Las Vegas Sun

October 20, 2014

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Univision: We stand by the story on Sandoval’s remarks, but there’s no audio

In the face of the firestorm created by its news director asserting gubernatorial hopeful Brian Sandoval said his kids don’t look Hispanic, the Spanish-language station is standing by the story put out by its news director in a column and one witnessed by several staffers. But I have learned more about the circumstances under which Sandoval made the remark and why, perhaps, Univision will not release the video (besides it being work product). The station, though, apparently is considering posting the video.

Here’s the update:

Sandoval made the remark to an anchor/reporter, with several witnesses from the station right there, as the cameraman was shooting background footage (B-roll) for the interview. I am told, however, there is no audio on the video. I was originally told by someone who saw the video that the remark was there -- and, technically it may be -- but it can't be heard. (Any good lip readers out there?!)

But the reporter who did the interview and several other staffers told the news director about the conversation shortly afterward, which explains how it appeared in her column for El Tiempo. It is that column where the remark first appeared – and its vitriolic (and inappropriate for a news executive) attack on Sandoval surely has caused fits for the Univision higher-ups. Indeed, the staffers and the reporter/anchor have been asked by higher-ups and all told the same or similar stories as to what Sandoval said.

So as I suspected, the remark appears to be an offhand comment offered in a more relaxed setting than the formal interview, perhaps accounting for Sandoval’s failure to remember it, as he has claimed. But even saying his kids would not be profiled under the Arizona law because of how they look is a very careless thing to say, reminiscent of his infamous offhand remark under questioning by the Review-Journal editorial board (during his run for attorney general) about defending a hypothetical state law forcing Jews to wear Stars of David. But just as that silly answer doesn’t make him anti-Semitic, nor does this one about his kids’ appearance make him ashamed of his Hispanic appearance.

But it does provide much fodder for a Rory Reid campaign that needed a game-changer. Whether this is it or not -- despite the explosion of Rory news releases and national attention - is quite another story. Sandoval clearly is uncomfortable with the illegal immigration issue and the focus on the Arizona law, so at the very least this can be used to motivate Hispanics to vote for Reid.

More on this in my Sunday column in the Sun.

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