Why Univision Won't Weaponize Gawker Media

What does a muck-racking English philosophy graduate from Oxford have in common with a debt-laden Spanish-language media empire? Gawker Media that’s what. Nick Denton’s prying and spying blog network has recently been on the losing end of a $140 million lawsuit courtesy of the Hulk Hogan - Peter Thiel tag team. So it must be some relief to Denton that Gawker has found a buyer, once the lawsuit has wound it’s way down. For just about the amount of the lawsuit, some $135 million. What a coincidence.

And that buyer, of course, is Univision, home to anchor Jorge Ramos. Jorge Ramos - the Walter Cronkite of Latin America folks - who is well known to Donald Trump. Especially after that infamous exchange last year.

Does this mean that Gawker staff will now don Zorro masks and lurk near the freight elevator entrance of Trump Towers? With cameras or iPhones at the ready once they gain the fortress? Will Ivanka and Jared have to hire additional teams of bodyguards to ensure privacy when they actually, really do not want to be photographed? Not to mention videotaped.

Or will not that much change at Univision? What will the effect be? Univision is now owned by Broadcast Media Partners Inc., a consortium of private equity firms. Who are all about the money. Not necessarily the politics. Even if given their audience, politics - make that identity politics - still matters.

Univision is run by Randy Falco who's been at the top in traditional broadcasting, at AOL, and now with Univision. And who happens to be a long-time acquaintance of Donald Trump. Which is nice when the two of you have to work out a $500 million lawsuit that resulted from Univision and NBC cancelling their participation in Trump-owned Miss Universe last year.

Interestingly, this past June, Univision in their show, Despierta America, strongly criticized radical elements among the San Jose protesters who assaulted Trump supporters and destroyed property, conforming to the worst stereotypes of ungrateful immigrants who spit on the country that gave them refuge and a new start in life. While in sharp contrast, rival Spanish-language network Telemundo had staff (a cameraman apparently) collude with anti-Trump protesters in San Diego. Will Univision's coverage of Trump and the GOP become a little more, fair and balanced?

At some point over the next few years, some perspective will be gained on the heated debate over illegal immigration and what it has meant to the American economy and to politics in America as well. One hopes that some of that perspective will come from the Hispanic community itself, who in many ways embrace conservative ideals of family and faith. Even if they - Cuban Americans aside - reject the GOP in large numbers and prefer to vote for the Democratic party.

So maybe Gawker in the hands of Univision will merely be a money-generating network of sensationalist blogs, and not a weaponized digital rumor mill, aimed squarely at Trump Towers.

Posted by Keeley at August 18, 2016 5:15 PM
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