Univision’s news judgment also deserves scrutiny. The relevance of a twenty-four-year-old story about the drug conviction of a relative with no connection to Rubio’s career or candidacy is debatable.

The public, particularly American Latinos, are the real losers. The presidential debate presumably would have addressed issues important to them. Instead, they got the kind of political journalism—myopic, insidery—that fuels the sense that the press and politicians are bound up in a feckless soap opera when they should be addressing the challenges we all face. At a time when the nation confronts a host of daunting problems, from a struggling economy to debilitating foreclosure rates, there surely were better uses of the journalistic talent in these two newsrooms.

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Erika Fry is a former assistant editor at CJR.