Donald Trump’s confrontation with Jorge Ramos at a press conference in Iowa earlier this week confirmed what we already knew about the two men. Romos, a news anchor at Univision and Fusion, can be aggressive with interview subjects and Trump can be rude to reporters. But coverage of the event revealed what many have never acknowledged: a schism between the worldviews of Latino press and their non-Hispanic colleagues. Journalists of all stripes reported the same basic facts: Ramos asked questions about his immigration policies without being called on. Trump allowed* Ramos to be ejected, and later allowed him to be let back in.

Emmy-winning NPR journalist María Hinojosa spoke for more Latino reporters that just herself when she criticized the mainstream media’s treatment of the Ramos-Trump feud on MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes. She cited ethnic hypocrisy over the response and highlighted the phrase that Trump used to evade Ramos’ questions, right before the Latino journalist was ejected: “go back to Univision.” Hays, who is a non-Latino caucasian journalist, acknowledged a “culture gap” in a “media that is not dominated by Latinos.” He also recognized that journalists normally stick by each other through thick and thin.  

“You would kind of expect journalists to close ranks around a fellow reporter who was thrown out,” Hays said.

“I appreciate what you said Chris, which is that you’re trying to understand the culture gap,” Hinojosa responded. “There is a culture gap. Latinos are not present in the mainstream media, and to that statement Trump made which -- was ‘go back to Univisión ,’ or ‘go back to Univision,’ -- for Latinos, as I’m hearing in my reporting, that’s hate speak. And that actually opens the door for people to say that to me because I was born in Mexico.”

For Latino journalists and many millions of Spanish-language TV viewers, Jorge Ramos is not just a “reporter.” He is one of the leading voices in the Latino media and symbol of a generation of progress by ethnic minorities trying to break into mainstream news. He is “the Latino Walter Cronkite .” (A comparison made more apt by the Anglo journalist’s outspoken attitude to some controversial issues ). Hinojosa questioned how mainstream media figures might have reacted if Jorge Ramos had been an African-American or a non-Latino white.

“What’s distressing to me --- and it saddens me to have to say this -- but if we were to change the scenario and [NBC news anchor] Lester Holt or esteemed New York Times columnist Charles Blow were asking a question and that security guard took on those esteemed African-American journalists the way that Jorge Ramos was taken on, I would like to see what the reaction would be then. What if it was Katie Couric [...] asking a question about Trump’s positions on women, that some people believe are sexist?”

Charles Blow himself devoted a column to Trump following Ramos’ ejection titled “ Enough is Enough .” He vowed boycott Trump, saying that the majority of the candidate’s actions were not newsworthy and that the mainstream media were complicit in Trump’s actions at the conference.

“A member of the media who dared to raise a truly substantive issue, even out of turn, was dismissed and removed. And yet the band played on. The live coverage continued. In that moment, I was disgusted at Trump’s contempt and the press’s complicity in the shallow farce that is his candidacy. Trump is addicted to press, but the press is also addicted to him, and the entire spectacle is wide and shallow,” Blow wrote.

Hopefully, Blow and Hinojosa’s comments will help explain why criticisms of Jorge Ramos fell flat for Latino journalists. They came across as xenophobic, routinely downplayed Ramos’ stature in the media and the fact that he is a U.S. citizen.

"I think Ramos acted like an illegal alien and got treated like one," Fox Host Jesse Watters said , in an analysis that read eerily similar to those of white-supremacist websites. "He cut the line, was disruptive, and then was deported and then Trump let him back in. Isn’t that his policy?"

“I understand that for Ramos, a legal Mexican immigrant, this is a very personal issue. But there's a difference between being tough and just being rude,” Fox News contributor Howard Kurtz wrote in an article titled Why Jorge Ramos Crossed The Line In Confronting Donald Trump .

“This is a very big moment for [Ramos]. This is his 15 minutes of fame. And you can be shocked and stunned and deeply saddened at [Trump’s] immigration policy, but if I’m holding a press conference and you saw a guy trying to get his 15 minutes of fame the night before, you know, and pretending he was Walter Cronkite [...],” MSNBC Joe Scarborough said on his program , Morning Joe, chastising Ramos for speaking out of turn.

You don’t have to be born in Mexico to understand how wrong Scarborough was to accuse Ramos of seeking attention, or care about immigration to understand why Trump the Fox News comments are offense. You don’t even have to know how unimportant Scarborough is compared to Ramos.

Take political correspondent Kasie Hunt, who is credited for challenging Trump at the Iowa conference and getting Ramos back in the room.

“The reality was that it felt very much like the forced removal of a journalist,” Hunt said.

How do we explain why “deporting” Ramos from the newsroom was a big deal, especially to people outside of journalism and outside of the Latino sphere? We’ve put up videos of the press conference, and of Ramos latter shredding Trump’s position. But the best way to understand what happened in that room is to listen to something that Hinojosa weeks before the Iowa event. You can watch her full Ted Talk below.

“As a little girl, I understood the importance of journalism and reporting and media, but I never saw myself there [...] My stories didn’t appear. We were invisible. I was invisible from the media narrative. No one in the reporting that I saw looked like me [and] looked like my family, so I began to think that maybe somehow my life -- my story -- was less valuable. Less important,” she says in the Ted Talk .

On Chris Hays’ program, Hinojosa concluded her criticisms of Trump with some consejos .

“There is a saying in Spanish ‘te sale el tiro por la culata,’ which means that things backfire on you.”

 

*Trump said at the time that he didn’t throw Ramos out and even the National Association Of Hispanic Journalists gave him the benefit of the doubt when looking at the live footage. It’s pretty clear , however, that Trump did throw him out when you look at other camera angles.