He's been called the voice of the voiceless, pegged as the Anderson Cooper of Spanish-language news, and ranked the second most recognized Latino leader in the country today, in a recent Pew Hispanic Center poll of U.S. Latinos. One thing Jorge Ramos is not, however, is a mouthpiece for the President's reelection campaign, the Univision anchor insisted last week.
On Friday, Ramos took time out of his usual Univision broadcast to denounce the use of his image in a recent Obama campaign ad.
"In the last few hours, President Obama's reelection campaign aired a commercial using my image and Univision's image. I want it to be clear that I object to the use of my image and Noticias Univision's image in any electoral campaign. We have made this clear to Barack Obama's reelection campaign and the White House. We are making this a public statement of our nonconformity. We've always defended our journalistic independence and will continue to do so," Ramos said in Spanish in Univision's video above.
Ramos' insistence on "journalistic independence" comes at an interesting time for the anchor, who has recently been hailed and criticized for conducting some of the toughest interviews of the year. He grilled Gingrich on immigration policy, he took Romney to task on his stance on the DREAM Act, and he told Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa, Arizona that he represents the "face of racism and discrimination" and "the worst of America" for U.S. Latinos.
But navigating the line between impartial journalist and immigration advocate doesn't come without complications for the news anchor. "Ramos has written eleven books, mostly about immigration, and the subject ﬁlls his broadcasts," Ken Auletta wrote in an essay in The New Yorker.
It's no secret that Ramos, who is an immigrant himself, is an advocate for immigrant's rights. However, it's not just the Republicans who Ramos has criticized on the issue. The Univision anchor has also pressed President Obama on his immigration policies, and asked the President why he used the word "illegal" to describe undocumented immigrants.
"Now, in your speech to Congress you used the words 'illegal immigrants.' However, and I remember very clearly, during the campaign you were very careful to use the words 'undocumented immigrants'. Why the change? You said words matter. Now, why do you choose to use the language that is being used by those who criticize immigrants? " Ramos asked Obama in 2009. Obama responded that he used the term only when "addressing the misinformation" of those who used the term.
During an election in which the Latino vote may decide who becomes the next president, Obama's campaign may have their own reasons for featuring one of the most recognized and most beloved Latino journalists in their ad. Ramos, however, doesn't seem to be as thrilled about his cameo appearance.
“It seems that Ramos didn’t want his image and that of Univision to be confused for an endorsement,” Mónica Novoa, a campaign coordinator for Drop the I-Word, a group devoted to ending the use of the word "illegal" in describing immigrants, told ColorLines.com.
“He is arguably the most high-profile Spanish media journalist in the country, and wants to maintain a distance from any endorsement at this point,” she said.
WATCH: Jorge Ramos Interviews Joe Arpaio
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