Does the Republican Party’s official list of 2016 presidential primary debates reveal a desire to avoid uncomfortable immigration questions?
Some Democrats feel the National Republican Committee intentionally snubbed Univision on Friday when the country’s largest Spanish-language channel was not included in the list of channels allowed to host its nine primary debates. New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D) was particularly vocal about the issue in a statement sent to Business Insider.
“It’s shameful that the RNC would duck a presidential debate on the most-watched Spanish language network,” she said. “The RNC is probably scared to debate on a network watched by millions every night because they undoubtedly know their candidates plan to run vehement anti-immigrant campaigns.”
Mark-Viverito, who is of Puerto Rican descent, argued that Latino voters will see through GOP’s “cynical attempt” to avoid their issues.
“Despite how hard the RNC tries to hide their pro-deportation, anti -immigration reform agenda, Latino voters nationwide will see this for what it is: a cynical attempt to shield their candidates from the Latino voters,” she continued.
Other channels were noticeably passed over by Republicans, including Bloomberg and MSNBC. But those two don’t have the same viewership as Univision, which sometimes has even more viewers than many of its English-language broadcast counterparts. And it will be difficult for channels to host unofficial debates: Candidates who participate in such events will no longer be allowed to participate in the officially sanctioned bouts.
The Republican National Committee didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider, but RNC Chairman Reince Priebus previously told BuzzFeed Republicans were concerned about being treated fairly on the channel.
“It’s highly questionable whether we’re treated fairly on Univision,” Priebus said. “You can fight all day long with people, not to say that that wouldn’t continue, but at the same time you still have to get your message out.”
According to BuzzFeed, GOP operatives also widely complained about the channel’s alleged bias and accuse it of having an agenda on immigration issues.
Univision did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.
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