New York Times reporter Jackie Calmes was with the president in El Paso, Texas, inspiring Latino voters for his 2012 reelection by pushing Congress to hack a "path to citizenship for illegal immigrants." It’s a long shot in a Republican-controlled Congress, on an issue Obama did not press when the Democrats had big majorities in the House and Senate, but those points were buried in her 1,100-word story Wednesday, "In Border City Talk, Obama Urges G.O.P. to Help Overhaul Immigration Law."
President Obama came to this border city on Tuesday to argue that he is doing his part to crack down on illegal immigration, and that Republicans must now join him in overhauling the nation’s immigration laws for the millions of workers already here illegally.
Pedro Ramirez knows his “future depends on” President Barack Obama’s success in passing “immigration reform,” specifically the “Dream Act,” CBS’s John Blackstone asserted in a Tuesday night story which corroborated the need for Obama’s quest by holding up Ramirez as an innocent victim.
“He is student body president at California State University at Fresno where he'll graduate this month following years of accomplishment,” Blackstone heralded, “until his parents admitted to him they've been living here illegally since he was three years old. Last year he joined other young undocumented immigrants pushing for passage of the Dream Act. It would award legal residency to children brought to America before they were 16 as long as they graduate from high school and go on to college or the military.”
Linking Ramirez’s plight to Obama’s policy solution, Blackstone asserted: “On the Texas border today, the President called for those who want immigration reform to help push an entrenched Congress.”
NPR's Mara Liasson noticeably left out anti-illegal immigration conservatives on Tuesday's Morning Edition as she reported on President's Obama's latest push for "comprehensive" immigration reform. Liasson only played clips from the President, Democrat Rep. Luis Gutierrez, and Republican consultant Marty Wilson, who claimed that "the hardline approach on immigration...is not going to work."
Host Steve Inskeep introduced the correspondent's report by noting the President's forthcoming speech later in the day outlining his "principles for an immigration overhaul." He continued by recalling how "President Bush's immigration efforts encountered opposition from his own party, and many Republicans are also likely to resist President Obama's efforts."
Instead of turning to those who would be part of such a resistance, Liasson quickly turned to an excerpt from Obama's recent commencement address at Miami Dade College, where he proclaimed, "I strongly believe we should fix our broken immigration system...and I want to work with Democrats and Republicans, yes, to protect our borders and enforce our laws, and address the status of millions of undocumented workers."
The April 29 wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton has the media world abuzz as the couple prepares to walk down the aisle this week. Although the affair is more than 3,000 miles away and focuses on the royalty of a foreign nation, the U.S. media is giving the wedding overwhelming coverage.
"A lot more Americans are going to learn to speak Spanish, and I think that's a fine thing."
So said Newsweek's Eleanor Clift Friday in the middle of a "McLaughlin Group" program devoted in its entirety to looking at how America is responding to a growing Hispanic population as well as an ongoing economic expansion in Latin America (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Thursday's All Things Considered, NPR's Robert Siegel used violent imagery to underline the supposed extreme nature of Arizona's SB 1070 law targeting illegal immigration: "It has been of one year since the state legislature dropped a bomb into the national debate over immigration."
Siegel led the introduction for correspondent Ted Robbins's report on the controversial law with his explosive phrase. He continued that "the get-tough bill, known as SB 1070, was later signed into law by Governor Jan Brewer." After playing a clip from Governor Brewer, the host noted that "some of SB 1070's key components are on hold, but supporters call it a success, and opponents say it has been a disaster for Arizona's image and economy. Either way, NPR's Ted Robbins says it has changed the state."
Last Friday the Maryland House of Delegates passed a bill granting in-state tuition to illegal immigrants. The bill had already cleared the state senate and Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) has said he will sign the bill.
Today's Baltimore Sun devoted sympathetic front-page coverage to illegal immigrants who now "celebrate the approval of in-state tuition for Maryland students regardless of immigration status."
"I want to be a part," blared the front-page headline to Nick Madigan's A-1 story. Below the headline is a picture of "Missael, an illegal immigrant from Mexico who lives in East Baltimore."
NPR's Wade Goodwyn noticeably minimized the presence of anti-illegal immigration conservatives from Texas on Tuesday's All Things Considered. Goodwyn tilted towards so-called "welcoming" and "tolerant" Republicans in the state by a three to one margin, and gushed over the "thousands of illegal immigrants building neighborhoods" during the "Hispanic-friendly" term of then-Governor George W. Bush.
Host Michelle Norris set the biased tone in her introduction for the correspondent's report: "In Texas, the Republican Party is changing tack on illegal immigration. The relatively welcoming, tolerant attitude embraced by George W. Bush when he was governor is waning. It's been overtaken by a flood of Arizona-style get-tough measures. Nearly 100 immigration bills have been written or filed in the current legislative session."
Goodwyn trumpeted how "Texas is now more than ever in the nation's conservative vanguard, and among its most conservative leaders is House Representative Leo Berman from northeast Texas, around Tyler." He continued by acting as if distance from the border mattered in the illegal immigration debate: "Though Berman's district is about as far from the Mexican border as you can get and still be in Texas, he's leading the charge on immigration."
After a decade of playing one on television, I, along with my brother Aaron, was blessed a few months ago to become a real Texas Ranger in the presence of Gov. Rick Perry, fellow Texas Rangers and many others.
Perry mentioned at that induction: "As the drug cartels have turned up the heat on the other side of that border over the past few years, we have invested significant state resources to secure our border, looking to local police departments, county sheriffs, game wardens and even Texas Military Forces. However, when it was time to take the fight to the bad guys, there was only one choice to lead our efforts, so we formed our Ranger recon teams. It is reassuring to know that our Rangers are on the job, especially in light of ongoing reports of deteriorating conditions, with kidnappings, assassinations and terroristic acts just miles from Texas communities."
On Friday's Morning Edition, NPR's Mara Liasson conspicuously excluded conservatives who are opposed to "comprehensive" immigration reform proposals, such as those forwarded by former President George W. Bush, during a report on Utah's new and "milder" immigration law. Liasson emphasized the state's "conservative politics," but couldn't find any conservatives who opposed the law.
Host Renee Montagne introduced the correspondent's report by highlighting how "Arizona's tough immigration law has received extensive coverage, and there's been a lot of talk about similar measures in other states. Yet, one of Arizona's neighbors, also known for its conservative politics, has taken a very different approach." Liasson set up her report by underscoring Utah's conservative credentials: "If you were to choose a state that would allow illegal immigrants to come out of the shadows, work and drive without fear of deportation, you probably wouldn't pick Utah."
Thursday’s National section of The New York Times led with “Arizona Lawmakers Push New Round of Immigration Restrictions.” Phoenix Bureau Chief Marc Lacey did not sound pleased with the prospect, pitting unidentified opponents against "immigration hardliners." Never mind that the proposals would target illegal immigration, not legal immigration.
Illegal immigrants would be barred from driving in the state, enrolling in school or receiving most public benefits. Their children would receive special birth certificates that would make clear that the state does not consider them Arizona citizens.
The National section of Thursday's New York Times led with “Arizona Lawmakers Push New Round of Immigration Restrictions.” Phoenix Bureau Chief Marc Lacey did not sound pleased with the prospect, pitting unidentified opponents of the proposals against "immigration hardliners." Never mind that the proposals would target illegal immigration, not legal.
Illegal immigrants would be barred from driving in the state, enrolling in school or receiving most public benefits. Their children would receive special birth certificates that would make clear that the state does not consider them Arizona citizens.
Some of the bills, like those restricting immigrants’ access to schooling and right to state citizenship, flout current federal law and are being put forward to draw legal challenges in hopes that the Supreme Court might rule in the state’s favor.
Arizona drew considerable scorn last year when it passed legislation compelling police officers to inquire about the immigration status of those they stopped whom they suspected were in the country illegally. Critics said the law would lead to racial profiling of Latinos, and a federal judge agreed that portions of the law, known as Senate Bill 1070, were unconstitutional.
MSNBC's Chris Jansing, referencing a report by the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) on "active U.S. hate groups," asked Wednesday if the rise of radical right-wing groups coincided with the motives behind Jared Loughner's assassination attempt on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.).
When asked about the "hate groups" report, guest Mark Potok of the SPLC immediately pointed to the rise of "radical right-wing groups" and attributed the rise to "resentment over the changing racial demographics," "frustration over the lagging economy," and "mainstreaming of conspiracy theories."
"The economy since the fall of 2008, of course, has really played into this in terms of unemployment, anger with the bailouts, and so on," added Potok. "It's really ginned-up anti-government feeling, in many ways."
CNN devoted three and a half minutes of coverage on Monday's Newsroom to a protest by "two dozen, maybe three dozen" people who were against two proposed laws targeting illegal immigration in Arizona. The network showed live and taped footage of this liberal protest. By contrast, CNN spent a mere 11 seconds to the March for Life in January and showed no footage from the pro-life demonstration.
Anchor Brooke Baldwin led the 3 pm Eastern hour with the pro-illegal immigration rally:
BALDWIN: There is a new front opening up in the immigration battle. Where else would this be happening? Arizona. At this hour, children and their parents- I'm talking also itty-bitty babies there being carried- they're marching on the Capitol complex building in Phoenix, just as the state Senate considers another proposed crackdown. So, here's what you need to know: there's this new bill that would essentially deny American citizenship to any child born on U.S. soil if their parents came here illegally.
ABC and reporter John Quinones on Thursday stretched the bounds of journalism, hiring an actor to play a racist security guard as a way of testing how the people of Arizona would react to the state's "anti-immigration law."
Previewing the network's "What Would You Do?" segment for Friday's Primetime Live, Quinones explained the undercover concept: "So, I go undercover, pretending to be someone who is about to be arrested and deported, simply by the way I look."
The piece featured a cartoonish "security guard" harassing Mexican actors in Tucson, Arizona. Presumably, ABC chose a security guard because impersonating a police officer is illegal. The actor walked into a restaurant and spewed, "I'm just looking to make sure these guys are legal citizens. And if they're not legal citizens, they shouldn't be here. They should be deported. They look Mexican."
Of course, having this man pretend to be a security guard really makes no sense. (A security guard is going to deport people?) Secondly, for journalists that often attack conservative sting operations, it's rather odd to see ABC manipulate such a scenario.
As he hosted a special two-hour edition of Countdown on Saturday night to cover the violent attack on Democratic Representative Gabrielle Giffords, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann ended up delivering a "Special Comment" in which he called for an end to the use of violent imagery by political figures of all ideologies, even apologizing for his own history, but he also at one point seemed to describe Sarah Palin and other conservative public figures as "slightly less madmen" than the gunman who attacked Giffords. Olbermann:
We will not because tonight what Mrs. Palin and what Mr. Kelly and what Congressman West and what Ms. Angle and what Mr. Beck and what Mr. O'Reilly and what you and I must understand was that the man who fired today did not fire at a Democratic Congresswoman and her supporters. He was not just a madman incited by 1,000 daily temptations by slightly less madmen to do things they would not rationally condone.
Although the MSNBC host only provided one example of his own past misdeeds - which involved a comment he made about Hillary Clinton in April 2008 - Olbermann’s own history also includes a June 2006 case in which he depicted an image of conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh as a target of gunfire, and in October 2008 when he showed a cartoon image of FNC’s Bill O’Reilly being beaten bloody by the Stewie Griffin character from a Family Guy DVD extra scene. And just in November of last year, Olbermann complained that President Obama would likely negotiate with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell over tax policy "instead of kicking him in the ass."
A brief January 1 item from the Associated Press's Barry Massey on the inauguration of Susana Martinez ("Martinez becomes NM gov as new year starts") began as follows:
Republican Susana Martinez has claimed her place in history as New Mexico's first female governor, taking office with the start of the new year.
If it weren't for the "place in history" part, I might have blown right by it without hesitation. But speaking of a "place in history," especially at a wire service that sometimes seems overly obsessed with race and racial milestones, it's more than a little odd that the AP dispatch failed to note what the AP's Jesse Washington reported on Election Night in November:
Minorities ride GOP wave to groundbreaking wins The Republican wave produced groundbreaking results for minority candidates, from Latina and Indian-American governors to a pair of black congressmen from the Deep South.
Ending Sunday's "Face the Nation" in poetic fashion, CBS's Bob Schieffer gave a year-end commentary where he portrayed John Boehner as the flustered "orange-faced" leader of a divided House GOP. Schieffer also snidely criticized the Arizona immigration law.
"His face was bright orange, a sun-tan hall-of-famer. / I knew in a flash – it must be John Boehner," spoke Schieffer, painting the soon-to-be Majority Leader as the head of a herd of reindeer, the House Republicans. "He hollered, cajoled, oh how he did plead, / But the deer wouldn't listen, each wanted to lead."
Composing his end-of-show commentary to verse, Schieffer summarized the 2010 political scene and provided some insight of his own as to how the next two years in Washington will unfold. Though Democrats met a bitter fate this November, Schieffer implied a possible downfall for the GOP with a split between Tea Partiers and incumbent Republicans.
Appearing as a panel member on Sunday’s syndicated Chris Matthews Show, Time columnist Joe Klein predicted that the Tea Party will be the "biggest losers" next year after he agreed with MSNBC’s Howard Fineman that the conservative movement represented the "biggest winners" this year. Klein: "I'm going to go with the Tea Party, with the caveat that even though they were the biggest winners of this year because they set the debate, they're going to be the biggest losers of next year because they're going to have to vote."
A bit earlier, after Fineman accused Nevada Republican Senate nominee Sharron Angle of running a "frankly racist ad about immigration against Hispanics," and alluded to the Republican Party’s challenge of winning Hispanic voters in the future, Klein predicted that opponents of the Dream Act would "suffer" as he chimed in: "I'm going to go with the Tea Party, with the caveat that even though they were the biggest winners of this year because they set the debate, they're going to be the biggest losers of next year because they're going to have to vote."
Condemning everyday Americans as racist, anti-immigrant Islamophobes was a favorite media theme in 2010, as documented by the Media Research Center's year-end Best Notable Quotables of 2010. Polls showed most Americans supported Arizona's effort to curb illegal immigration and opposed building an Islamic center near the site of the destroyed World Trade Center towers — but on both scores the media elite stacked their coverage against the public.
Winning the "Hazing Arizona Award for Denigrating Immigration Enforcement" was longtime New York Times Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse, who summoned images of resistance to Nazi occupation in an April 27 op-ed hoping for protests of the "police state" she claimed Arizona had become for trying to protect itself from illegal immigration.
On Friday’s Inside Washington on PBS, during a discussion of President Obama’s failure to secure passage of the Dream Act in the Senate, after panel member Evan Thomas of Newsweek asserted that "stupid politics" was behind the bill’s defeat, host Gordon Peterson brought up a quip by humorist Jimmy Tingle that "if they all looked like Norwegians, there’d be no problem."
After introducing the segment with a clip of President Obama speaking favorably of the proposed law that would allow the children of illegal immigrants to obtain legal status and eventual citizenship if they go to college or into the military, host Peterson asked, "Why would you vote against that, Evan?"
Thomas blamed "stupid politics" and complained that the proposal is being "held hostage" by those who want to secure the border first. Thomas: "Stupid politics. I mean, there’s got to be immigration reform. It just hangs over all the head of this. We’ve got to reform, this is a small attempt to cure a small but real problem. But what hangs over it is the need to do a larger reform of the immigration system. We got to find some way to get better control of our borders, we do-"
Peterson interrupted to note that South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham had voiced an unwillingness to vote for "anything until the borders are secure," prompting Thomas to add, "But it’s held hostage."
After the Newsweek columnist recounted the country’s need for more immigrants who are highly skilled, Peterson brought up the Jimmy Tingle comment about Norwegians as he turned to liberal columnist and panel member Mark Shields. Peterson: "Jimmy Tingle said if they all looked like Norwegians, there’d be no problem, Mark."
Appearing on Thursday’s Good Morning America to discuss the recent legislative activity in Congress, ABC’s Cokie Roberts managed to avoid using the word "illegal" as she recounted the failure by Senate Democrats to pass the Dream Act to provide a mechanism for the children of illegal immigrants to obtain citizenship. Framing the Senate vote as a "disappointment" for Obama, she went on to contend that the loss "certainly bodes badly for immigration."
After agreeing with host George Stephanopoulos that President Obama should be "pretty pleased" by the "incredible" lame duck session, she continued:
The disappointment, as [President Obama] said yesterday, was the Dream Act, that piece of legislation for immigrant children who have come to this country, not by their own volition, but allowing them to go to school and the military as a path to citizenship. That failed, which certainly bodes badly for immigration, in general, because that was considered the easy one.
As she and Stephanopoulos discussed the likely difficulty of President Obama and Congress reaching a budget agreement next year, Roberts also referred to cutting taxes as "giving something away." She then seemed to convey some wishful thinking as she suggested that Republicans may decide not to be "obstructionist" if voters lavish praise on recent bipartisan "cooperation":
“There weren’t a lot of hard questions in this news conference,” FNC’s Bret Baier observed on Special Report in the understatement of the night. Indeed, in the first question posed at the late Wednesday afternoon session, Caren Bohan of Reuters reflected the collective glow of the White House press corp basking in Barack Obama’s glory:
You racked up a lot of wins in the last few weeks that a lot of people thought would be difficult to come by. Are you ready to call yourself the “comeback kid”?
(Katie Couric gushed on the CBS Evening News over how “the President isn’t calling himself the ‘comeback kid,’ but some other folks are.” A pleased George Stephanopoulos teased ABC’s World News by yearning for more Obama success in 2011: “The President takes a victory lap. How the Christmas season became what he called a ‘season of progress.’ Will it continue in the new year?”)
At the 4:15 PM EST press conference carried by the broadcast networks, ABC’s Jake Tapper Tapper offered his “congratulations” on the repeal of Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell as he hit Obama from the left on whether it “is it intellectually consistent to say that gay and lesbians should be able to fight and die for this country, but they should not be able to marry the people they love?” Audio compilation: (MP3 clip)
New York Times reporter Julia Preston’s “news analysis” on Sunday on the Senate defeat of legislation granting amnesty to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants, known as the Dream Act by supporters (“Immigration Vote Leaves Obama’s Policy in Disarray”) is a reversal of the emotion displayed in her previous celebratory coverage of even the puniest symbolic gatherings of pro-“Dream Act” protesters involving as few as four students.
Preston seemed anguished about what she called a “painful setback” to granting amnesty to perhaps hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrant students, suggesting it was a particular setback for Obama.
The vote by the Senate on Saturday to block a bill to grant legal status to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrant students was a painful setback to an emerging movement of immigrants and also appeared to leave the immigration policy of the Obama administration, which has supported the bill and the movement, in disarray.
The bill, known as the Dream Act, gained 55 votes in favor with 41 against, a tally short of the 60 votes needed to bring it to the floor for debate. Five Democrats broke ranks to vote against the bill, while only three Republicans voted for it. The defeat in the Senate came after the House of Representatives passed the bill last week.
Preston tried to minimize the reach of the "tailored" bill.
The result, although not unexpected, was still a rebuff to President Obama by newly empowered Republicans in Congress on an issue he has called one of his priorities. Supporters believed that the bill -- tailored to benefit only immigrants who were brought here illegally when they were children and hoped to attend college or enlist in the military -- was the easiest piece to pass out of a larger overhaul of immigration laws that Mr. Obama supports.
Appearing as a guest on Monday’s Countdown show on MSNBC, the Huffington Post’s Howard Fineman - also a political analyst with MSNBC - spoke favorably of the repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law, asserting that "this historic vote will be remembered as a very important one in the social history of the United States," and, as he admitted that independent Senator Joseph Lieberman "takes a lot of guff on this network," gave the former Democrat-turned independent Senator "credit where credit is due" for supporting the measure.
Fineman went on to predict that, because the Republican House next year will seek to undermine various pieces of legislation passed by Democrats - which he referred to as "historic" - that President Obama will be running against a "‘tear down’ Congress." Fineman:
The dynamic of the next two years is going to be to re-litigate and reargue all the legislation that Obama and the Democrats for the most part passed in the first two years. That means efforts to defund, to delegitimize, to get rid of, you know, all the historic legislation that was passed these first two years, and spending is going to be the way to do it. ... So it's not that Obama's going to be running against the "do nothing Congress." The President is going to be running against the sort of "tear down Congress"because that's going to be the mode of the next two years.
Fineman also notably used the term "progressive" - the preferred term of liberals - instead of the word "liberal" as he referred to the left wing of the Democratic party, and contended that Republicans "went pedal to the metal on the fear strategy on immigration" as he explained why the Dream Act failed to pass the Senate.
Chris Matthews called it "the quote of the night," so let's see how our NewsBusters readers respond. Here was Barney Frank, reacting to the assertion by a young Marine that they are a macho bunch whereas gays are "girlie":
"I will confess that I left my purse at home."
Later, MSNBC political analyst Michelle Bernard, in a stunning non sequitur, was incapable of understanding how John McCain could oppose DADT repeal while having some years ago apologized for initially opposing the creation of Martin Luther King Day. Huh? For good measure, Bernard called McCain "the male Palin" and accused the entire state of Arizona of being "anti-immigrant."
As ABC’s World News Sunday recounted President Obama’s failed effort to provide citizenship for immigrants who entered the country illegally as children if they go to college or enter the military, the issue was framed as conservatives standing in the way of the "dream" of such immigrants, and, as anchor Dan Harris introduced a report on the measure that failed in the Senate - dubbed the Dream Act by supporters - a graphic appeared beside Harris with the words "Dream Dies" because Republicans succeeded in blocking the bill’s passage.
Harris and correspondent Tahman Bradley both raised the possibility that Hispanic voters would punish Republicans by supporting Democrats in the next election. Harris introduced the piece:
The President was, we should say, dealt one significant defeat this weekend when Republicans blocked the so-called Dream Act, which would have provided a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who came here as kids brought by their parents. But could this legislative loss ultimately turn into a political win?
Bradley began his report highlighting the plight of Diego Alvarez, who entered the country illegally as a child, as Alvarez hoped that passage of the Dream Act would make it possible for him to go to college, with the ABC correspondent contending that his "dream" had been "deferred" because of the recent Senate vote. Bradley: "For Diego Alvarez of Marshall Town, Iowa, the Senate's vote means a dream deferred." Then came clips of Alvarez calling the vote "heartbreaking," and complaining that "it’s not right" that some believe he does not belong in the country.