It was announced on Monday that Univision and Fusion lead anchor Jorge Ramos will be honored with a 2017 Walter Cronkite Award next month in Washington for “advancing the conversation about what divides us as a country,” according to jurors for the award.
Question for the gallery: Do you think the former CBS anchor would approve of Ramos’ approach to journalism?
“It doesn’t matter who you are — a journalist, a politician or a voter — we’ll all be judged by how we responded to Donald Trump,” Ramos wrote in Time Magazine last August.
“Like it or not, this election is a plebiscite on the most divisive, polarizing and disrupting figure in American politics in decades. And neutrality is not an option.”
“Neutrality is not an option.”
In other words, take a side and leave objectivity and balance in the dust.
You can practically hear Cronkite saying something just like that during the CBS Evening News back in the day, right?
And there’s much, much more to cause anyone who values unbiased journalism to roll their eyes over:
“Trump, really, is no laughing matter. But he could be the next president,” Ramos wrote before jumping to the real wrath-of-God stuff.
“Judgment day is coming. Will you have peace of mind come November 9th?”
Right. That’s not shaming other journalists who had the audacity to cover both candidates equally or anything…
Back to Ramos, for those who argue that he’s right to take a stand against Trump, remember this: He’s an anchor. It’s not his job to take public stands against anything.
Instead, he personifies exactly why an overwhelming majority of Americans don’t trust the media: He’s an outspoken advocate who publicly abuses his power while serving as lead anchor on two national networks to advance his agenda to his audience and presents it as fact, not opinion.
That’s dangerous. And whether you agree with the Ramos’s immigration position is irrelevant to this conversation.
Instead, it’s when media members like him are honored with an award bearing Walter Cronkite’s name for completely misunderstanding what their job is.
But don’t blame Ramos for pursuing this career path, especially when headlines like this followed his infamous grandstanding at a Trump press conference in 2015 that included the anchor yelling out questions at then-candidate Trump without being called upon while showing zero respect for others in the room.
Washington Post headline in “The Fix” the following day:
“Jorge Ramos: Part journalist, part activist, and now full-on Trump combatant.”
Sums it up nicely.
As for the award organizers at the Norman Lear Center at USC’s journalism school, they don’t appear to have a clue what real journalism is either.
“Today, at this seriously dangerous moment for our democracy, these Cronkite Awards honor journalists, stations and networks stepping up to their civic responsibility to tell Americans the truth,” said Lear Center Director Marty Kaplan.
Wait, what? Are Ramos’s opinions now being portrayed as hard truth?
Kaplan, of course, never expressed such horror when the previous administration actually spied on reporters like Fox’s James Rosen. Or when it secretly seized months of phone records from the Associated Press. Or rejected an all-time record number of Freedom of Information Act requests.
New York Times reporter James Risen even called the Obama Administration’s treatment of the press, “the worst since Nixon.” In terms of actions, it’s hard to argue against that perspective.
But yes, of course… 2017 is the “seriously dangerous moment for our democracy.”
On April 28 at the National Press Club in Washington, Ramos will be honored.
And when his name is announced, it’s a very good bet a standing ovation by other members of the press will follow while all tacitly embrace the new mantra journalism:
“Neutrality is not an option.”
Joe Concha is a media reporter for The Hill.
The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.