Jorge Ramos sought to call Donald Trump to account for the Republican presidential candidate’s controversial views on illegal immigration.
He stood during a press conference and peppered the candidate with questions about his plan to build a wall along the nation’s southern border. Trump then called a bodyguard over to escort Ramos from the room.
It was an unattractive scene, to be sure.
Then Ramos, a noted news anchor for Univision — a leading Spanish-language TV network — went on ABC’s “Good Morning America” the next morning to discuss the incident. He said a curious thing, in my humble view.
GMA host George Stephanopoulos asked Ramos if he was acting more as an advocate than a journalist. Ramos responded by saying “journalists must stand for something.”
His answer had me scratching my noggin.
Journalists, as I understand the meaning of the term, basically fall into two categories: reporters and editorialists. I spent most of my nearly 37 years as a full-time print journalist on the opinion side, writing editorials and commentaries for publications in two states.
But on occasion, when the opportunity presented itself, I was able and willing to write news copy for those publications. I was able to set personal bias aside and deliver information for readers to consume — and for them to make up their own minds about the topic about which I was writing.
I don’t know if at the press conference, in which Trump was fielding questions from reporters, whether Ramos was representing himself as a reporter or an editorialist.
His answer to the question, then, on GMA was incomplete.
A journalist, if he is writing or broadcasting opinion, is certainly entitled to “stand for something.” If the journalist is there to report on a story, well, then he or she should stand for nothing.
Jorge Ramos doesn’t think a 1,900-mile-long wall along our border is practical or even feasible. He doesn’t think Trump’s idea of rounding up 11 million undocumented immigrants is possible without breaking up families and causing considerable heartache and grief.
If that is what he believes, then he should simply state it.
If, however, he is asking a serious question on the issue, I believe he should do so without inserting his personal views on the matter.
Perhaps his effort to “stand for something” ought to include fulfilling his entire obligation as a journalist — which includes reporting the story and leaving his own bias out of it.