Earlier this week, former president Donald Trump gave an interview to Univision, the Spanish-language broadcaster, during which he threatened to weaponize the F.B.I. and the Justice Department against his political opponents. The statements, which came on the heels of a Washington Post report revealing that Trump and his allies had been drawing up plans to use the federal government to retaliate against adversaries and former cabinet members, were arguably the most brazenly authoritarian remarks the presumptive Republican presidential nominee has made to date in a mainstream media interview. And the interview reasonably unnerved the political pundit class—“dangerous” and “insane” are among the words that have reverberated across cable news in the last 24 hours.
Inside Univision, however, the hour-long sit-down raised alarms for another reason. The interview, which was conducted by a non-Univision journalist who did little to question or push back on Trump’s claims, effectively functioned as a propaganda special, current and former Univision journalists have protested. In it, they saw glaring evidence of a broader effort by their new parent company, which has close ties to Trump and especially to his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to curry favor with the former president and push the network further to the right.
Meanwhile, sources inside the Biden administration are similarly wary about the network’s handling of the special, especially after its eleventh-hour decision to forgo a scheduled interview with an administration representative and cancel several Biden campaign ads that had been slated to run during the interview. (A Univision spokesperson did not respond to a request to take questions regarding the interview.)