Is that headline not a fair characterization of what he’s saying here? In what sense was his “right” to question Trump at that moment any greater than any other reporter’s? He says at one point in passing in the clip below, “I thought it was my turn,” but that’s obviously not true. Go watch the video from last night if you haven’t seen it already. Ramos starts speaking as Trump is stepping to the mic, before Trump can so much as look at him. Trump calls on another reporter and Ramos just keeps going.
What he wants to say is that he thought he had a greater moral right to question Trump. He’s an activist. Unlike the other reporters in the room, he was there to push a cause and wanted to use Trump’s media megaphone to amplify it. When you’re speaking open-borders “truth” to security power, your righteous urgency leaves no room for professional courtesy. And now he’s a free-speech martyr, all because Trump wouldn’t stand there and be heckled at length — even though he did eventually let Ramos back in for a little heckling and counter-heckling.
Ramos said that the use of force to “suppress freedom of expression” worried him. He also defended his aggressive approach at the press conference…
In an interview with ABC, Ramos said that another responsibility of being a journalist is to “denounce” the “dangerous words and extreme behavior of Donald Trump.”…
“I think the best journalism happens when you take a stand, and when it comes to racism, discrimination, corruption, public life, dictatorship or human rights, as journalists, we are not only required but we are forced to take a stand, and clearly when Mr. Trump is talking about immigration in an extreme way, we have to confront him, and I think that’s what I did yesterday,” he said.
Why Trump has a responsibility to answer questions from a guy who finds him so “dangerous” as to supposedly warrant denunciation from the wider, supposedly impartial media, I have no idea. Jim Geraghty notes that last week Ramos called Trump “the loudest voice of intolerance, hatred and division in the United States.” The day liberals decide that Obama or Hillary Clinton is duty bound to engage in press-conference colloquies with, say, Rush Limbaugh is the day Trump is duty bound to engage Ramos. That’s the peril in Ramos’s Greenwald-style model of “advocacy journalism.” The more ostentatiously activist you are in your reporting, eagerly confronting disfavored actors about your pet cause while shying away from confrontations with more sympathetic ones (how’s the state of civil liberties in Snowden-friendly Russia?), the harder it is to distinguish a confrontation as questioning rather than heckling. Says Geraghty:
And for all of the howling and fury over Trump’s comment about Mexican immigrants, Ramos is the flip side of the coin in making the immigration debate angry, ugly, and bitter. He never acknowledges that Americans who want their border laws enforced have a legitimate point or are good people. He routinely uses the term “anti-immigrant” to describe those who disagree with his stance, when just about all of them support legal immigration.
He never acknowledges that there’s something wrong with entering the country illegally. He sneeringly simplifies the debate to immigrants and their friends on one side and irredeemable hateful xenophobes on the other.
Indeed. And wider Latino media shares those demagogic failings. Ramos and Univision are alternately tolerated or celebrated by the rest of American media either because they share their pro-amnesty, pro-Democratic political sympathies or they’re deathly afraid, as a matter of proper multicultural right-thinking, of calling Ramos’s hackery what it is. He’s got a big audience share among a famously growing demographic; let’s legitimize him as the “Latino Walter Cronkite” even though his model of journalism, fairly explicitly, operates as propaganda for one side of an issue. In fact, the whole incident last night operated as a weird little simulacrum of illegal immigration: Ramos, a U.S. citizen but a passionate proponent of border-crossing, couldn’t understand by what moral right he could be forcibly removed from someplace he really wanted to be, whatever the rules and norms of such places might say. And of course, after being removed, he ended up making it in anyhow. Perfect.