Election 2014  
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Moyers: The Rise of Hispanic America

The growing electoral clout of the Latino constituency is getting harder for national politicians to ignore.


BILL MOYERS: Welcome. Millions of us were waiting this week for Mitt Romney and Barack Obama to connect with reality, to connect with the lives we actually live. It didn’t happen. The 90-minute debate went by, for example, without a word about immigration—not a thing said about the countless people trapped in our muddled policy. And this in Colorado, a swing state where both Romney and Obama have been courting the large Hispanic vote.

That wouldn't have happened if my guests on this week’s broadcast had been moderating the debate. But their participation was rejected by the tiny group of insiders who set the rules.

That's a shame, because Jorge Ramos and María Elena Salinas are two of our most knowledgeable, popular and influential journalists. They work for the most important Spanish-language network in the country, "Univision." I met them for the first time earlier this week when they were in town to receive the Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Here’s part of the video presentation that introduced them to the Emmy audience.

NARRATOR: They are two of the most well-recognized journalists in the United States. Pioneers and advocates. For more than two decades María Elena Salinas and Jorge Ramos have informed millions of Hispanics through the popular evening newscast “Noticiero Univision.” Their brand of journalism is characterized not only by subjective and perspective, but also by a high degree of social advocacy. […]

In the last three decades with “Noticiero Univision,” both have covered a wide range of news and have witnessed history in the making. From presidential elections around the world, to the most destructive natural disasters. María Elena Salinas has interviewed dictators, revolutionaries, world leaders, heads of state in Latin America and in the United States. She was among the first female journalists to report from the war-torn street of Baghdad.

Jorge Ramos has covered five wars, and right after the terrorist attacks on September 11th, he drove all the way from Miami to New York to report on the tragedy first hand. Once he even asked for a vacation to cover the war in Afghanistan.

JORGE RAMOS: Where is Osama?

NARRATOR: An assignment that at the time the network deemed too dangerous.[...] He’s had very public encounters with Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, with former Cuban dictator, Fidel Castro, and with Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega. The President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, stood up only after six minutes of questioning by Ramos. Both Ramos and Salinas made history by moderating the first ever bilingual presidential debates. And most recently with the “Meet the Candidates” forum. But perhaps they are best known for defending the rights of immigrants by reporting on their plight, and giving a voice to the voiceless.

BILL MOYERS: María Elena Salinas is the most recognized Hispanic female journalist in the United States. In fact, "The New York Times" called her "The Voice of Hispanic America." Among many other honors, she has received four Emmys plus the Edward R. Murrow Award. You'll want to read her highly acclaimed memoir: "I am My Father's Daughter: Living a Life without Secrets."

Jorge Ramos, says The Washington Monthly, is "the broadcaster who will most determine the 2012 elections." Just three years after he arrived in the United States from Mexico, he was anchoring Univision’s nightly news, one of the youngest national news anchors ever. He's won 8 Emmys and authored 11 books, including this one, "A Country For All: An Immigrant Manifesto."

Welcome to the two of you.