Fla. GOP lawmakers seek Univision boycott

Oct. 4, 2011 at 10:29 AM
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MIAMI, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Univision offered to kill or soften a story on Sen. Marco Rubio's brother-in-law's 1987 drug bust if Rubio granted an interview, The Miami Herald reported.

After the Herald reported the apparent offer, three Florida Hispanic Republicans called on the national GOP and their party's presidential candidates Monday to boycott a proposed presidential candidates' debate on the Spanish-language network.

The three lawmakers -- U.S. Rep. David Rivera and state Reps. Carlos Lopez-Cantera and Erik Fresen -- also demanded Univision apologize and fire its news president, Isaac Lee, the Herald reported.

In a letter Monday to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus, the three Florida Republican lawmakers said: "This attempt at extorting a respected Republican elected official like Senator Rubio, who is also a proud American of Hispanic descent, is offensive and unacceptable. The lack of journalistic integrity demonstrated by Univision Television Network must be met with consequences from our party and our Republican leaders."

The Herald reported Sunday staffers from Rubio's office and the network said Lee offered to soften or kill the story about the 1987 drug bust of Rubio's brother-in-law if Rubio would appear on the network's show Al Punto, during which the newspaper said he'd likely be asked to defend his conservative position on immigration.

Rubio did not appear on Al Punto, and the story on his brother-in-law's drug bust aired July 11.

The Herald said Lee and other Univision officials could not be reached for comment on Monday's letter but last week denied reports about the offer to Rubio.

In a written statement on the drug bust story, Lee said "Univision covered the story in the same objective, fair manner we cover every significant story."

The three Florida Republican lawmakers also sent a separate letter to Univision's corporate offices, with copies to each of the nine Republican presidential campaigns calling for them to boycott a debate Univision reportedly wants to host at the University of Miami two days before the Jan. 31 Florida primary.

"Given the reprehensible nature of Univision Television Network's behavior, we are advising all of the Republican presidential candidates not to participate in Univision Television Network's planned debate on January 29th," the letter said.

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