Jorge Ramos, President Obama, and Credibility

By Jerry Kammer and Jerry Kammer on August 1, 2011

In his syndicated column last week, Univision anchorman Jorge Ramos wrote about the fundamental importance of credibility in journalism. Credibility, he said, is a journalist's job: "If a journalist can't be believed, his work isn't worth anything."

Ramos's concern for professional ethics and truth-telling adds a touch of irony to his claim – made on the air and in another column – that President Obama has broken a promise to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, aka NALEO.

"When (Obama) was a candidate in 2008, he attended the NALEO conference and promised that if he won he would return as president to their annual reunion," Ramos wrote in a column early last month. He added that since that time, the president has not accepted three invitations to speak to NALEO.

"The White House said in a statement that the president cannot attend all the conferences that he would like to attend," Ramos noted. Then he added, "But if he promised to go to NALEO's annual conference as president, he has to follow through, and up until now, he has not followed through. Promise broken."

But there is a fundamental flaw in Ramos's accusation of presidential bad faith. It is not credible. Obama made no such promise. What he said was, "I look forward to" speaking to the group as president. Ramos's own Sunday morning talk show, "Al Punto", recently ran a clip of the president's statement.

To express an interest in returning is one thing. To promise to return is something quite different.

If a journalist is going to accuse the President of the United States of bad faith, he should get his facts straight. Particularly when that journalist is a prominent network news anchor who emphasizes the essential importance of credibility in journalism. In falsely accusing the president of breaking a promise, Jorge Ramos failed to do his job.