Yesterday, we encouraged Univision not to air ads put out by a GOP front group, Latinos for Reform, telling Latinos not to vote. According to Ben Smith at Politico, Latinos for Reform president Robert de Posada had already purchased an $80,000 ad spot from the network. Later, we reported that Univision informed us that it would “not be running any spots from Latinos for Reform related to voting.” However, it appears de Posada is not willing to go down quietly. The Associated Press reports:
Robert de Posada, the founder of Latinos for Reform, said he is trying to determine whether he can legally challenge Univision, which approved the commercials Friday.
“It is a very sad moment where you cannot have discourse in the Spanish market,” he said. “Obviously, my First Amendment rights have been violated.”
Obviously, de Posada is delusional. The First Amendment says “Congress shall make no law…prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech.” It doesn’t take a constitutional lawyer to figure out that there’s a difference between the government regulating freedom of expression and Univision telling de Posada to take back his $80,000 ad spot and freely air his views somewhere else. If anything, the network is exercising its freedom of speech by not airing an ad that fundamentally compromises the best interests of its viewers.
Networks turn down ads all the time. Sometimes, we don’t like it. Other times, we do. But most of the time, the arguments for or against a decision not to run an ad don’t have anything to do with the First Amendment.
De Posada has also said he is filing an FEC complaint against Univision. “They had the script five days before, they read it,” he said. “They approved it. They ran it. For them to say that they didn’t know what the message was is completely absurd.” I happen to think it was absurd they even agreed to air it in the first place, but they certainly didn’t violate de Posada’s constitutional rights when they changed their minds.