LatinaLista — From all news accounts, Univision, the lone giant among U.S. Spanish-language broadcasters, is on course to go mainstream.
We first caught a hint of this when they paired up with CNN for the presidential debates. Now, Univision is creating a content partnership with the technology review site CNET and teaming up with Viva Vision, a mobile entertainment content provider.
Obviously, Univision is embarking on an ambitious plan to grow viewers and visitors.
So when news broke today that Univision had contributed $1,000 in PAC funds to the committee of a known opponent of unauthorized immigrants, the Friends of Cliff Stearns, eyebrows just didn’t arch. As one friend in an email to Latina Lista wrote,
“Unbelievable! Iâ€™m sitting here with my mouth hanging open and Iâ€™m not shocked by much anymore.”
was a co-sponsor of H.R. 4437 (The Border Protection, Anti-terrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005), which was popularly known as the Sensenbrenner Bill. He is also a co-sponsor of the pending immigration enforcement bill H.R. 4088 formally entitled the Secure America Through Verification and Enforcement (SAVE) Act of 2007. Stearns’ stance on immigration is spelled out on his campaign website, which includes the statement “Let me assure you that I will oppose any bill that contains amnesty provisions.”
FL Congressman Cliff Stearns
For a network, whose viewership is comprised of the very people Stearns continually targets to drive out of the country, it defies explanation as to why Univision’s PAC committee would hand over any kind of monetary support to him to continue to draft the type of punitive immigration legislation he is known for.
As examples, the following are among his other “accomplishments:”
STEARNS OPPOSES BILL PROVIDING ILLEGAL ALIENS ACCESS TO SCHIP FUNDING 9.25.07
STEARNS OFFERS AMENDMENT PROTECTING BUSINESSES THAT REQUIRE EMPLOYEES TO SPEAK ENGLISH ON THE JOB 7.26.07
STEARNS VOTES WITH HOUSE IN APPROVING THE SECURE FENCE ACT 9.14.06
STEARNS GIVEN CAREER RATING OF A+ ON IMMIGRATION ISSUES BY AMERICANS FOR BETTER IMMIGRATION (ABI) 5.23.06
MÃ³nica TalÃ¡n, vice president of corporate communications at Univision, called Latina Lista to explain that while it is corporate policy not to comment on Univision’s PAC contributions, she would say that the company looks “beyond one issue” and tries to weigh all the important issues such as education, healthcare, etc. when deciding on a donation.
She also pointed out that Univision has given more than $1 billion in support of Hispanic community-based programs.
Be that as it may, it still doesn’t rationally explain why a company that provides supportive programming, spearheads citizenship campaigns and presents itself as an ally to their viewers, of whom they know a large portion are undocumented, would on the other hand quietly help fund efforts to legislatively target the same people.
It is a shameful game of politics, that for reasons only known to them, Univision is willing to gamble with their corporate credibility, the trust of their viewers and the fate of their business.
With news that Televisa, Univision’s major supplier of programming, is preparing to face the network in a Los Angeles federal court next month to sever their 16-year-old exclusive licensing agreement because of a dispute over royalty payments, Univision can’t afford to lose the support of their loyal viewers as well.
Unfortunately for Univision, this is not a simple mistake but an offensive act against the Latino community who have fought side-by-side with Univision in defending the humane treatment and dignity of the undocumented.
For Univision to repair its less-than-stellar current reputation, it must come clean with their viewers and employees and explain their funding choice.
It’s one thing to build a strategy for future growth, but quite another to deceive the very people who are depended upon for that growth.