Univision’s Soft Interview with Kamala Harris: Media Double Standard?

It’s been close to three months since former President Donald Trump sat down for an interview with Televisa anchor Enrique Acevedo. The Acela Media flew into an outrage and (falsely) accused Acevedo of conducting a “soft” interview with Trump. But now that Univision has done an even softer interview with vice President Kamala Harris, does that standard still apply? Will there be the same level of scrutiny or will the interview be found to be acceptable by the Acelas because it amplifies the Biden campaign?

Here’s a sample of how the interview went, with Vix (Univision’s streaming service) anchor Carolina Peguero asking a pleasing question seemingly crafted to elicit a three-minute word salad response, and (in this case) Harris botching the answer and suggesting that something might be wrong with President Joe Biden(!):

CAROLINA PEGUERO: President Biden’s age is on voters’ minds, especially during this election, and you work side by side with President Biden. What do you have to say to Americans that are concerned by his ability to run the country and your readiness to step in- in any given moment to help? 

VICE PRESIDENT KAMALA HARRIS: Well, of course, I’m ready. Um- But that’s not the point. He is going to be fine. Let me just say this. He is fine.

A reasonable person might determine that the precise point where the video cut off might have been a good time for, say, a followup question on the president’s health. Something along the lines of: “Madam Vice President, can you clarify what you meant by ‘he is going to be fine’? Is he not fine now?” 

But, alas, that didn’t happen. In fact, NO follow-up questions were asked throughout the interview. In total, Peguero asked six questions on:

  • Abortion: “How will you continue to fight to make sure that all women can make decisions over their own bodies now?”
  • The economy: “How can you assure Hispanic voters that they should trust and believe in the economic Biden Harris plan for a second term?”
  • Immigration: “What is different between President Biden, shutting down the border versus Donald Trump, shutting down the  border?” 
  • Israel-Hamas: “Could (Biden’s support for Israel) alienate democratic progressives and also perhaps create a divide within the party during such a decisive election year? 
  • Biden’s age: “What do you have to say to Americans that are concerned by his ability to run the country and your readiness to step in- in any given moment to help?” 
  • A day in the Vice President’s life: “tell our viewers what a typical day as Vice President Harris looks like and how you shape policy, and why it’s so important to have a woman in the White House.”

Six questions which were not so much questions as they were talking point prompts. Delivered nervously. Which begs an entirely different set of questions. 

Did the White House choose Peguero to conduct this interview, or did the brass at Univision? Why did Univision send someone relatively inexperienced to interview the Vice President of the United States, and not a more experienced anchor (such as Ilia Calderón, for example)? 

Why was the interview not conducted with the same standard that the network’s internal dissenters claimed was absent from the Trump interview? Say what you want about that interview, but there was an exchange. Acevedo asked follow-up questions. What he DIDN’T do was to go off the top rope and Trump and make himself the story.

Unfortunately, this interview is a story- but for all the wrong reasons. 

The left’s lack of reaction to this interview stands as an indictment. At the core of all the outrage over the Trump interview was a sense of entitlement. The left genuinely feel entitled to control how news gets delivered to the Spanish-speaking community. Trump’s interview broke that sense of entitlement, and that’s why they howled like wounded wolves. 

This interview should’ve elicited the same outrage for the same reasons, but didn’t, because Kamala Harris got to air unchallenged talking points in front of a nice anchor who seemed happy to be there and didn’t ask any tough questions. And so the left, the Professional Latinx, the Immigration Industrial Complex, and the Acela Media all bit their tongues at this embarrassment of an interview, which might as well be an in-kind contribution to Biden-Harris 2024.

A double standard isn’t really a standard at all.  

Click “expand” to view the transcript of the full interview as broadcast on Univision Noticias’ YouTube page on Monday, January 29th, 2024:

CAROLINA PEGUERO: Thank you, Vice President Harris for your time; for letting us spend the day with you and accepting this interview. 

VICE PRESIDENT KAMALA HARRIS: Thank you. 

PEGUERO: The message in this re-election campaign is clear. Restore Roe versus Wade. And a recent medical study showed that more than 64,000 rape-related pregnancies of young girls and young women occurred in abortion ban states. How will you continue to fight to make sure that all women can make decisions over their own bodies now?

HARRIS: So the tragedy of it is that the highest court in our land took a right that had previously been recognized, which is the right of women to make decisions about their own body, not having the government tell them what to do. And I think on this point, most of us agree, you don’t have to abandon your faith or deeply held beliefs to agree the government should not be telling her what to do. If she chooses, she will talk with her priest or her pastor, her rabbi, but not the government telling her what to do. And so on this issue, one of the ways that we will restore the right, including in those states that have made no exception, even for rape or incest, is we need to put back in law the protections. And the way we do that is we vote into Congress people who support the right of women to make decisions about their own body, who trust women to know what’s in their own best interest. And President Joe Biden has been very clear when we are reelected and that happens, he will sign the bill into law. 

PEGUERO: Now, I would like to talk about the place where we are today where you have been campaigning. We are in the battleground state of Nevada where a quarter of the population is Latino. And one of the top issues for Hispanic voters in the country is the economy. It’s tough. People are struggling to make ends meet. And I would like to ask you: How can you assure Hispanic voters that they should trust and believe in the economic Biden Harris plan for a second term?

HARRIS: So I’ll start by saying that we still have work to do to bring down prices. But the work we have done has been historic in terms of strengthening the economy and think about it in terms of when you’re talking with families. If they have a family member who has diabetes and are seniors, 70% of Latinos are, um, 70% more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes. And for too long, our seniors had to decide whether they could afford to pay for insulin or pay for food or rent. We have now capped the cost of insulin at $35 a month for seniors. This is very big progress. Seniors were some- in some cases spending hundreds of dollars a month on their insulin. We have capped the cost of prescription medication on an annual basis to $2000 a year, meaning our seniors will not pay more than $2000 a year for all of their medication. So this is about bringing down the cost. What we have done on student loan debt. We know that our Hispanic and Latino students, many are first in generation to go to college and have worked their way through and are now dealing with the burden of student loan debt. We have forgiven billions of dollars in student loan debt to the point that over three point- 3.5 million people have already been relieved of their student loan debt, including people who are in public service. The work we have been doing has been about supporting small businesses. We have seen historic growth in Latino owned small businesses in our country, led by Latinas and it’s been my work and the work of our administration to make sure we have access to capital for those small businesses which is through community banks, making sure that they are respected and that they are understood and that they are given access to the money they need to start a business or grow a business. These are economic issues that affect people on a daily basis and this is some of the work we’ve already accomplished. But there’s more to do. 

PEGUERO: There’s more to do. There’s other issues obviously across the country including in non-border cities across the nation that are feeling the effects of the border crisis. We have a Senate that has failed to reach a bipartisan deal and Trump continues to blame the Biden administration for chaos at the border. But President Biden says he is willing to shut down the border. What is different between President Biden, shutting down the border versus Donald Trump, shutting down the  border? 

HARRIS: So let’s start with this. Our immigration system is broken and it has been for a long time. The first bill that we offered right after we took office, right after inauguration, was a proposal to create a pathway for citizenship. The Republicans in Congress have not taken it up in any meaningful way because they want to run on the concept of a broken system instead of participating in fixing it. They want to run on the problem instead of fixing the problem. We have been proposing solutions that include proposing that $14 billion be given to what we need to do to have more judges, to have a stronger process to determine eligibility for people staying here and for citizenship ultimately. And so the problem is that we’ve got people who call themselves leaders who are playing political games with this issue. The solutions are at hand. And remember- there was a time when Republicans like pre President Bush, like Senator John McCain, Republicans who said, “let’s fix this problem”. But you have in somebody like a Donald Trump, who basically suggests that immigrants are poisoning the blood of the country, and engages in that kind of rhetoric, and instead of what is important to do, which is to fix the problem, including protect DREAMers and DACA. I have, I have been fighting for our DREAMers for years. Children who were brought here through no, you know, they had no choice and have lived productive lives- young people who during COVID. DACA recipients, DREAMers were some of the- some of the- the greatest number of front line workers. DACA recipients who are in college who have served in our military. So there’s a real difference between the way Joe Biden and I think about this issue and, and these other folks, but the solutions are at hand and we need to fix it.

PEGUERO: Vice President Harris, in recent speeches, both you and President Biden have been interrupted by anti war protesters demanding a ceasefire in Gaza where more than 26,000 people have been killed including children. How will this administration combat this issue? And as well, the administration’s seemingly unconditional support to Israel. Could it alienate democratic progressives and also perhaps create a divide within the party during such a decisive election year? 

HARRIS: So let me start by saying that I think we all agree that what happened on October 7th was horrific. Over 1200 people slaughtered, including young people who were at a concert. Women horribly assaulted and raped, rape, being used as a tool of war. And I say that to say Israel had a right to defend itself. We would, but how it does so matters and we’ve been very clear, too many, far too many innocent Palestinians have been killed and Israel has to do more to protect innocent civilians to allow humanitarian aid to get in. Ultimately, I will tell you, we all want this conflict to end as soon as possible and we are working on it every day to see that we can get to that end, that includes getting hostages out and getting toward a two-state solution. Ultimately, the Palestinians deserve, and have an equal right to an equal measure as the Israelis, of security and a right to dignity and self determination.

PEGUERO: President Biden’s age is on voters’ minds, especially during this election. And you work side by side with President Biden. What do you have to say to Americans that are concerned by his ability to run the country and your readiness to step in in any given moment to help? 

HARRIS: Well, of course, I’m ready. Um But that’s not the point. He is going to be fine. Let me just say this. He is fine. I just, he’s gonna be fine. He is one of the most energetic and bold leaders that you can meet. I work with the president every day and I’ve been in the Oval Office when he gets calls from world leaders around the world allies. Um who call him for advice? It is he through his bold leadership that held nations together around Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine. It is he who administrations for years talked about doing an infrastructure law and Joe Biden got it done, where now there are active projects in 50 states, upgrading our roads and bridges and airports. He is the one who young voters have known and young people have talked about the fact that we have to take the climate crisis seriously. Under Joe Biden’s leadership, we’re now in the process of spending $1 trillion on dealing with the climate crisis to ensure that future generations have something to look forward to. So Joe Biden has been very bold in terms of his leadership, what he has done on student loan debt. The same people who would like to talk about this- his age- is because they have nothing to offer. They literally have nothing to offer. They’re the- they’re the same people who many of them stood in the way of student loan debt forgiveness. Many of the people who have stood in the way of meaningful bold climate policy. Many who are- are- are- standing in the way of- of the right of women to make decisions about their own body. So let’s pay attention to who’s actually doing what in terms of their action. And you’ll see that we have in Joe Biden, a president who has performed work that is transformative for our nation.

PEGUERO: We have spent the day with you. You have given us exclusive access to what a day may look like for you. But tell our viewers what a typical day as Vice President Harris looks like and how you shape policy, and why it’s so important to have a woman in the White House.

HARRIS: Well, let’s start with, um, I start my day by working out. I work out every morning and, um, and I try to have breakfast with my husband every morning before I leave the house. Um, I read binders that are this thick of briefing documents at some point in the morning. And then I go to my West Wing office and, um, I normally have extensive meetings in the Oval Office with the president about national security issues. Um, and then it is a variety of other issues depending on the day and what’s happening in our country and in the world. Um, but I will tell you that the job of being vice president is the job of concerning myself with all issues. Be they about national security or what we need to do to address the issue of maternal health and mortality. Um- being the first woman? Well, I’m sure you know, I’m the first woman in the history of the United States to hold this position. There’s never been a woman vice president and I’m sure I bring to it part of my personal experiences and knowledge about what should be important on an issue, for example, like maternal mortality- saying that the women of America deserve to have postpartum coverage by Medicaid for not two months but 12 months. When I came in as vice president, only three states extended postpartum care Medicare Medicaid coverage to 12 months. I issued a call and a challenge to all states and now 43 states have extended postpartum care for women. The work that um I will continue to do to fight for affordable child care- which is a big issue for women um affordable home health care- because it normally falls on women to do that work when they want to be at work and they want to have a paid job and what we need to do to support women. So I bring certainly the life experience of being a woman to the job. But ultimately, it is about doing the best job that we can to uplift the health, the safety and the well being of the American people.

PEGUERO: Vice President Harris, Gracias. 

HARRIS: Ah, de nada. Thank you.

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