ABC, CBS, NBC Go All-Out to Fluff Senate Border Deal, Omits Key Details

February 5th, 2024 5:49 PM

With the senators behind the bipartisan border deal having finally unveiled the text of their bill on Sunday night, the “big three” of ABC, CBS, and NBC went all out on their Monday morning news shows to fluff the pillows of dealmakers, giving few to any details beyond cursory allusions to give it maximum appeal and painting GOP opposition as driven by former President Trump.

Our friends at America First Legal have done phenomenal work with numerous threads starting on Sunday night (such as ones here, here, and here) debunking a number of the points made on the networks, including the claim the deal would end “catch and release” of illegal immigrants and that the border would shutter if crossings reach a certain threshold. It also exposed details left out by the networks, including provisions Biden could unilaterally ignore.



ABC’s Good Morning America was the most enthusiastic. Fill-in co-host Linsey Davis boasted of the “bipartisan group...unveil[ing] a compromise bill, but the Republican Speaker of the House says it’s dead on arrival.”

A reliable liberal tool, senior congressional correspondent Rachel Scott complained Republicans already oppose “the most significant border security and immigration over a decade.”

“This is a massive package, $118 billion. That includes $20 billion for border security, sweeping immigration restrictions, including shutting down the border when migrant encounters reach 5,000 a day and making it difficult to claim asylum in the U.S.,” she added.

The two also griped about the House GOP moving forward with a clean bill for Israel, but not Ukraine. And, for emphasis, Scott returned in the second hour to repeat many of the same talking points. (click “expand”):

DAVIS: And, Rachel, the Senate and House, it seems, are moving on two separate tracks with Republicans pushing for it with their own package for aid with Israel.

SCOTT: Yeah. And remember, it was Republicans who demanded border security in exchange for additional funding for Israel and Ukraine. Now the House is moving forward with just aid to Israel. That throws into doubt any future aid to Ukraine and while they are rejecting this set of border provisions, they are taking the rare step moving forward with a vote to impeach the Homeland Security secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas[.]


SCOTT: And this is the most significant bipartisan deal on immigration and border security in over a decade. But House Speaker Mike Johnson is making it clear it is not going anywhere. This is a massive package, $118 billion. That includes $20 billion for border security, sweeping immigration restrictions, including shutting down the border when migrant encounters reach 5,000 a day, and making it more difficult to claim asylum in the U.S. $60 billion for Ukraine. $14 billion for Israel. The President calling it the toughest and fairest set of border reforms in decades. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell saying it provides direct and immediate solutions to our crisis at the southern border. But this faced Republican opposition over in the House before it was even released. Donald Trump, who has been urging Republicans to reject this issue, wants to run on immigration in November. And House Speaker Mike Johnson making it clear that this bill is dead on arrival saying, it’s “worse than” they predicted or “expected”. It won’t even get a vote in the House[.]

NBC’s Today had co-host Savannah Guthrie come out guns blazing in a tease: “Dead on arrival. The Speaker of the House vowing to tank the historic border deal reached by both parties in the Senate, and on defense over accusations it’s Donald Trump pulling the strings.”

Co-host Hoda Kotb began the actual segment by fretting that Republicans have put up “stiff opposition” to “[a] landmark Senate deal aimed at toughening immigration laws”.

NBC Capitol Hill correspondent Ryan Nobles also shamelessly floated little else besides the dollar figures and griping “House Republicans...signal[ed] that the immigration reforms were not enough” despite “Republicans in the Senate call[ing] this the most conservative border proposal in a generation.”

“It cuts off all migration when more than 5,000 people attempt to enter on a given day. It expands the number of detention facilities and raises the standard for migrants to qualify for asylum,” he added before concluding with the framing that Republicans oppose it on Donald Trump’s behalf.

CBS Mornings also said its piece. Fill-in co-host Jericka Duncan touted the “breakthrough plan” and congressional correspondent Nikole Killion described it as a “compromise” that “would give the administration new emergency authority to temporarily shut down the border, allowing immediate deportation before asylum is requested.” 

“The government would be required to close the border when migrant encounters reach a daily average of 5,000 over a week. It also ends catch-and-release policies and streamlines asylum cases by processing claims in six months or less,” she added.

To her credit, however, she acknowledged opposition on the left with “some progressive Democrats and members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus...also pushing back, claiming they were left out of the border talks.”

To see the relevant transcripts from February 5, click here (for ABC), here (for CBS), and here (for NBC).