Nets Celebrate May Day Pro-Illegal Immigrant Protests, Barely Mention Shot Deputy

“Angry backlash from coast to coast,” ABC’s David Muir teased Saturday’s World News, “huge rallies across this country tonight against that new controversial immigration law.” On CBS, Jeff Glor teased: “May Day Message. Immigrant right groups rally from coast to coast against Arizona's controversial new law.”

ABC reporter Eric Horng touted how “this is the fifth year in a row that nationwide immigration rallies have been held on May 1st, but this year emotions are particularly raw. They came by the thousands. A sea of demonstrators armed with a message.” He soon claimed “the state has been lampooned by comedians” and as evidence played the very same clip from the left wing Jon Stewart as had NBC’s Andrea Mitchell earlier in the week when she asserted Arizona had become “a laughing stock.”

From Phoenix, CBS’s Bill Whitaker began with how “the many citizens here say that if the politicians don't hear their voices today they might hear them at the ballot box a little louder in November,” but moments later in his story Whitaker showcased an admitted illegal:

Gerardo, who asked us to conceal his identity, crossed illegally from Mexico to Arizona four years ago. With the new law he knows there's a greater chance he’ll be arrested and deported...He has a daughter, a state job, a home which his an American born partner Jessica is packing up, fearing they might have to flee...So they joined the protest in Phoenix, fighting to overturn the law.

The guy has a “state job”? I guess if the state government won’t turn in their own illegal employee you can’t expect a journalist to alert authorities.

Not until deep in their stories did Horng and Whitaker mention the shooting of a deputy. Horng: “Just yesterday a sheriff's deputy was wounded during a gunfight in a well-known trafficking corridor for drugs and illegal immigrants.” Whitaker: “Pinal County deputy shot allegedly by a drug smuggler crossing illegally from Mexico.”

(The Kentucky Derby meant no NBC Nightly News for most of the country.)

Earlier:

- Friday night: “NBC Promotes May Day Anti-Arizona Protests While CBS Finally Notices Crime that Fueled New Law

- Thursday night: “CBS Trumpets Opposition to ‘Notorious’ Arizona Law from One Cop and Linda Ronstadt, Already Finds ‘Chilling Effect’”

- Wednesday night: “Couric Touts San Francisco as Proof of ‘Backlash Against Arizona's New Immigration Law’”

- Tuesday night: “ABC and NBC Champion ‘Growing National Backlash’ Against ‘Laughing Stock’ Arizona

- Monday night: “CBS Again Focuses on Victims in Arizona: ‘Many Feel the Sting of Racism in New Law’”

- Friday night, April 23: “CBS Frames Arizona’s Anti-Illegal Alien Law Through Eyes of Opponents: ‘Veto Racism’”

From Saturday night, May 1:

ABC’s World News:

DAVID MUIR: As we're on the air this evening, there are angry protests under way across this country all because of that tough new Arizona law that allows police to stop anyone suspected of being in this country illegally. Coast to coast there are hundreds of thousands of demonstrators, and Eric Horng is at ground zero tonight in Phoenix.

ERIC HORNG: Good evening, David. People started gathering here early outside the Arizona state capitol. They brought signs. Some of them have even brought their birth certificates to show their citizenship. This is the fifth year in a row that nationwide immigration rallies have been held on May 1st, but this year emotions are particularly raw. They came by the thousands. A sea of demonstrators armed with a message.

WOMAN: I live here in Arizona for ten years. And do I look illegal to you?

HORNG: In Washington, dozens were arrested near the White House after refusing orders to leave. In Chicago and Dallas, marchers shut down city streets. And in Los Angeles, a massive crowd filled downtown.

WOMAN: I'm out here for my parents and for my family, for my people.

HORNG: But it was here in Arizona where calls for immigration reform seemed the loudest. Last month the state passed a controversial law requiring local police to question suspected illegals and making harboring an undocumented immigrant a crime.

SHERIFF CLARENCE DUPNIK, PIMA COUNTY: It's stupid, and it's racist. From my point of view, it's a national embarrassment.

HORNG: Already, lawsuits have been filed challenging the law. Activists have called for a boycott of Arizona businesses and the state has been lampooned by comedians.

JON STEWART ON COMEDY CENTRAL: It's not unprecedented having to carry around your papers. It's the same thing that freed black people had to do in 1863.

HORNG: But supporters of the law aren't laughing, citing growing violence at the Arizona/Mexico border. Just yesterday a sheriff's deputy was wounded during a gunfight in a well-known trafficking corridor for drugs and illegal immigrants.

STATE REP JOHN KAVANAUGH (R): There's a lot of street crime and that keeps customers away. There's robberies, a lot of kidnapings that bring down property values in neighborhoods. On the border it's even worse.

HORNG: In fact, polls show a slim majority of Americans support the new law as other states consider similar measures. Despite this call for national immigration reform, many say legislation is unlikely this year now that bipartisan efforts in Congress have stalled. David?

CBS Evening News:
JEFF GLOR: Across the country today there are storms of protest over the tough new Arizona immigration laws. In dozens American cities, large and small, hundreds of thousands of protesters used May Day rallies to voice their anger at the legislation. Bill Whitaker was at a rally in Phoenix. Bill?

BILL WHITAKER: The many citizens here say that if the politicians don't hear their voices today they might hear them at the ballot box a little louder in November. They marched in Washington, DC. In Los Angeles, 100,000 protesters poured through city streets.

MAN: There has to be comprehensive immigration reform this year.

WHITAKER: Thousands more marched through downtown Dallas, snaked through Manhattan.

WOMAN: This country was founded on the backs of immigrants.

WHITAKER: In dozens of cities across the country this May Day, Latinos, immigrant activists, union members came out in force. Their cause, immigration reform. Fueling their passion, fierce opposition to Arizona’s tough new immigration law.

LOS ANGELES MAYOR ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA, AT PROTEST: We want change. We want reform, and we want it now!

WHITAKER: In Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger Mahoney, head of the country’s largest Catholic archdiocese, tended the flock.

CARDINAL ROGER MAHONEY: Any time you create an atmosphere of suspicion in society and actually encourage some people to turn other people in, that's not America. We don't do that.

WHITAKER: At the state capitol in Phoenix the week-long protest against the law was bigger today, the denunciations more intense. But here in Arizona, support for the new law is intense too. Polls show more than 60 percent of Arizonans want police to check for proof of citizenship when they encounter a suspect in a crime or violation. Why? Because of crimes like this. Pinal County deputy shot allegedly by a drug smuggler crossing illegally from Mexico.

SHERIFF PAUL BABEU, PINAL COUNTY: This has reached a critical mass for law enforcement and we've been calling out to our leaders in the state and at the national level that we need help.

WHITAKER: More people enter the U.S. illegally through Arizona then anyone else. Almost 700,000 arrested in the last two and-a-half years. Gerardo, who asked us to conceal his identity, crossed illegally from Mexico to Arizona four years ago. With the new law he knows there's a greater chance he’ll be arrested and deported.

GERARDO: I've got no papers, I've got different color.

WHITAKER: He has a daughter, a state job, a home which his an American born partner Jessica is packing up, fearing they might have to flee.

JESSICA: He cannot st stay here. It will be difficult for him to go to work, to go to the store, to even be with my daughter outside.

WHITAKER: So they joined the protest in Phoenix, fighting to overturn the law.

WHITAKER TO GERARDO: Do you think this will make a difference.

GERARDO: Yeah, I hope.

WHITAKER: Meanwhile, 17 suspects has been picked up in connection with the shooting of that sheriff’s deputy. He's recovering at home this evening, Jeff.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center