NPR rushed out of the gate on Friday afternoon to defend President Obama's announcement to "lift the shadow of deportation" from young illegal immigrants. Correspondent Frank James spun the policy change as Obama getting to "the stage in his presidency, like so many of his predecessors, where his frustration with congressional inaction has led him to act unilaterally."
James cited several apparent historical precedents, including "President Harry S. Truman's racial integration of the military by executive order," and Thomas Jefferson making the Louisiana Purchase. He also labeled Republican Congressman Steve King an "immigration hard-liner" for his criticism of the President's move.
The correspondent's article, "With DREAM Order, Obama Did What Presidents Do: Act With Congress," appeared on NPR.org not even two hours after Obama's press conference. Three paragraphs in, the journalist gave his "frustration with congressional action" line, and continued with two block quotes from William Howell of the University of Chicago, who explained that "immigration is another one of these policies where Congress is effectively stuck....I think in this sort of policy area, this is going to be the wave of the future. [Presidents are] going to say, these are small incremental moves but they're going to do it on their own."
James quoted from Howell again towards the end of his item, who added that "you would expect Republicans to scream and holler about an abuse of executive authority when the president does this in the same way the Democrats were doing that when Bush was in office. At it's base, this is about partisan politics that assumes the language of concerns about the Constitution. But what's driving people to speak out, really, is just opposition to the policies themselves."
The NPR correspondent then went into his historical examples:
And some of those policies are the stuff of history books, whether it was Obama's immediate predecessor signing an executive order authorizing warrantless surveillance by the National Security Agency following Sept. 11 or, going back decades earlier, President Harry S. Truman's racial integration of the military by executive order. President Abraham Lincoln used his executive power to sign the Emancipation Proclamation while President Thomas Jefferson used his to make the Louisiana Purchase. And there were members of Congress who expressed outrage each and every time.
Earlier in the article, James used his slanted "immigration hard-liner" label about Rep. King, and continued that the Iowa Republican is "consistent in his opposition to federal immigration enforcement changes that lean toward more leniency; he opposed the reform efforts of President George W. Bush in 2006."
The NPR journalist has a record of defending President Obama. In September 2011, James bizarrely likened the Democrat's push to get his "jobs bill" passed to Jesus appointing St. Peter to "feed my sheep." Earlier in 2012, he touted a Planned Parenthood-commissioned poll that found apparent majority support for the Obama administration's abortifacient/contraception mandate.