NBC Ignores Gov. Rick Perry Sending National Guard To Border

On Monday, July 21, Texas Governor Rick Perry announced he was deploying up to 1,000 National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border to help deal with the ongoing crisis of thousands of illegal immigrants flooding into the United States from Central America.  

Despite Governor Perry’s decision, on Monday night the NBC Nightly News ignored the story altogether whereas CBS and ABC gave the Perry decision full coverage. [See video below.]

On CBS, Evening News anchor Scott Pelley highlighted how “Texas Governor Rick Perry said it's time to send in the National Guard. He’s authorizing the deployment of 1000 troops to the border with Mexico to bolster security. There's been a surge of illegal immigrants, many of them children in recent months.” 

Pelley then introduced CBS’s Anna Werner who speak extensively with rancher Lorenzo Anzaldua about the border crisis:

Few Texans are as eager to welcome the National Guard as Lorenzo Anzaldua. His family's land has become a highway for illegal immigrants such as these women with children who came across the Rio Grande River just a mile or so away three weeks ago.

On ABC, World News anchor Diane Sawyer avoided using the term “illegal immigrant” while introducing a report on Governor Perry’s decision. Sawyer managed to mention how “we head to Texas where the governor there says he's sending the National Guard to stop the surge of undocumented immigrants, many of them children, crossing the border. Today Governor Rick Perry says enough lip service from Washington. He's going to take action.”

In his report, Jim Avila, ABC’s Senior National Correspondent did his best to pour cold water on Governor Perry’s announcement by immediately promoting how “Governor Perry calls it Operation Strong Safety, but critics say it's closer to operation symbolic act. 1,000 National Guard troops over the next month, who by law, can't make any arrests and instead will act only as a visual deterrent.” 

After playing up how the head of the Border Patrol and one National Guard official were skeptical of Perry’s decision, Avila concluded his story by minimizing Perry’s decision one last time:

The commissioner says the problem isn’t detaining immigrants, they’re giving themselves up. The problem is where to put them. The governor nor the guard could help with that today. 

While ABC’s coverage did its best to downplay Perry’s decision, they fared much better than NBC. Nightly News anchor Brian Williams found it newsworthy that the United States experienced its 33rd hottest June on record. 

See relevant transcripts below. 


ABC

World News with Diane Sawyer

July 21, 2014

DIANE SAWYER: And now we head to Texas where the governor there says he's sending the National Guard to stop the surge of undocumented immigrants, many of them children, crossing the border. Today Governor Rick Perry says enough lip service from Washington. He's going to take action and ABC's Senior National Correspondent Jim Avila is back on the story for us tonight. 

JIM AVILA: Governor Perry calls it Operation Strong Safety, but critics say it's closer to operation symbolic act. 1,000 National Guard troops over the next month, who by law, can't make any arrests and instead will act only as a visual deterrent. 

RICK PERRY: Be a force multiplier, to be there as a partner with the law enforcement. 

AVILA: The Texas general in charge confirms his troops cannot physically detain or send any of the thousands of surging immigrants back across the border. 

UNKNOWN PERSON: We're planning on referring and deterring. 

AVILA: And the weapon the guard carries can't be used to stop illegal immigration. 

UNKNOWN PERSON 2: You're not allowed to fire on someone who is fleeing. 

AVILA: All of which may be why the head of the Border Patrol made it clear the guard isn't needed. 

GIL KERLIKOWSKE: I don't see the National Guard being of particularly good help in this instance. 

AVILA: The commissioner says the problem isn’t detaining immigrants, they’re giving themselves up. The problem is where to put them. The governor nor the guard could help with that today. Diane? 

 

CBS

CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley

July 21, 2014 

SCOTT PELLEY: Today, Texas Governor Rick Perry said it's time to send in the National Guard. He’s authorizing the deployment of 1000 troops to the border with Mexico to bolster security. There's been a surge of illegal immigrants, many of them children in recent months. And as Anna Werner reports, some land owners there have had enough. 

ANNA WERNER: Your family has been here what, 175 years?

LORENZO ANZALDUA: Yeah close to it. 

WERNER: Few Texans are as eager to welcome the National Guard as Lorenzo Anzaldua. His family's land has become a highway for illegal immigrants such as these women with children who came across the Rio Grande River just a mile or so away three weeks ago.

ANZALDUA: It's like a funnel. And they all get on the border, or on our land, American soil. And they take three or four routes. But they all diverge into one. And that's right behind me, that road. 

WERNER: Many wind up in nearby McAllen, Texas. 76 percent of the illegal immigrants in this recent surge have come through the Rio Grande Valley region. Volunteers have offered help to the immigrants at a Catholic charity shelter downtown. Lazaro Fernandez Jr.’s fabric company is just two blocks away.

LAZARO FERNANDEZ JR: I'm frustrated because we should have never gotten to that point and that situation. And our government has put us in that situation. And that is wrong. 

WERNER: Officials in McAllen want Washington to reimburse the city for the $700,000 it expects to spend this year to deal with the latest surge of illegal immigrants. That includes transportation and security costs. 

ANZALDUA: We are being invaded. And the quicker the politicians realize it’s an invasion, the quicker they will close the border. 

WERNER: Anzaldua hopes the arrival of the guard is the first step in that direction. Anna Werner, CBS News, McAllen, Texas. 

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.