by Javier Manjarres
The backlash to the Spanish-language television network Univision’s dumpster-diving non-news story about Senator Marco Rubio’s brother-in-law’s past drug history is continuing to have embarrassing repreccusions for its network brass. Congressman David Rivera, Florida House Majority Leader Carlos Lopez-Cantera, and Representative Eric Fresen have all denounced the Univision’s actions and have asked the Republican Presidential candidates to boycott the January 2012 debate hosted by Univision in Miami. Shortly after this ‘call to arms’, most of the Presidential candidates have pulled out of the debate. Read more here- Boycott Univision’s debate
The boycott is the backlash from Univision’s attempt to blackmail Senator Rubio, as the network offered to scuttle the story about his brother-in-law if he were to apprear on the popular Univision program ‘Al Punto’, hosted by Jorge Ramos. Read more-Univision’s War with Rubio…
Univision’s News Director Isaac Lee denied the claim that the network “softened or spiked” the story if Rubio had agreed to appear on ‘Al Punto.’
But now an unnamed industry insider tells the Shark Tank that Lee is nothing more than a “drama queen” and questions Lee’s honesty and ethics regarding the attempt to blackmail Rubio as well as his overall journalistic standards, or lack thereof-
“This was just Isaac throwing a temper tantrum because he didn’t get his way, he needs to remember that he is only a News Director, and nothing more.”
Apparently, Lee is famous for throwing fits if he doesn’t get his way. If Lee did blackmail Rubio simply because Rubio refused to be on the network, than his journalistic integrity is certainly in the dumpster the network originally took a dove in for the story.
This is not the first time Lee has been at the center of journalistic controversy. Back in 2001, Lee started Zoom Media Group which featured two magazines- Poder and Loft, both failed by 2005. It is said that Lee squandered several millions of dollars that investors had pumped into the venture, but he blamed the failure of the enterprise on the burst of the ‘dot.com bubble’ that had actually taken place several years earlier. In 2003, Loft magazine endured two payment and contractual lawsuits that were both settled out of court, and the magazine also had complaints from its freelance writers that were kept waiting months for their fees Read- NewTimes
Later in 2005, Lee founded Page One Media, and he acquired both Poder and Loft magazines and did a re-launch of Poder after it became the pet project of Televisa’s CEO Emilio Azcarraga who resuscitated the failed venture.
Investor.com penned an op-ed regarding Lee’s questionable actions in the Rubio-Univision scandal that was anything less than flattering for Univision’s News Director.
The article claimed that Lee’s web biography stated he took down two Colombian cabinet members for having ties to the Cali drug cartel when he was editor of Semana magazine 15 years ago. Word is that Lee sought sanctuary in the United States shortly after outing these two cabinet members.
The Colombian-born Lee seemed to be channeling the playbook of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, who famously offered his victims the choice of “plata o plomo”-silver or lead to force them to do his biding.
Lee knew that nothing takes down a politician like just the allegation of drugs.
Content is king, but distribution is King Kong,” Lee retweeted Sept. 20. If ratings could not be had by generating controversy with Rubio on the immigration show, then stirring up false controversy would follow.”-Read more-Investors.com
During the promotion of the controversial piece on Rubio, Univision used the subject line “ Rubio’s families ties to narco-trafficking,” and further promoted the article by using the Twitter hashtags #Rubio and #drugs.
If the allegations are true and Lee did in fact blackmail Senator Rubio as Univision’s whistle blowers contend, will Lee apologize or step down? And what will become of the Univision Presidential Debate scheduled for January? Univision stands to lose significant advertising revenue if the debate is cancelled, and its journalistic credibility may never be recovered unless it is either fully exonerated from the allegations or heads roll at the network.