explained that the campaigns has input in what's a highly produced and orchestrated hour (or less) of television or that the audience was stacked each night with supporters of each candidates.

By the next night featuring the President, the wheels were no longer flying off.  Instead, a well-oiled machine: programming started on time, reporters explained audience dynamics, how to access the live stream was clearly marked.


Despite being around for decades, as have María Elena and Jorge who have been at the helm of their national nightly newscast longer than any of the current network news anchors, Univision was, for the first time, setting the mainstream media news agenda.

Big winners? the American people who witnessed both Obama or Romney's feet held to the fire on a range of issues.




Big loser?  I think we can agree that it was not President Obama or Governor Romney as much as the Commission on Presidential Debates.  That in 2012, their choices are fine journalists (including two who happen to be women only after intense public pressure as I write in "3 NJ Teens and I Get Our Wish or A Debate Moderator Should Be a Woman") but do not include a single reporter of color reveals that these "powers that be" are more retro than Mad Men.

For them, the norm is a white male so what's different?

A white woman.


Diversity is not just racial or ethnic. It's regional, generational, socio-economic, and yes, ideological.

I still don't believe in an "Hispanic Debate" as I write in "Why There Should Not Be a 'Latino' Debate."



However watching María Elena Salinas and Jorge Ramos grill the candidates on topics ranging from jobs, the Middle East, education, and oh yes, immigration is more proof that Salinas and Ramos are tough, that you don't have to look that deep in the "bench" to find talented journalists who happen to be different than the "usual suspects," and that so-called ____ issues (fill in the blank, I'll put "Latino") are American issues.

It's time the Commission on Presidential Debates recognized this basic fact.