MIAMI (CBSMiami.com) - It's looking like the Republican Party has declared war on the Univision network.
The latest blow to the network's planned GOP debate is that five of the candidates, including the two front-runners, have all refused to appear at the debate over a controversy involving GOP Senator Marco Rubio.
A report over the weekend said that Univision tried to strong-arm Senator Rubio into an interview and if he didn't agree; the network would then air an embarrassing story about Rubio's brother-in-law.
Univision called the claims "absurd," according to CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald.
Throughout the day Tuesday, nearly all of the Republicans in the presidential race declined to participate in the debate scheduled for January 29.
Those refusing to appear included: Texas Governor Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, and former Utah governor Jon Huntsman.
The candidates have since engaged in a similar quid-pro-quo with Univision by refusing to appear until the network "takes action to correct it," according to Perry communications director Ray Sullivan.
Perry's camp also said that with an NBC/Telemundo debate scheduled for the same weekend, they would "have ample opportunity to engage with Spanish-speaking Americans," according to the Herald.
It's the latest move by members of both parties trying to dictate to the media who they will be allowed to hear from. Republicans have long loathed NBC/MSNBC for perceived bias as have Democrats loathed Fox News for perceived bias.
But, tangling with the most powerful Spanish language mediacompany in the United States as the candidates seek to tap into the rapidly growing Hispanic population may backfire on the GOP.
(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Miami Herald contributed to this report.)