“Anger in the streets and we’re there for the protests,” ABC anchor Diane Sawyer teased in making reaction from a few opposed to Arizona’s immigration enforcement efforts her top story on Thursday night. She led: “Emboldened by a judge's rebuke of that law yesterday, hundreds of opponents of the crackdown took to the streets today. But the state's unyielding Governor stood by the law.” ABC’s Barbara Pinto touted over video which included a protester waving a Che Guevara flag:
Demonstrations started at dawn – hundreds of protesters, dozens of arrests, tempers flaring. Tensions are running high here outside this jail, where protesters have gathered and it's turned into a standoff with sheriff's deputies who are trying to push their way out of the building. Demonstrations were loud, disruptive, but mostly peaceful.
After a clip of a woman complaining “Joe Arpaio has picked the easy targets, the day laborers. Let's go after the real criminals and stop wasting our money,” Pinto fretted: “This afternoon, Sheriff Arpaio launched one of his controversial crime raids, targeting illegal immigrants.” She concluded with a warning: “Tonight's rally intended to send a clear signal to lawmakers and to Governor Brewer from those who think even a partial law is too much.”
“In a matter of minutes, relief replaced dread, hope replaced fear,” ABC's Barbara Pinto trumpeted in framing a Wednesday night look, at reaction to a federal judge's ruling barring implementation of key provisions of Arizona's immigration enforcement laws, around those pleased by it.
NBC's Lee Cowan relayed how the ruling “certainly came as welcome news” for illegals, “but while some were relieved, others fear the crackdown may come anyway.” An unidentified woman despaired: “I'm worried for my family. I'm worried for my friends. I worry for my people.” Cowan then warned of danger posed by the majority: “And there are those who worry about a backlash from those angry the court undid what the people of Arizona largely approved.”
On ABC, a grocer exclaimed “it's a happy emotion” and “there's a hope,” before Pinto explained: “Rosario Peralta, who is here legally, watched customers at her family's grocery store disappear, frightened families moving out of state. This afternoon, some of them came back.”
Pinto moved on to “undocumented immigrant” Erika Andiola who “crossed the border with her mom, sister and brothers illegally when she was 11 years old, running from domestic abuse.” Andiola celebrated: “Yesterday, I went to bed really depressed, but, this morning, like everything just came back. Like, the hope, the faith, knowing that all these prayers are really, you know, working.”
ABC's "World News" on Sunday caught up to CBS and NBC in fretting about the potential problems caused by illegal immigrants who may be leaving Arizona before the state's new law takes effect on Thursday. Correspondent Barbara Pinto devoted her entire piece to lamenting the possible damage to small businesses whose customers are presumably now leaving the state, but offered less than a sentence to the idea that illegal immigrants are already an expensive burden on state social services.
"The loud and bitter battle over Arizona's immigration law has reached fever-pitch," claimed Pinto. "But Rosario Peralta worries about the quiet exodus – immigrant families already leaving the state in droves. In the past few months, she's seen business and customers at her family grocery store disappear."
All three broadcast evening newscasts have repeatedly touted, as if it is a valid representation of national sentiment, the “boycott” of Arizona by liberal municipalities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles. But when the Arizona Corporation Commissioner on Tuesday made a tongue-in-cheek offer to help Los Angeles out in its boycott by shutting off the electricity flow, CBS and NBC were silent.
The only network to mention the proposal to test the depths of the city’s commitment to liberal sanctimony was ABC, MRC intern Matthew Hadro discovered. White House correspondent Jake Tapper first noted how President Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon both criticized Arizona’s new immigration law at the White House, then reported:
JAKE TAPPER: The debate is intense. The Los Angeles City Council voted last month to boycott all official business in Arizona, prompting an Arizona utilities commissioner to all but threaten to cut off the electricity Arizona power plants provide L.A. GARY PIERCE, ARIZONA CORPORATION COMMISSIONER: You can’t call a boycott on the candy store, and then decide to go in and pick and choose candy you really do want.
The night after two major national polls confirmed overwhelming majorities support Arizona's impending immigration enforcement statute (59 percent per Pew and 64 percent per NBC/WSJ), CBS and ABC promoted the cause of activists in the minority. Both devoted full stories to the “uproar” and “emotional civil war” over the law and moves by a few liberal local government bodies to enact boycotts, only getting late in their stories to those who like the law.
The Thursday night stories were pegged to a boycott vote by the Democratic city council of Los Angeles, but CBS's Bill Whitaker and ABC's Barbara Pinto both also played a three-day old clip of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger mocking Arizona and pointed to the cancellation of a trip to Arizona by a suburban Chicago high school's girls basketball team – not to deride adults for using teens to grind a political axe, but to illustrate the supposed depth of opposition to Arizona's law.
“The boycott of Arizona is spreading,” Katie Couric trumpeted before Whitaker touted: “The city of Los Angeles, the latest to react strongly to Arizona's tough new anti-illegal immigration law.” He pushed how “a growing number of states and municipalities are boycotting or considering boycotting Arizona,” citing how “Highland Park High School in Chicago's suburbs is pulling its champion girls' basketball team from a tournament in Arizona because of the law.”
Extending the kind of respect they never provided the Tea Party activists, ABC and NBC on Tuesday night promoted what NBC anchor Brian Williams embraced as “the growing national backlash against the state of Arizona over its tough new immigration law that says police can stop people just on the suspicion they might be there illegally.”
ABC’s Barbara Pinto touted how “the call for an economic boycott here has caught fire on the Internet” while NBC’s Andrea Mitchell trumpeted how “anger over the law has gone viral,” as both pointed to how the American Immigration Lawyers Association had canceled a conference – of a mere 400 attendees -- scheduled for the state.
NBC’s Mitchell played clips from two left-wing comedians, as she asserted: “It's now gone beyond protest to threats of a boycott, as Arizona becomes a laughing stock to some.” Viewers then heard a joke from Saturday Night Live about “fascism” followed by The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart: “It's not unprecedented, having to carry around your papers. It's the same thing free black people had to do in 1863.” After showcasing a Facebook page (“Arizona, the Grand Canyon State, welcomes you unless you're a Mexican or look like one”), Mitchell cited “a slap in the face” from Mexico which, ironically, warned its citizens about traveling to Arizona.
Wednesday’s Good Morning America led into an interview with House Republican Leader John Boehner about the massive Democratic “stimulus” package with a deluge of horror stories about the awful economy: an elderly man who froze to death after failing to pay his power bills; a new report declaring the need for $2 trillion in new infrastructure spending; and an unemployed man who killed his family and himself.
“You know this situation -- you don't need me to tell you about it, we hear about job losses being reported every day,” news anchor Chris Cuomo told viewers, “so the pressure is on lawmakers” to “get past the age-old battle over tax cuts versus spending” and pass the massive spending bill. Making it perfectly obvious which side he’s on, Cuomo declared “a promising signal for all of us” that Boehner seemed to come out of a meeting with President Obama “looking to make a deal.”
But the economic horror stories that ABC pushed prior to showing the interview with Boehner (taped Tuesday afternoon) all contain significant omissions. The “unregulated” power company being blamed for the elderly man’s death is owned by the local government, not some greedy capitalist utility. The new report arguing for massive spending on roads and bridges was released two months early to influence the stimulus vote. And the man who tragically killed his family did not lose his job because of cost-cutting or anything related to the economy, but after being investigated for possible fraud.
Housing, oil and inflation were all common themes during the broadcasts of last night’s “CBS Evening News” and “NBC Nightly News.” But, unless you watched last night’s ABC “World News with Charles Gibson” instead of the other two, you would not have known about the positive GDP growth the U.S. Commerce Department reported yesterday.
“On the broadcast tonight, the economy is our big story,” “NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams said to begin the October 31 broadcast. “We’ll have the interest rate cut, oil prices are soaring, and still, what about housing?”
It was the same dour mind-set on “Evening News.”
“With the ailing housing market threatening to infect the entire economy, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke administered another shot of preventive medicine today, with a quarter-point rate cut,” CBS correspondent Anthony Mason said.
The Census Bureau announced a drop in the poverty rate, but NBC and, especially CBS, on Tuesday night managed to turn the good news into bad by emphasizing an increase in the number of Americans without health insurance while ABC, in contrast, portrayed the decrease in poverty as good news. “A bright spot of economic news today,” fill-in ABC anchor Kate Snow announced, “the percentage of Americans living in poverty dropped last year” by “three-tenths of a percent from the year before.” Reporter Barbara Pinto actually acknowledged some positive trends during the Bush years, pointing to how “in the past four years, the country has added nearly 7 million jobs. And in those four years, the average household income has risen about $700.” Pinto didn't ignore liberal class-warfare arguments, but after a left-winger asserted “there's very little that trickles down to those at the bottom,” Pinto countered: “Obviously, some of that growth is trickling down.”
Though the AP headlined its story, “U.S. poverty rate declines significantly,” NBC anchor Brian Williams reported it dropped “a bit” and CBS anchor Katie Couric relayed how “the poverty rate is down slightly.” And while most of those in poverty manage to have many comforts of life, from good-sized homes to cars, Couric insisted poverty level income is “hardly enough for food and housing, much less other items like health insurance.” Wyatt Andrews devoted a full story to “the highest number of uninsured Americans in 20 years: 47 million without health insurance.” Andrews failed to note that 16 million of the uninsured are illegals or on Medicaid while most people are uninsured for only short periods.