Univision, the largest Spanish-language television network, was recently bought out by a private equity consortium that includes billionaire Haim Saban. Saban is a close friend of the Clintons, and a particularly zealous Hillary fundraiser.
In May 2007, Fortune magazine wrote a piece on Saban that put in no uncertain terms the media mogul's desire to see Clinton win the presidency:
... "I think [Saban] likes her better than he likes me," jokes Bill Clinton. But as he talks about Saban's support of Senator Clinton, the former President turns serious. "It is something that" - he pauses - "I can hardly talk about it because it really makes me emotional, 'cause he has genuinely come to love and respect her."
There's nothing wrong with having influence over a powerful media outlet and personally preferring one candidate over another. The problem comes when blatant biases seep into the reporting of political news. Univision seems to be borrowing straight from the playbook of Fox News in its slanted approach to the campaign -- not shocking, given the close friendship between Rupert Murdoch and Haim Saban (birds of a feather flock together).
Like many news organizations around the world, Univision's website features blurbs that introduce each of the major presidential candidates to its audience. I've translated the introductory blurbs of the three major Democratic presidential candidates.
Fair and balanced? Judge for yourself:
Well known as the wife of former president Bill Clinton, Hillary Diane Rodham is the female candidate with the most popularity in the 2008 elections. Hillary Clinton has called for repairing "Bush's errors."
He is the only African American candidate and has a relatively short political career. His multiracial social narrative and fresh image are his main assets in the 2008 presidential race. This candidate has been accused of being naïve and irresponsible for saying that in his first year in office, he would be willing to meet with the leaders of Iran, Cuba and Venezuela without preconditions.
After having competed for the vice presidency of the United States in the 2004 elections, he is now going for the presidency in 2008. Analysts say he is the Democratic candidate with the most progressive platform. But he was criticized when he was overheard speaking with Hillary Clinton about the possibility of eliminating some participants from the debates, to which he gave the questionable response that he was referring to dividing the candidates into two groups of four.
Here is the original Spanish:
Reconocida por ser la esposa del ex presidente Bill Clinton, Hillary Diane Rodham, es la candidata de sexo femenino con mayor popularidad para las elecciones del 2008. Hillary Clinton ha llamado a reparar "los errores de Bush".
Es el único candidato afroamericano y tiene una trayectoria política relativamente corta. Su discurso social multirracial y su imagen fresca son sus principales armas en la contienda presidencial del 2008. Este candidato ha sido acusado de ingenuo e irresponsable por decir que, en su primer año de mandato, estaría dispuesto a reunirse sin condiciones previas con los líderes de Irán, Cuba y Venezuela.
Tras competir por la vicepresidencia de Estados Unidos en las elecciones del 2004, ahora lo hará por la presidencia del 2008. Los analistas aseguran que es el candidato con el programa político más progresista de los demócratas. Pero fue criticado cuando lo escucharon hablando con Hillary Clinton de la posibilidad de eliminar a algunos participantes en los debates electorales, a lo que respondió inconsistentemente que se refería a dividirse en dos grupos de cuatro.
Hillary Clinton's high positives within Hispanic communities are due to name recognition and little else.
Latinos, like African Americans, are intensely loyal voters. But as we've seen in South Carolina, when loyalty is not met with respect, people will turn away. Let's hope Latinos get the message about the real Hillary Clinton before it's too late.
In the meantime, Univision should be called out for its blatant biases.