NBC Avoids the Word 'Illegal,' Highlights 'Migrant Families' and 'Immigrants'

The journalists at NBC's Today on Friday made sure to avoid using the word "illegal" and instead favored "migrant families" and, simply, "immigrants." ABC's Good Morning America followed a similar path, noting the "children crossing the border from Central America." Only CBS This Morning host Jeff Glor referred to "the flood of illegal immigrants." 

On Today, news reader Craig Melvin carefully noted, "...The U.S. border patrol has said it has stopped sending Central American children and families to San Diego after they are arrested in South Texas." He added that "protesters blocked a road and forced bus loads of immigrants to reroute." Melvin told viewers that Congress is working on " a possible compromise to deport migrant families more quickly." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Migrant families or illegal immigrants? 

In the 7:30am hour, Willie Geist parroted his colleague, reciting, "U.S. Border Patrol says it will no longer transport migrant families who cross the border to a facility in San Diego." 

On July 7, NBC correspondent Miguel Almaguer referred to "thousands of "undocumented immigrants." That day, the network actually used the word "illegal." But the previous week, reporters avoided the term.

CBS This Morning offered the most coverage, two full reports. In the 8am hour, guest co-host Glor used the word ABC and NBC did not: "The Homeland Security Secretary says the main agency dealing with the flood of illegal immigrants will run out of money soon if Congress don't approve more."

Reporter Chip Reid managed to include quotes from Republicans blaming the President: 

SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER: This is a problem of the president's own making. He’s been president for five-and-a-half years. When is he going to take responsibility for something? 

...

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-S.C.): I want to pass immigration reform, but I want to stop this narrative that if we had passed the law, we wouldn’t have this problem. 

However, Norah O'Donnell made sure to note, "Meanwhile, the President mocked GOP leaders Thursday in Austin, Texas, saying he's doing his job and the Republicans are not doing theirs." 

O'Donnell also complimented Obama's handling of hecklers, praising, "It's interesting the president spoke briefly to hecklers after the speech. You can have the Secret Service escort the hecklers out. The president has sort of taken the tack to speak to them afterward."

Good Morning America on Friday allowed a scant 19 seconds to the crisis on the border. Dan Harris remarked, "Meantime, support is building in Congress to change a law and speed up deportation of thousands of children crossing the border from Central America."  

Transcripts of the two Today segments can be found below: 


7:08

CRAIG MELVIN: Back here, the U.S. border patrol has said it has stopped sending Central American children and families to San Diego after they are arrested in South Texas. The experiment sparked quite a backlash in one California city after protesters blocked a road and forced bus loads of immigrants to reroute. Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, lawmakers are working on a possible compromise to deport migrant families more quickly. It's all part of President Obama's $3.7 million emergency request to address the border crisis. 

7:31

WILLIE GEIST: And the U.S. Border Patrol says it will no longer transport migrant families who cross the border to a facility in San Diego. The first buses to attempt the trip were blocked by protesters and forced to reroute. 

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org