Billionaire megalomaniac and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump created quite a stir last month when he ejected Univision’s chief political anchor, Jorge Ramos, from a news conference in Dubuque, Iowa. There was plenty of whining and hand-wringing after Trump threw Ramos out, but there’s a lot more to this story than meets the eye.
Trump had just started his news conference when Ramos jumped to his feet and launched into a lengthy peroration about U.S. immigration policy. Instead of asking questions, Ramos proceeded to make a political speech. That’s when Trump nodded at a burly security officer, who escorted a highly indignant Ramos out of the room.
“I’m a reporter, an immigrant (and) a senior citizen,” Ramos declared as he departed. “I have the right to ask a question.” “Go back to Univision,” Trump replied, as he called on another reporter. It’s important to note, however, that Trump soon invited Ramos back into the press conference and they engaged in a five-minute debate about immigration policy.
Most of the mainstream media and Hispanic media outlets condemned Trump for treating Ramos, who considers himself to be the Walter Cronkite of Spanish language media, with such a lack of respect. But on the other hand many veteran journalists, including your favorite Nevada Appeal columnist, think Sr. Ramos was out of line, and here’s why.
When newsworthy people call press conferences they get to set the rules and call on the journalists they choose. As candidate Ronald Reagan once said (and I’m paraphrasing here), “I paid for this microphone and I can do what I want with it. So there!” He didn’t say “Sit down and shut up,” as Trump might do, but it was Trump’s microphone in Dubuque and he could choose his questioners. Apparently, however, Ramos thinks he’s such a distinguished journalist he can play by his own rules.
As a U.S. embassy press attache, I organized many news conferences for ambassadors and VIP visitors, and it was always our microphone. If I didn’t like you, I wouldn’t call on you. So there! That’s the way it works in the real journalistic world. You play by our rules.
Back to the Trump-Ramos encounter. Ramos returned to his front-row seat a few minutes after he was ejected. “Good to have you back,” Trump said, as he called on Ramos, who immediately mounted an impassioned defense of illegal immigration. “No human being is illegal, Mr. Trump,” he said, after which Trump reminded him “they’re illegal immigrants when they don’t have their papers.” And that just happens to be true.
The fact is Ramos, a naturalized U.S. citizen who poses as an objective journalist, is an outspoken advocate for illegal immigration and “open borders.” He’d just as soon legalize millions of illegal immigrants and make them American citizens as soon as possible so they could vote for his good friend, Hillary Clinton.
You may think that’s an outrageous accusation, but the fact of the matter is Ramos’s daughter works for Hillary’s presidential campaign. Daddy was so proud of his daughter when she joined the campaign he announced it on his evening newscast, thereby crossing the line between journalism and political activism. So to answer my own question, Jorge Ramos is a political activist, not an objective journalist, and Donald Trump had every right to kick him out of that Dubuque press conference.
Just for the record, Trump is suing Univision for $500 million for canceling the Spanish language broadcast of the Miss Universe pageant, which Trump owns. “The Donald” isn’t my favorite GOP presidential candidate, but he sure knows how to draw media attention. Stay tuned.
Guy W. Farmer writes about politics.