NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Persuading Hispanics to vote for candidates such as Sharon Angle, Nevada's anti-immigration candidate for the U.S. Senate, seemed an impossible task, so conservative group Latinos for Reform opted instead for an ad campaign urging Latinos not to exercise their right to vote in November.
Latinos for Reform frontman Robert De Posada bragged to Politico that Spanish-language network Univision was being paid $80,000 to run the ads starting this week. After a firestorm of protests, Univision realized the TV and radio campaign wouldn't jibe with its own public-service campaign "Ya Es Hora," which is all about persuading Latinos to vote. Univision hastily pulled the ad schedule, although the don't-vote radio spot aired five times in Las Vegas before Univision shut the campaign down and distanced itself from Mr. De Posada, one of the network's own commentators.
An unhappy Mr. De Posada claimed Univision was pressured by Democrats and surprised Univision by describing himself as "an on-air analyst on the [Univision] network for 16 years" and telling the AP, "Obviously, my First Amendment rights have been violated."
"Univision will not be running any spots from Latinos for Reform related to voting," said a Univision spokesperson. "It is also important to clarify that, while Mr. Robert De Posada has on occasion provided political commentary on Univision, representing one of various points of views, he is not in any way affiliated with Univision. Univision prides itself on promoting civic engagement, and our extensive national campaigns encourage Hispanics to vote."
Mr. De Posada also went out of his way to insult the No. 2 Spanish-language network, NBC Universal-owned Telemundo, by saying that now he doesn't know where to air his ads because Univision is like a monopoly.
A spokesperson at Telemundo, which likes to encourage Hispanics to vote, said the network wouldn't have run his ads anyway. Instead, it's booked Mr. De Posada on its public affairs program "Enfoque" this weekend to be grilled on why he wants to discourage Hispanics from voting.
The TV spots, which tell Hispanics that Democrats have betrayed "us" by not passing a new immigration law and they should get even by not voting, can be seen on YouTube in English and Spanish versions.