Univision’s President of News Defends Trump Interview

Political News

During a recent episode of his weekly YouTube show, Univision President of News Daniel Coronell weighed in on the controversy surrounding the network’s interview of former President Donald Trump.

Coronell’s remarks, unlike Univision CEO Wade Davis’ internal email or Jorge Ramos’ opinion column, were delivered while directly addressing a viewer of his weekly YouTube broadcast who was expressing dissatisfaction with the interview. This makes Coronell’s remarks all the more significant.

Coronell defends both the style and substance of an interview, and explains the history behind the interview. He explains Enrique Acevedo’s approach to the interview, which was to get full answers from Trump. Coronell also addresses the issue of Joe Biden’s ads.

The record reflects, with crystal clarity, that we are no fan of Coronell. Much of Univision’s descent into open partisanship happened under Coronell’s watch, and I don’t think that a one-shot interview with Trump will suddenly undo years of institutional decay. The left are making much ado about nothing.

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The whole episode is a reminder that the left only care about having the power to decide what news and information Hispanics see and hear. The perceived loss of control, although having no basis in fact, is what triggered the left’s manic outcry over this interview. 

We publish Coronell’s remarks here because they are relevant to the controversy, they address critics’ concerns, and are therefore in the public interest. Furthermore, the Acela Media parachuting into this story wouldn’t even know where to begin to look for Coronell’s remarks. You’re welcome.

Below are Daniel Coronell’s remarks, as published on Youtube on November 23rd, 2023.  

DANIEL CORONELL: Mrs. María del Rosario. How are you Mrs. María del Rosario, where are you joining us from?

MARIA DEL ROSARIO: Good morning. I live in Texas. After 30 years of living in New York I moved to Texas.

CORONELL: In what city?

DEL ROSARIO: In Georgetown. It’s 45 minutes from Austin.

CORONELL: Oh, how nice What a beautiful place. Well, it’s also a privilege to have lived in New York for such a long time.

DEL ROSARIO: Oh, yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Definitely. Ah, thank you very much. I’m surprised to be able to be here. Ah, regarding Trump’s interview…

CORONELL: Yes, ma’am.

DEL ROSARIO: I understand that Jorge Ramos was not, they couldn’t put him in because he once in fact got kicked out by Trump from… from- an interview but it seemed to me that the interview was not very… well done because there are many things that he says can be- can be fact checked and what he says is 80% false, right? But it also seemed to me that something that happened which was also criticized a lot, even a president of Univisión criticized this in an interview. The banners they put up during the interview. The cancellation of Biden’s commercials…

CORONELL: Forgive me, Mrs. María del Rosario. There were no banners during the interview. I have to clarify that. The banners that Don Joaquín Blaya was referring to were during a broadcast of the local channel of former President Donald Trump’s rally in Hialeah…

DEL ROSARIO: Ah, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes….

CORONELL: It has nothing to do with the interview…

DEL ROSARIO: Yes, yes, yes. You’re right because there was that too. They gave him three hours of a rally.

CORONELL: Yes. There really weren’t three. There were two (hours) and well, it was an important local event for Miami. That was a local broadcast from Univision’s local Miami station. For the people who are watching us, let’s say, Univisión is not a channel like Caracol or the RCN (Colombia) that is only one channel nationally but rather it is more similar, let’s say, to the network distribution of a radio network in Colombia because there is a structural national programming but there are also programs and newscasts, especially local ones. And the- the local newscasts, well, they only go to one city or one region and we are talking about Miami. Please continue, Doña María del Rosario.

DEL ROSARIO: Well, thank you for checking me…

CORONELL: Yes, ma’am.

DEL ROSARIO: So you can do a fact check.

CORONELL: Of course.

DEL ROSARIO: But what does it say about – about the cancellation of the commercials they had for Biden during the interview that that – that’s strategy, right? And also from something that I also heard was that this interview was acquired because of his… because of the people that Ivanka’s husband knows… Kushner… because he has quite a few friends there in– at Univision they even gave him an award in Mexico that thave only given it to Nelson Mandela, they have given it to really important people, but Kushner in Mexico, I don’t know why, but they gave it to him. So, what– what can you tell me about all those… things you’re talking about?

CORONELL: First of all, thank you very much, Mrs. María del Rosario. First, I think that, of course, different journalists do different uh- interviews.

DEL ROSARIO: Sure.

CORONELL: He- I would have done it differently too. To- to speak clearly, I am a reporter and I would have done it differently. But- I understand the context in which Enrique Acevedo was doing the interview. A few days earlier, with Leslie Stahl from 60 Minutes, the great American journalist, former President Trump had gotten up. The interview had not ended. Enrique had that fresh experience, we had also seen Kristen Welker’s interview on NBC, in short, a series of interviews and I imagine that the need for him to answer prevailed in his head and there were some very big questions about the separation of families, on the issue of the- of what former President Trump has said on border security, on the Middle East, that it was important (that Trump) to be able to conclude his ideas. I think that it is a valid interview and that it was very important for the Hispanic community to know what Donald Trump was thinking. And what’s more, it was an interview that Univisión had been requesting for for 8 years. We started requesting it in 2015. And we began to ask for it immediately (after) Trump announced for the presidency by saying that the – that Mexicans were thieves and rapists and that- you know, Mrs. María Rosario, as a person who has lived here for so many years, that when they say “Mexicans” they refer to all of us Hispanics. 

DEL ROSARIO: Everyone.

CORONELL: I mean, we are all Mexicans, and they sent the worst of their country to the United States – and we started asking for the interview. But there also began to appear a business tension between Univision and the Trump Organization. Univision had the rights to the Miss Universe pageant which – which is a pageant (that is), let’s say, very profitable in economic terms and – and the CEO of the company at that time, Mr. Randy Falco, made the decision to break the agreement and abide by the legal consequences. That was- if you put Randy Falco, Trump (into an internet search) you are going to notice a letter from Trump where he says that also the- the Univision headquarters of- not where I work but a few blocks from where I work because I work at Univision News but the main entertainment headquarters of Univision and everything that is – in Doral – adjoins Mr. Trump’s property where there is a golf course. And they were opening a gate and some Univision executives were going to play golf at Trump’s course and there was, let’s say, a good relationship. In that letter he says to close the gate, that he’s going to put an end to all that, that he’s going to the lawyers, he is suing and- after those two months, after that was the episode – this has to do with the business aspect. As far as the journalistic issue, the press conference where Jorge Ramos was expelled by Trump was two months later. And he, let’s say, asked an important question that received no answer other than expulsion from the press conference. Since that moment, Univisión has sought that- that interview for years. A year and a half after those events, there was a meeting at President Trump’s home in New York that I did not attend. The person who was my boss at the time, Isaac Lee, Randy Falco, the company’s CEO, attended, several people – Bernardo Moreno and Alfonso Angoitia from Televisa, Jared Kushner and Trump. And part of the agenda of that meeting, what Isaac Lee was looking for, in particular, was to arrange an interview that could not be arranged. That interview finally came to fruition now and for us, as a journalistic project and as the main Hispanic media outlet in the United States, it is important – it was important to have Trump and ask him some questions. And… yes, ma’am. Please.

DEL ROSARIO: One last question. As a journalist, were you satisfied with the interview?

CORONELL: I am never satisfied with an interview, not even with the ones I do myself. I always think that- that something was missing. There is an anecdote about a painter – from Manet – who said that when the paintings were already hanging in the exhibition, he would come in at night with a palette and a brush and retouch them and he wanted to continue working on them. That happens to me with all journalistic work and with interviews in particular. But I think it was very important to have an interview. And that it was – it is better to have one than not to have one and that I hope it will be the first but not the last interview with Trump, and that there will be more possibilities to ask him things. But overall, I think it’s a good interview. On the matter of advertising, Mrs. María del Rosario. There is a separation between the business world and the journalistic world in- in serious journalism companies and here in the United States they call it the “Chinese Wall”. There is a “Chinese Wall” that splits the corporate issue from the journalistic issue. To that extent, I have no decision-making power over advertising and I don’t even ask, because I don’t want to risk having those who handle advertising ask me “well, then what are you going to do with the news?” But- because- because it opens a dangerous door. But – but the company has explained that it is a – that it will have a policy from now on that commercial spots will not be left for the opposing candidate to use there. In other words, this has to do with propaganda, not information. And Univisión decides that in that space there will be none, in the others there will be (ads). Furthermore, there is a detail. Initially, the interview was supposed to last 42 minutes and ended up lasting 57. And this is a rare format in television spaces because- because you have to make room for commercials. So, 57 minutes was too long to be an hour and too short to be an hour and a half. In Univisión’s prime spaces, for every 60 minutes of programming there are 18 minutes of commercials. So, Univision programming decided to extend it so that it was one hour and 10 minutes. That’s why it started at 9:55 and went until 11:05, so as to last an hour and 10. Even so, despite the creative efforts of our programming colleagues and all that, there wasn’t enough room for commercials. And I imagine this, no one has told me, I assume – there was limited space for commercials and of course Univision in its Prime Time has to favor advertisers who are with them 365 days a year, and not the one who shows up with an advertisement that is for that day on a specific topic, because in the end they are dollars and cents that mean, shall we say, the survival and stability of a company.

DEL ROSARIO: Well, thank you very much for the explanation.

CORONELL: Thank you very much Mrs. María del Rosario, and it is always a pleasure to talk.

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