The major broadcast networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC have spent days bellyaching and screeching about Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) sending flights of less than 50 illegal immigrants to ultra-liberal Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, so it was only natural Tuesday that their morning shows would be ebullient over a far-left Texas sheriff launching a criminal investigation of DeSantis.
“Immigrant showdown. Overnight, a new criminal investigation targeting Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who flew that group of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard. This as new numbers show record apprehensions at the border,” boasted ABC’s Good Morning America co-host and former Clinton official George Stephanopoulos.
Liberal correspondent Rachel Scott accepted Bexar County, Texas Sheriff Javier Salazar’s framing as gospel:
The Texas officials launching that criminal investigation insist that Republicans are playing politics with human lives claiming that those migrants were lured onto those flights with false promises of opportunity and work that they are desperately looking for. This morning, a Texas sheriff launching a criminal investigation against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, just days after he flew dozens of migrants to Martha's Vineyard.
Adding that Salazar believed DeSantis may have been criminal in his desire “to make a political point,” Scott offered a mere sentence on push back by quoting DeSantis spokeswoman Taryn Fenske (versus two full soundbites for Salazar).
Only at the end did Scott take on the fact that August saw “a record number of crossings, apprehensions topping two million” for “a 175 percent increase from last August” with border towns being “overwhelmed.”
In a news brief in the second half-hour, fill-in co-host Mary Bruce made sure viewers were again told that “a new criminal investigation has been launched against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis after flying that group of migrants to Martha's Vineyard.”
NBC’s Today came off as stoked with this tease from co-host Hoda Kotb: “New twist. A criminal investigation now launched into those surprise flights carrying migrants to Martha's Vineyard. Just ahead, the sheriff who says they were lured under false pretenses.”
Co-host Craig Melvin began the report by warning the “battles are heating up” “over immigration and the dozens of migrants sent from Texas to Martha's Vineyard” with that move “now the focus of a criminal investigation.”
Correspondent Emilie Ikeda followed by touting the “[s]trong words from” Salazar “who says these migrants flown to Martha's Vineyard were preyed upon,” adding DeSantis and fellow Governor Greg Abbott (R-TX) have “vow[ed] to continue transporting migrants north as southern states experience a record influx of illegal crossings.”
Ikeda continued (click “expand”):
IKEDA: This morning, another twist in the rising tensions over immigration throughout the country. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis may now be in hot water after a Texas sheriff opened an investigation into that plane of migrants sent to Martha's Vineyard last week, which DeSantis took credit for. Javier Salazar, a sheriff from Bexar County, Texas, says he believes a Venezuelan migrant was hired to recruit another group of migrants who were flown from Texas to Florida and to the wealthy enclave of Martha's Vineyard.
SALAZAR: Our understanding is that a Venezuelan migrant was paid what we would call a bird dog fee to recruit approximately 50 migrants from the area around a migrant resource center.
IKEDA: The sheriff saying the migrants were brought there dishonestly.
SALAZAR: I will use the word lured under false pretenses into staying at a hotel for a couple of days and then eventually flown to Martha's Vineyard. They were promised work. They were promised a solution to several of their problems.
IKEDA: DeSantis, who took credit for arranging the flights, hitting back overnight.
Going lastly to CBS Mornings, co-host Nate Burleson announced in the “Eye Opener” that “[t]here is now a criminal investigation into how migrants were put on planes to Martha's Vineyard.”
Co-host Tony Dokoupil later opened the segment by boasting that there are “questions on how” the illegal immigrants “got” to Martha’s Vineyard and Salazar wants to answer them by “open[ing] a criminal investigation.”
Dokoupil did, however, concede “there is a serious situation unfolding along the southern border, and the number of apprehensions of undocumented immigrants is above two million”.
Correspondent Manuel Bojorquez explained the situation from El Paso (click “expand”):
BOJORQUEZ: For one, they are trying to prevent people from having to sleep outside in these streets, outside this Greyhound bus station where, for days, dozens had camped out with no food, water, or money to reach their next destination. The city is moving people to motels and shelters. For many migrants seeking asylum in the U.S., this is their first stop, a Greyhound bus station in El Paso, Texas. The U.S. Border Patrol says more than a thousand migrants are crossing this area each day. Many are being released here. That's where volunteer Julianna Esparza Loya pulls in with her minivan loaded with supplies. She sets up her table and starts handing out essentials like backpacks, shoes, and clothes for children and adults who often arrive with only the clothes on their back. She told us she grew up in El Paso with very little and she identifies with the migrants' struggles. For her, this issue has little to do with politics.
BOJORQUEZ: Now, the City of El Paso has set up this migrant welcome center where they provide WiFi to contact sponsor families, food, shelter, and most importantly, transportation to their next stop. [TO MURO] You're getting on average 400 people a day?
EL PASO OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT ASSISTANT COORDINATOR TONY MURO: Yes, sir.
BOJORQUEZ [TO MURO]: That's a lot.
MURO: That's going to be increasing shortly.
BOJORQUEZ [TO MURO]: So, you don't see this slowing down at this point?
MURO: At this point, we’re just managing the numbers as they come in.
Hilariously, CBS gave away the game as Borjorquez closed by noting El Paso has also buses to move illegal immigrants away from the border:
El Paso has sent nearly 60 buses with migrants north, but the city says it has closely coordinated that with local leaders and charitable organizations at those destinations to ensure they are ready to receive them, unlike some GOP governors who are accused of sending migrants with little to no warning.
Tuesday’s network-wide attempt to get the hopes of their liberal audiences up was made possible thanks to the backing of advertisers such as Apple (on CBS), Claritin (on NBC), and Target (on ABC). Follow the links to see their contact information at the MRC’s Conservatives Fight Back page.
To see the relevant transcripts from September 20, click here (for ABC), here (for CBS), and here (for NBC).