Univisión had no comment.
Both Artiles and Burgos were far more talkative on Wednesday. After Artiles called Rubio a “loser,” Burgos responded with an attack on Obama.
“While you may be content with mediocrity under this President, I am not,” Burgos wrote. “And fortunately neither are patriots like Marco Rubio who have opportunities like next Tuesday night to offer an alternative way forward. I am proud to work for him and actually feel sorry for you for writing this.”
Artiles shot back: “Patriot? LOL Alex Burgos.”
She then used a diminutive term for Rubio’s first name, “Marquito,” and proceeded to compare him to a Disney dwarf, a “token slave boy” and a “fool” who was passed over by Republican Mitt Romney on his presidential ticket last November.
Burgos stopped responding, but others took up Rubio’s cause and attacked Artiles for being a “troll,” Internet slang for someone who posts inflammatory statements to gin up responses. The conversation went back and forth in English and Spanish.
“I see that all the mojoncitos [‘little turds’] have come out to defend the principal turd, Marquito,” she wrote in Spanish. “I am laughing all the way to the White House :).”
Carlos Curbelo, a Republican Miami-Dade School Board member, joined the fray. Curbelo said he didn’t realize Angelica worked for Univisión until the day after the fact, when he confirmed her employment.
“ Qué chusmería,” Curbelo wrote Wednesday night, which roughly translates to something like “what riffraff.”
Artiles: “Curbelo, the riffraff might be you. I haven’t said anything ‘riffraffy.’ Wake up and join the Democratic Party unless you want to remain losers all your lives.”
Curbelo: “I think it’s riffraff to call ‘losers’ people who disagree with you on political matters. Your tone is deplorable and it’s that same tone that keeps our elected officials from agreeing to take on great challenges that threaten the viability of our country. Lastly, even more riffraff is the use of the word ‘little turds’ to refer to professionals and parents who are expressing their opinions.”
Artiles: “Curbelo, losers are the ones who lost the elections, this is what is called freedom of expression. We are all professionals and being parents is nothing out of this world, nor because of that does one stop being a little turd. And Marquito only wants to talk about immigration NOW because he lost. I know well all his lies and his vanity.”
The exchange underscores the passion that Rubio and the issue of immigration provoke both outside Univisión and inside its newsroom. It also heightens conservative concerns that the network, the most-watched by Spanish-language viewers in North America, tilts its coverage in favor of Democratic-leaning immigration policy.
Some Republicans have complained that Univisión’s recent treatment of Democratic New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez — a liberal immigration reform leader under FBI investigation — has been far kinder than the network’s interview of Rubio last year. Rubio and Menendez have joined forces to fashion a bipartisan immigration-reform plan.
After tussling with Univisión in 2011, Rubio finally granted the interview with Univisión’s Jorge Ramos, who has crusaded for the pro-immigrant DREAM Act that Rubio opposes.
Rubio had rebuffed Ramos numerous times before that, only to face the story about his brother-in-law’s drug bust and the clash with Lee, the Univisión news chief.
In the New Yorker piece, Lee acknowledged the network covers immigration with a bias.
“According to Univisión’s news president, Isaac Lee, the network is openly committed to ‘pro-Hispanic’ immigration reform,” the New Yorker wrote.
The owner of Univisión, major Democratic donor Haim Saban, was more partisan than Lee and fumed in an email to the New Yorker over the way that the GOP presidential candidates boycotted a proposed Florida debate in January in retaliation for the network’s report on Rubio and his brother-in-law.
Said Saban: “The fact that Rubio and some Republican presidential candidates have an anti-Hispanic stand that they don’t want to share with our community is understandable but despicable.”
For Republicans like Curbelo, the comments undercut the work of many good reporters.
“I was shocked to learn this was a Univisión Network employee,” Curbelo told The Herald. “This again points to an unfortunate anti-Rubio, anti-Republican culture at Univisión which threatens the network’s credibility.”
Miami Herald staff writer Patricia Mazzei contributed to this report.