In their coverage of Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) announcement that he will seek re-election the two major Hispanic TV news networks, Univision and Telemundo, failed to report the senator’s dismal record on issues that matter to their Latino audiences -- issues local Florida papers, in contrast, rightly highlighted.
On June 22, Rubio took to Fox News to announce his re-election bid, claiming the June 12 mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando motivated his reentry into the Senate race. Previously, Rubio had declared he would be “leaving the Senate,” calling it dysfunctional. Florida papers criticized Rubio’s “thin record” and “absenteeism” from the Senate during his first term, as well as his recent votes against stricter gun safety legislation in the aftermath of the Orlando attack. The Tampa Bay Times’ Adam Smith called Rubio an “opportunist” and chided him for using his seat in the Senate to prepare for a “political comeback.” The Miami Herald editorial board wrote that Rubio was taking advantage of the Orlando tragedy to launch his re-election campaign and criticized him for “voting the straight NRA line this week by nixing all efforts to impose sensible control on firearms.”
In contrast, coverage by the two major Hispanic TV news networks, Univision and Telemundo, failed to provide such context while reporting on Rubio’s decision to run. On the June 22 edition of Univision’s Noticiero Univision, coverage of Rubio’s bid spanned less than 30 seconds and consisted mainly of anchor Jorge Ramos reading from Rubio’s official statement. Telemundo’s Noticiero Telemundo also limited its coverage to Rubio’s basic talking points and the senator’s own justification for running.
The networks’ failure to point out that Rubio’s record includes missing votes and hearings, as well as inaction on gun legislation, flip-flops on immigration, lies about undocumented immigrants, and opposition to women’s reproductive rights -- all issues that disproportionately affect the Hispanic community.