NBC's David Gregory Peppers Hayworth With Japanese Internment-Camp Analogies, Goes Soft on Gutierrez

NBC Meet the Press host David Gregory peppered conservative Rep. J.D. Hayworth with tougher questions than liberal Rep. Luis Gutierrez on immigration Sunday. In the roughest one, Gregory strangely alluded to Franklin Roosevelt's internment of Japanese-Americans as somehow a metaphor as to where current immigration policy could be headed: 

Congressman Hayworth, are you not concerned that just as this country has done, unfortunately, in the name of a national crisis in the past, during World War II, that there will not be excesses? That there will not be a denial of simple civil rights? The law can say everything it wants. You know that what happens in practice is what actually matters here, and this is a pretty hotly contested issue. And, and people are getting hot under the collar all over the state of Arizona and the country.

Hayworth responded without taking offense at the analogy: 

I think it's important to deal with reality rather than fancy -- fanciful tales of what if. I respect the notion that freedom isn't free. Luis and I understand this Memorial Day weekend, so many fought and died for that. But, also, we don't breed a culture of convenience. We breed a culture of law and order.

Gregory's question did not allow that most people who are "hot under the collar" on immigration are on Hayworth's side. He did state that to Gutierrez, in a very mild question (before the new-FDR-camps inquiry):  "We put our recent poll up on the screen. Sixty-one percent of those polled support that law. Do you understand the frustration in Arizona?"

This allowed Gutierrez to claim that he was tough on jailing employers who hire illegals. Gregory never took after Gutierrez with a question of "excesses" as he did with Hayworth, even though Hayworth suggested new burdens on federal entitlement spending. Gutierrez held out from supporting ObamaCare in the hopes of letting illegal aliens buy insurance on the new federal insurance exchanges. There was no question to Gutierrez about the problem of illegal aliens committing crimes or transporting illegal drugs.

Instead, Gregory's final question for Gutierrez came after Obama from the left for not being pro-amnesty enough:

GREGORY:  Final point for you, Congressman Gutierrez. You were arrested in front of the White House recently, you've been critical of the White House in their handling of this. Does President Obama--this is the picture on May 1st of you being arrested in front of the White House -- do you believe President Obama has the political will to make immigration reform, in a comprehensive way, a priority? I mean a real priority.

GUTIERREZ: I think he's going to need to do that. And I think...

GREGORY: And he's not there yet, in your mind?

GUTIERREZ: I don't think he's there yet.

By contrast, Hayworth got another haymaker -- insisting he was two-faced, that he once supported more moderate measures on immigration:

GREGORY: Congressman, you're in a, as I mentioned, in a primary battle with Senator McCain. You have acknowledged in that book that you've held up a couple of times that going back to 2001 you actually believed in a guest worker program. You believed in a path towards citizenship, which you now call amnesty. Senator McCain was a champion of comprehensive reform with Senator Kennedy back during the Bush administration. But he's also been a pretty consistent supporter of additional resources on the border. How does your position really differ from his?

HAYWORTH: Well, it differs profoundly, because what happened 9/11 helped the scales fall from my eyes. I understand that national security is border security, and I understand that we must enforce the laws. You're right, what Mr. McCain offers is first, for political consumption, a get tough policy on the border, but then, again, he wants to bring back amnesty. And would remind the viewers that in the 2007 bill with the late Senator Kennedy, the Heritage Foundation estimated that long-term retirement benefits alone for illegals granted citizenship would be $2.6 trillion. So much for fiscal responsibility from my opponent.

GREGORY: But just, just to be fair, you are on--at odds with Senator McCain on this, with former President Bush...

HAYWORTH: Oh, yes.

GREGORY: ...and a lot of other Republicans who don't agree with your characterization that it's amnesty. Just to be clear.

Gregory's bias during this interview, his uneven questioning of the conservative and the liberal, the law-and-order man and the legalize-them-all man, was crystal clear.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis