TelevisaUnivision CEO Wade Davis sent a memo to staff Tuesday addressing backlash the network has faced after a controversial interview with former President Trump that some viewed as too friendly.
In the memo, Davis said despite the criticism, the company continues to maintain a nonpartisan approach to news. He notes that the Nov. 9 interview of Trump was the first interview of a Republican president, either former or current, on the network in 22 years and was conducted because Trump is the “current Republican frontrunner, according to the polls.” The network has also reached out to President Biden for an interview “on reciprocal terms,” he notes.
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“Univision will continue to maintain this clear vision by giving Democrats, Republicans and independents an equal voice in the coming months, and my hope is that we will be judged based on the entirety of our coverage of the 2024 election,” Davis wrote.
However, he also pointed to the crucial role the Spanish-language TV network plays among Hispanic voters, who have become an increasing important voting block. The interview, and reaching out to candidates from both parties comes as Davis says the network understands that impunity and knows that “Hispanics are diverse, dynamic and certainly not uniform in their political views.”
“Univision is not a tool of any party or organization. Univision is an independent news organization, and we will not be deterred by partisan interests and agenda-driven advocacy. Our responsibility is to our audience; we are strongly committed to this and will stay the course,” he wrote.
Following the interview, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus asked for a meeting with Davis, with concerns about “preventing the spread of mis- and disinformation in Latino communities.” Actor and producer John Leguizamo has also called for a boycott of the network, calling it “Magavision.”
Univision anchor, Leon Krauze, who anchored Noticiero Univision Edición Nocturna, also left the company last week, raising questions as to whether it was related to the interview.
Wade Davis’ full memo is below:
Let me start by saying THANKS to you all!
I hope you’re all getting ready to enjoy good family time as we lead up to the Thanksgiving holiday here in the U.S. For those of you in our newsroom, we know all too well that you never stop. There has been a continued press cycle of coverage around our interview with former President Trump, which has caused further questions from and discussions amongst our employees. As a result, I think it is useful for me to further expand on the evolution of our news strategy.
Recent events reflect a clear recognition of the importance of Hispanics as the largest swing vote in the upcoming 2024 Presidential election. This is powered by the fact that the Hispanic population is large, and the fastest growing demographic. There is now well documented consensus among political analysts of both parties that the Hispanic vote may determine the Presidential election outcome.
Engaging with the entire Hispanic community in all spheres is the foundation of TelevisaUnivision’s mission. We are here to inform and empower Spanish speaking audiences. We deeply understand our community, and know Hispanics are diverse, dynamic and certainly not uniform in their political views.
We made a decision to adopt a strategy that is different than what some other major networks are using, which has been labeled as partisan. Univision’s news strategy is one that is non-partisan and objective, and we serve our audience by being welcoming of competing issues, ideas, candidates and parties. We are here to serve our audience, not any political party, any one candidate or partisan groups. In the realm of politics, where opinions can be passionate and divergent, providing a space for varied voices reflects a dedication to the values that underpin civic life in a democracy. It’s a recognition that the strength of a democracy relies in its ability to navigate differences through dialogue and, ultimately, to make informed choices that shape the future.
To that end, interviewing the current Republican frontrunner, according to the polls, the sitting President, and any other candidates is our responsibility if we are to present the full landscape of ideas. The interview with former President Trump was the first in 22 years of a current or former Republican President. There have been many interviews of a current or former Democratic President over that same period. Further, we have offered, and welcome, an interview with President Biden on reciprocal terms and believe our viewers would greatly appreciate hearing from the President.
Univision will continue to maintain this clear vision by giving Democrats, Republicans and independents an equal voice in the coming months, and my hope is that we will be judged based on the entirety of our coverage of the 2024 election.
At the same time, we must understand that Univision will draw extra attention and scrutiny, particularly among partisan groups, because of its unmatched reach with Hispanics. We embrace the responsibility to provide our audience the information to make decisions based on accurate coverage of the election process. We will reject all efforts to destabilize this vision, including from partisans within the press or the political machinery. Univision is not a tool of any party or organization. Univision is an independent news organization, and we will not be deterred by partisan interests and agenda-driven advocacy. Our responsibility is to our audience; we are strongly committed to this and will stay the course.
Great companies have alignment in vision from the shareholders to the employees. From the very top, we are aligned behind Univision News President, Daniel Coronell, and the rest of the news organization to execute this strategy. It will require the focus and attention of all constituencies within TelevisaUnivision to ensure that this vision is properly executed. I hope and trust you share in this important mission and vision for our Company.
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