Why Did Jorge Ramos Not Ask ‘Karla Marx’ About Perv Teacher Friend?

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Univision’s Jorge Ramos proves once again that he is only interested in standing “opposite to power” so long as the “power” has an “R” after its name. There’s otherwise no need to worry about getting a tough question, as shown in his interview of the Democrat candidate for Florida’s lieutenant governorship, Karla Hernández Mats.

In a softball interview designed to highlight Hernández Mats as a “New Latino Power”, Ramos asked easy, leading questions. Consider, for example, how Ramos ended the interview- by eliciting Hernández Mats’ take on President Joe Biden’s incendiary speech wherein he designated Trump supporters a threat to democracy:

JORGE RAMOS: In your view, are the Republicans that supported Trump a threat to democracy?

HERNANDEZ MATS: Yes. Yes, they are. These are MAGA extremists. And we’re seeing that DeSantis, who is also a MAGA extremist, has- is acting in this manner. He is an authoritarian. He speaks like a dictator. He takes freedoms away, he is trying to censor books- to remove freedom in education- all of this is at stake. So when we talk about the importance of the vote, of going to the polls, all of this is what we are voting for. For women’s freedom, my having autonomy over my own body, for the freedom to be able to vote, because we are seeing how they’re changing what is happening at the voting booth. So all of this is on the ballot.

Ramos offered no pushback to this astounding indictment of actual voters, choosing instead to wrap the interview. This was par for the course throughout the interview.

Earlier, Ramos asked Hernández-Mats about her response to being called a Castro sympathizer…

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RAMOS: Karla, you have never conducted a political campaign, this is the first. How do you deal with the accusations that are immediately made against you? I had just seen a few of them. They say that you are an extremist, that you are a supporter of Fidel Castro, that you’re a communist. When these- these attacks…how do you respond?

…but never bothered to ask her a direct question about the now-deleted tweet mourning the death of Castro that sparked the controversy and earned her the nickname “Karla Marx”. Ramos blew right past that en route to crafting a sympathetic profile of Hernández Mats.

But most troubling: Ramos neglected to ask Hernández Mats about her close ties to Wendell Nibbs, a teacher and fellow union leader who was convicted of sexual battery against minors. Per the Tampa Bay Times:

Far from being just one of 800 union stewards who worked with Hernández-Mats, as the Crist campaign asserts, Nibbs traveled to the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee to rally with other union leaders, including Hernández-Mats. During this period, Nibbs played a role as an “attack dog” toward union members who questioned leadership, according to two union representatives quoted in 2019 in the Miami Herald.

Several photos at the time, some of which show Nibbs smiling with Hernández-Mats and other union leaders, suggest an easy familiarity. Many of those leaders, including Hernández-Mats’ second-in-command, left glowing remarks about Nibbs on social media.

This issue was a matter of record well before Hernández Mats’ candidacy, and was certainly re-aired well in advance of the interview. Ramos’ failure to ask Hernández Mats about her ties to a teacher imprisoned for molesting minors is an inexcusable breach, and further proof that his “contrapoder” gimmick only cuts one way. 

Ramos closed the segment with a proclamation of wanting to get both sides of the race. But no one should seriously expect conservatives to get the kid-glove treatment that Univision accorded to Hernández Mats. The titular question was rhetorical.

Click “expand” to view the full transcript of the aforementioned interview, as aired on Univision’s Al Punto on Sunday, September 4th, 2022:

JORGE RAMOS: And now we move on to our series on the new Latino power, in which we introduce you to Hispanic candidates running for office or politicians who have recently won. Today we focus on the gubernatorial race in Florida, where Democratic candidate Charlie Crist has selected Karla Hernández Mats as his running mate. Hernández Mats has been the head of the teachers’ union in Miami-Dade County since 2016. Although she has never held public office, this is a sign that Democrats want to make education a key focus of their campaign. Karla Hernández Mats is here with me in the studio. Karla, thanks for being here.

KARLA HERNANDEZ MATS: Nice to be here with you.

RAMOS: We’re going to talk about politics in a moment, but how difficult is it to be a teacher right now in the United States and particularly in Florida?

HERNANDEZ MATS: It’s key. We are seeing that we have a governor who is attacking the teachers, who wants to censor the books, who does not let the teachers teach with authenticity. These are things that…

RAMOS: Governor DeSantis in Florida.

HERNANDEZ MATS: Governor DeSantis in Florida. This is something that he has insisted on doing and we are seeing that we have another person in complete contrast who opens his arms to the teachers and says “No, I want the g- the people who are inside the classrooms, who know what the needs of our students are, because our classrooms are a reflection of the community.” “That they be with me that we are leaders of this state”.

RAMOS: Karla, you have never conducted a political campaign, this is the first. How do you deal with the accusations that are immediately made against you? I had just seen a few of them. They say that you are an extremist, that you are a supporter of Fidel Castro, that you’re a communist. When these- these attacks…how do you respond?

HERNANDEZ MATS: Look: first of all, I am very focused on what the campaign is and on working and listening to people. These are distractions. He wants people to listen to this because he doesn’t want to talk about the issues that are important, which is the high cost of living, that people can’t- they don’t have the money for insurance, home insurance. Freedoms. I’m a middle school teacher, I know a few things about bullies. So when he does those things and says those things, it slides off of me.

RAMOS: What’s it like to campaign for the first time? You’ve never had to do it.

HERNANDEZ MATS: Yes- Look. At this level, I had never had to do any type of campaign. As you have said I am a teacher, president, leader of the teachers’ union, but it is something that is key to what happens here in the United States. It is the American dream that a teacher from Hialeah, a daughter of immigrants, can achieve this, it is something great and I am very proud and I am representing all of Latin America. To all those who need- all the things that we need and that this governor is not listening to and is not helping people.

RAMOS: You want to be lieutenant governor. The current lieutenant governor of Florida, Republican Jeanette Núñez, recently made some very controversial statements about immigrants. Let’s listen to her and then ask for your opinion.

LT. GOV. JEANETTE NUÑEZ: Although it’s been a portion, part of those numbers that have come across the border, from Cuba- you can rest assured that the endpoint to where they want to arrive is to Florida….that those people come, that they arrive illegally, again, he’s (DeSantis) not just going to stand there with his arms crossed. He’s not going to be thinking about what he can do. He is going to send them, quite frankly, to the state of Delaware- the president’s state. 

RAMOS: These statements can be interpreted in many ways, how do you interpret it? What is your opinion?

HERNANDEZ MATS: Look, it’s disappointing that a person of our race, a Cuban- that she speaks of her own people in this way. That she is so disconnected from the community that she wants to send her own people to another state. This is exactly the problem we have. Many people who are politicians who have- who have forgotten empathy- of how hard it is to come to this country and have opportunities. So that’s not what we stand for, it’s the total opposite. Charlie, he has advocated for TPS…

RAMOS: Charlie Crist, Democratic candidate.

HERNANDEZ MATS. Charlie Crist…right. He has advocated for TPS. He believes that there should be a pathway to citizenship. And that’s what we’re fighting for.

RAMOS: So- do you believe that Florida ought to welcome more undocumented migrants?

HERNANDEZ MATS: Look- we think that Florida has to be a state where there is empathy, where there is an understanding of the migrant struggle, and fight for them to have a pathway where they can receive and obtain (U.S.) citizenship. 

RAMOS: Karla, I don’t know if you had a chance last Thursday- President Joe Biden gave a very harsh speech saying that the main threat to democracy in the United States is the Republicans…MAGA…who supported then-President Donald Trump and who do not recognize the results of these elections. In your view, are the Republicans that supported Trump a threat to democracy?

HERNANDEZ MATS: Yes. Yes, they are. These are MAGA extremists. And we’re seeing that DeSantis, who is also a MAGA extremist, has- is acting in this manner. He is an authoritarian. He speaks like a dictator. He takes freedoms away, he is trying to censor books- to remove freedom in education- all of this is at stake. So when we talk about the importance of the vote, of going to the polls, all of this is what we are voting for. For women’s freedom, my having autonomy over my own body, for the freedom to be able to vote, because we are seeing how they’re changing what is happening at the voting booth. So all of this is on the ballot.

Ramos: Karla Hernández Mats, thank you for being here.

HERNANDEZ MATS: You’re welcome.

Ramos: And of course, to offer you both points of view, we have offered Governor Ron DeSantis and Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Núñez to come here to the program. We are speaking with the Lieutenant Governor’s office and hope that they will agree to an interview soon.

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