Friday, October 7, 2011

Follow up on the Univision debate boycott

Earlier this week, I reported on how the controversy regarding Univision's attacks on Senator Marco Rubio had led the leading Republican presidential candidates to boycott an upcoming debate hosted by the Spanish language channel. The Miami Herald ran an article with an update on the boycott, including comments from Rubio:

WASHINGTON -- Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was thrust into the bright national spotlight of Republican presidential politics Wednesday — and not just because he’s a potential short-lister for the vice presidential ticket.
The normally eloquent Republican was relatively speechless Wednesday when asked about his role in the decision by nearly every major GOP candidate to boycott a presidential debate sponsored by Spanish-language media giant Univision because of allegations that it tried to pressure Rubio into a sit-down interview.
"I think it’s unfortunate. The whole thing is something I really don’t even want to comment on," Rubio said Wednesday, while being interviewed by National Journal’s Major Garrett at the Washington Ideas Forum, an event featuring some of the country’s biggest boldfaced names, including the current and most recent vice presidents.
"I didn’t want to comment on it when it happened," Rubio told Garrett. "I think people read the articles, they speak for themselves, they’re accurate. I know you have to ask, but I really don’t even want to address the whole issue. I really don’t want to give that thing any oxygen."
That "thing" Rubio is referring to is the allegation that Univision tried to strong-arm the senator with a controversial story about a relative’s drug bust 24 years ago.
Those allegations prompted six of the Republican presidential candidates to boycott the network’s proposed debate, tentatively scheduled for two days before Florida’s Jan. 31 GOP presidential primary. They are Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman and Michele Bachmann.
Univision's loss could be a gain for rival Spanish-language broadcaster, Telemundo.
Telemundo will be the exclusive Spanish language broadcaster and air and NBC News Republican Florida Presidential Primary debate, which is being produced in partnership with the National Journal and The St. Petersburg Times.
The boycotts came at the behest of three Florida Hispanic Republican lawmakers, who alerted the campaigns to reports that the senator’s office and Univision insiders said the network aired an embarrassing story about Rubio’s brother-in-law because he wouldn’t sit down for an interview on the show Al Punto, which has espoused a liberal line on the hot topic of immigration...
Read the rest of the article here.

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