“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.
If you look at the description of yesterday afternoon's U.S. Senate Roll Call Vote Number 278 ("A bill to amend title 28, United States Code, to clarify and improve certain provisions relating to the removal of litigation against Federal officers or agencies to Federal courts, and for other purposes."), you'd never know it had anything to do with illegal immigration.
But it did. It was a cloture vote (60 needed to get the measure to the Senate floor) about about the so-called "DREAM Act," granting de facto amnesty to a vast number of illegal immigrants for entering college or joining the military. It has been a Democratic Party-"inspired" initiative with heavy Republican opposition from the get-go. It could easily have passed if the Democrats had been able to hold their membership together while picking off a couple of squishy Republicans.
They got their squishes: Republicans Murkowski (AK), Lugar (IN), and Bennett (UT) voted yes. That should have given the measure 61 votes. But Democrats Baucus (MT), Hagan (NC), Nelson (NE), Pryor AR), and Tester (MT) voted no, while Manchin (WV) did not vote. The measure's 55-41 support was not enough to move it to the next step.
The New York Times promoted the "DREAM Act" on Saturday with a Julia Preston article that never located a single lobbyist for stricter immigration enforcement. Instead, Preston assisted in publicizing a major administration push: "Five cabinet secretaries have made calls, held news conferences or blogged on the issue." It didn't matter how ridiculous it sounded to border enforcers:
On a call organized by the White House on Friday, David Aguilar, the deputy commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, said that strict eligibility requirements in the bill for young immigrants who are here would dissuade others outside the country from trying coming to the country illegally. Addressing concerns from lawmakers who say they want more border security before voting for the legislation, Mr. Aguilar said, “At no point in history has the border been as secure as it is today.”
Previewing yesterday's vote on the DREAM Act, which passed the House 216 to 198, NBC News correspondent George Lewis empathized with supporters of the measure on the December 8 "Nightly News."
Lewis acknowledged the bill's dim prospects for passing the Senate, but stood in awe at the apparent surge in support for the bill: "By the thousands, young people, who as children were brought here illegally by their parents, have been going public in support of the DREAM Act."
The network reporter used interviews with young supporters of the bill to pull on the viewer's heartstrings.
"It would be a waste if they graduated from high school and they're not able to pursue higher education because of their legal status," lamented William Perez, a developmental psychologist at Claremont Graduate University.
"We want to contribute back to a society, a society that has been my own," implored Maria Duque, an illegal immigrant attending Fullerton Community College.
New York Times reporter Julia Preston provided her predictably pro-amnesty slant in Wednesday story on the apparently deathless Dream Act, a bill up in the lame-duck session of Congress (it passed the House Wednesday night) that would provide amnesty for illegal immigrant students: “Illegal Immigrant Students Await Votes on Legal Status.”
With both houses of Congress set to vote this week on a bill that would give legal status to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrant students, one of those students will wait for news of the outcome at an immigration detention center in Arizona.
The student, Hector Lopez, 21, was deported to Mexico in August after having lived with his family in Oregon since he was an infant. After two months of trying to find his bearings and a job in Mexico City, Mr. Lopez, who does not speak Spanish, traveled to the border last month and turned himself in to the immigration authorities, requesting asylum in the United States.
CNN's Kiran Chetry helped two illegal immigrants lobby for the passage of the DREAM Act on Wednesday's American Morning, which would grant amnesty to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrant youth. Chetry encouraged them to express their concerns for the legislation, as many Republicans in Congress don't support it, and tossed softball questions, which gave them ample time to vouch for the act.
The anchor interviewed Cesar Vargas and Gaby Pacheco 40 minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour. Chetry labeled the two "classic examples of who this DREAM Act would help, if it were to pass the Congress" (both were also held up as examples by the Obama administration as two out of the "10 Reasons We Need the Dream Act," as listed on the White House's blog on December 3). She turned to Vargas first and asked, "Are you worried that this [bill] will fail, since there has not been a lot of Republican support?"
For much of the spring and summer, the big broadcast networks threw staff and airtime at covering Arizona's attempt to control its borders against rampant illegal immigration. Liberals detested Arizona's "harsh" new law, so the media elite reflexively treated it as a scandal in their coverage.
But now, Congress is debating a liberal immigration plan, the so-called "DREAM Act," that would amount to amnesty for possibly one million illegal immigrants, and cost taxpayers up to $6 billion in higher education subsidies. Yet over the last five weeks, the three major networks have offered almost no coverage of the DREAM Act, which may be up for a vote as early as today.
In contrast, when Arizona was considering stricter enforcement of illegal immigration, the networks "aired a whopping 120 stories in a little over three months, with an almost ten-to-one tilt against the Arizona law (77 negative, 35 neutral, 8 positive)." For more, see the MRC's July 28, 2010 Media Reality Check.
Open-borders radicalism means never having to apologize for absurd self-contradiction.
The way illegal alien students on college campuses across the country tell it, America is a cruel, selfish and racist nation that has never given them or their families a break. Yet despite their bottomless grievances, they're not going anywhere.
This past election cycle, the American people marched to the polls with a clear-cut message for their officials in Washington - stop. Stop the rise of massive government. Stop developing policy behind closed doors, through backroom deals. And stop this anti-American agenda. The results were a ‘shellacking’ for the party in power.
Despite the clarity of voice with which the people spoke on November 2nd, the Democrat response indicates that they did not get the message. Despite troubling job uncertainty, and an extension of the Bush tax cuts on the table, Democrats are pushing what would seemingly be a low-priority issue – immigration legislation.
President Obama recently met with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, discussing passage of the DREAM Act (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors). The Act, which Investor’s Business Daily describes quite simply as ‘an amnesty bill,’ would open a path to citizenship for illegal immigrant students depending on certain criteria. Worse, the Act is being viewed as a ‘down payment’ to more widespread amnesty measures.
Liberal Democrats would like to use the lame-duck session of Congress to squeeze out passage of the "DREAM Act" to provide a "path" for citizenship to illegal-alien students. So The Washington Post ordered up another round of sympathetic press-release coverage for Sunday's paper with the tableau of a Thanksgiving dinner, complete with a beautiful "exemplary student" named Anngie Gutierrez who wants to be a medical examiner. The headline was "Undocumented youths chasing a dream." The story used the favored liberal word "undocumented" seven times (including headlines and captions). Reporter Shankar Vedantam relayed:
Gutierrez attended Thanksgiving dinner last week at the home of one of her high school teachers, Elias Vlanton. A group called United We Dream organized 300 to 500 events where DREAM Act-eligible students could share Thanksgiving dinner with citizens - and also perform various acts of service - according to Jose Luis Marantes, a senior organizer at the group.
Correction: My initial post incorrectly conveyed that Chandra Levy was an intern for then-Rep. Gary Condit (D-Calif.). She was in fact an intern for the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
"Salvadoran Immigrant Ingmar Guandique Found Guilty of Murdering D.C. Intern Chandra Levy [12:45 p.m. ET]"
That was the breaking news headline that was blasted to my inbox from ABCNews.com regarding today's murder conviction of the suspect in the 2001 murder of federal government intern Chandra Levy.
In the Associated Press story by Matthew Barakat at the ABCNews.com website, there is no mention of the fact that Guandique is an illegal immigrant nor of the fact that he is involved in the ruthless gang Mara Salvatrucha, more commonly known as MS-13. This despite the fact that numerous news reports during Guandique's trial noted that he often wore turtleneck shirts in the courtroom to hide his gang tattoo.
You can clearly see that gang tattoo in an April 2009 file photo ABCNews.com included in their breaking news story.
On Thursday’s Fox and Friends, FNC hosts Gretchen Carlson and Steve Doocy gave attention to a University of Virginia study which found that, since Prince William County in Virginia became more strict in dealing with illegal immigrants in 2007, the jurisdiction has enjoyed a substantial drop in crime - including a 32 percent drop in violent crime - while neighboring Fairfax County has seen crime levels remain steady.
Introducing an interview with Prince William County board of supervisors chairman Corey Stewart, co-host Doocy began: "Back in 2007, Prince William County in Virginia became the first large jurisdiction in the country to adopt a strict immigration enforcement policy. That move was widely criticized."
Appearing as a guest on Saturday’s Huckabee show on FNC, Whoopi Goldberg - co-host of ABC’s The View - complained that bloggers disseminate inaccurate information about her without the need to "fact check," and that "they poop on you and they walk away." Goldberg: "But a blogger can say endless stuff. They don't have to fact check. ... And then that is picked up and made into some other story on another station, and it becomes the truth. See, I think fact outweighs assumption. So if you have facts in your hands, then you can talk, then you can have a conversation... People just, they poop on you and they walk away."
After asserting that she has said "not one thing" on ABC’s The View that she regrets saying, Goldberg soon added, "And I've gotten flack for what I felt was fact as opposed to someone's speculation."
But Goldberg has her own history of helping spread misinformation on The View. Last May, she and other co-hosts repeated the distorted claims of a left-wing organization in Texas which alleged that conservatives on the Texas State Board of Education were trying to downplay or eliminate references to slavery in its grade school history curriculum. On the Monday, May 17 show, Behar misinformed viewers with sarcasm: "Remember that thing called the 'slave trade'? Remember that? Okay, it turns out, what you learned was all wrong. Because it wasn't some evil buying and selling of human beings. It was simply called 'Atlantic triangular trade.' That's what they want to call it now. It's called revisionism. People do it about the Holocaust, and now Texas wants to do it about our country."
Moments later, Goldberg chimed in, "I’m sorry. Slavery was slavery. You can’t recall it." Instead of reading out the actual wording from the curriculum plan, panel members seemed only to refer to third-party accounts of the proposed changes.
And in April, the panel on the View helped feed the misinformed hysteria over Arizona’s effort to enforce federal immigration laws as some of her co-hosts assumed the new state law would require racial profiling and targeting of Hispanics, failing to convey that Arizona law enforcement would only check immigration documents of suspects who have been detained for some other reason. Goldberg acted more as moderator on this occasion and was not as outspoken as other co-hosts in making assertions about the new law, but she did not challenge the claims of her co-hosts and seemed to assume they were accurate. Goldberg, from the April 26 The View:
On Thursday's Parker-Spitzer, CNN's Kathleen Parker bizarrely and inaccurately claimed that Alexander Hamilton came to the United States illegally and drafted the Constitution: "Let's remember...a lot of Americans did come through the back door such as Alexander Hamilton.He got off the boat from the West Indies, and all he did was write the Constitution and become the first Secretary of the Treasury."
Parker raised this false history during a discussion at the end of the 8 pm Eastern hour about Pedro Ramirez, Fresno State University's student body president, who was outed as an illegal immigrant by a student newspaper. After playing clips from Ramirez and his opponent during the student election, who is also the president of the Fresno State College Republicans, the CNN host displayed sympathy for the college student: "This is kind of a classic though, isn't it, really? I mean, you've the college Republican versus the illegal immigrant, and it's kind of a classic clash, you know, that corresponds to this immigration debate we're having in this country. And clearly, when you put a human face on the illegal immigrant, it's a different story. I mean, nobody wants to punish this young 22-year-old."
Persistent pursuit of a story by journalists has in all too many cases been replaced by a dogged determination to keep politically incorrect facts out of important stories.
An Associated Press item out of Grand Island, Nebraska this morning illustrates this point. It's not very difficult to identify aspects of the story reporter Josh Funk worked mightily to leave out (bolded items hinting at what's not there and related number tags are mine):
MSNBC's prime-time "town hall" on immigration reform yesterday exemplified one of the more unseemly elements of media bias: brazen political advocacy disguised as an "honest conversation."
Attempting to pass itself off as a forum for voices on all sides of the immigration issue to elevate the dialogue, "Beyond Borderlines" featured droves of liberal guests who dismissed, admonished, and overwhelmed only token conservative opposition.
From the outset of the program, conservative guests were disadvantaged and drowned out. The "conversation," which touched on a wide-range of issues related to immigration reform, was steered by hosts Lawrence O'Donnell, who is a self-described socialist, and Maria Teresa Kumar, who is executive director of Voto Latino, a liberal immigration reform group.
Mike Cutler, one of the few guests who offered a contrasting perspective on the issue, was repeatedly attacked by Kumar, who oscillated between the conflicting roles of questioner and answerer, and the other panelists.
Yesterday the California Supreme Court ruled "that illegal immigrants are entitled to the same in-state tuition breaks that are offered to citizens who attend public colleges and universities."
The Associated Press reports that "[t]he high court unanimously upheld a state law that says any student, regardless of immigration status, who attended a California high school for at least three years can qualify for in-state tuition that's much less than what out-of-state students pay."
The losing party in the case plans an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, so this may not be the final word on the issue.
Given that the Golden State is flat broke and illegal immigration is a hot button issue nationally, this sounds like a story worthy of mainstream media attention.
Yet it appears the story has been largely ignored or buried by the MSM thus far.
In early September, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) was raked over the coals by her Democratic opponent Terry Goddard and by the mainstream media for a statement she had made about decapitated bodies found in the Arizona desert due to illegal immigration.
"It's a good bill. We cannot afford all this illegal immigration and everything that comes with it, and the kidnappings and the extortion and the beheadings," Brewer said in a debate. "Which beheadings in Arizona were you referring to?" a reporter asked. "Oh, our law enforcement agencies have found bodies in the desert, either buried or just lying out there that have been beheaded," Brewer replied.
While there had been numerous gruesome discoveries of decapitated bodies in Mexico related to Mexican drug trade, at that point there had been evidence of such gang-related beheadings on Arizonan soil. The media made it up to be a mini-scandal at the time.
Fast forward a littler over a month to October 10, and the discovery of the decapitated body of one Martin Alejandro Cota-Monroy in his suburban Phoenix apartment.
Comparing her latest campaign spot to a "Hitler Youth commercial," "The View" co-host Joy Behar angrily pronounced that Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle (R) is a "bitch" who will "go to Hell" for her ad.
While none of the four co-hosts agreed with the tone of Angle's ad, Behar was the most vicious in her attack on Angle, calling her a "moron" and insisting she should try out her campaign rhetoric in the south Bronx [Video embedded after the page break]:
MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan is apparently so intent on depicting Republican candidates for office as stupid that he's willing to make asinine assertions to do it.
Today in his "Ads Gone Bad" segment, Ratigan falsely insisted that an ad by Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) attacking his Democratic opponent Rep. Charlie Melancon communicated to viewers that "illegal immigrants [were] crossing the border into Louisiana."
The Metro section of Wednesday's Washington Post is topped by this story on the right hand side: "The Obama administration will not release the results of an investigation into why an illegal immigrant with two drunken-driving convictions went almost two years without a deportation hearing before a crash that killed a nun, a senior official said."
But that story by reporter Shankar Vedantam is not on the home page at washingtonpost.com. In fact, it's given only a tiny headline on the home page of PostLocal, where the Metro stories are featured.
The inquiry is complete, but Homeland Security does not plan to make the results public, according to the senior official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the matter.
"It's a document that includes law enforcement sensitivities, so it will not be made public," the official said. He declined to discuss the nature of those sensitivities.
I was preparing to applaud the Obama administration and specifically Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano for announcing the deportation of a record number of criminal aliens last year. According to the Washington Times, "the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported 392,862 aliens in fiscal year 2010, slightly less than a 1 percent increase over 2009 but short of the agency's goal to remove 400,000 this year."
What curbed my enthusiasm was news that removal of other illegal immigrants -- those not convicted of crimes, though it could be justifiably argued that their status as illegal immigrants is, by definition, the breaking of American law -- fell to the lowest number since 2007.
Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), said that while it is nice that Secretary Napolitano believes removing people in the country illegally is an important function for the Department of Homeland Security, "policy directives from the highest levels of DHS clearly demonstrate that the administration is refusing to enforce laws against noncriminal aliens."
That bad cop/good cop approach is designed to pacify those on the political right while the administration and some Democrats in Congress simultaneously lay the groundwork for legalizing those who broke our laws to get here and remain in the country illegally.
Good Morning America on Friday promoted an attack piece by the liberal magazine The Nation against Lou Dobbs. In the two segments devoted to whether or not the populist host hired illegal immigrants, the show's hosts never identified the left-wing agenda of the publication.
Instead, an ABC graphic speculated, "American Hypocrite?" (This is also the title of The Nation's article.) Isabel MacDonald, the reporter who filed the story for the magazine, appeared with Dobbs to debate the issue. Co-host George Stephanopoulos teased, "One of America's loudest opponents of illegal immigration is called a hypocrite."
During the four references to The Nation on Friday's program, none of the show's journalists labeled the magazine left-wing or liberal. Instead, reporter David Muir would neutrally begin sentences by asserting, "The Nation magazine says..."
When news broke in August that News Corporation, the media conglomerate owned by Rupert Murdoch, had donated a million dollars to the Republican Governors Association, liberals howled that Murdoch's personal political views - reflected in that donation - compromised the neutrality of News Corp's subsidiaries. The same arguments are being offered today, as news emerges that Murdoch's company gave another million to the Chamber of Commerce.
But Murdoch testified before a congressional subcommittee on Thursday in support of amnesty for illegal immigrants. Almost immediately, the left began asking why Murdoch had not incorporated his own views on the issue into Fox News's programming.
So now that liberals may have some common ground with Murdoch on the immigration issue, they are pleading for him to do exactly what they criticized when it benefitted Republicans: inject his own personal political views into reporting by News Corp. outlets.
Catching up on an item from the Thursday, September 9, The View on ABC, Barbara Walters was at odds with her co-hosts over the issue of whether racism was the primary motivation of the Arizona illegal immigration law as well as opposition to the Ground Zero mosque. Whoopi Goldberg raised the question of whether "there may be an undercurrent of racism in the USA that’s building up," leading co-host Sherri Shepherd to assert that "you certainly hear racism a lot more, I think, than you ever heard it." Walters soon jumped in to voice dissent:
I think that we're kind of mixing things up. When you say there's more racism now, oh, there's so much less racism than 20 years ago or 50 years ago. ... There is racism in this country. That's not new. There is racism against the President. That's not new. But I disagree with putting the mosque and the Arizona laws. I think the Arizona laws have to do with losing jobs and people coming across the border to get those jobs.
After Goldberg responded, "Then why don't they say that?" Walters continued: