During a softball interview with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas aired on Thursday’s CBS Mornings, the broadcast network treated Canadian truckers protesting draconian COVID regulations like terrorists and fretted to the Biden cabinet official that the demonstrators posed a “potential security threat” to the Super Bowl. Meanwhile, the ongoing out-of-control crisis at the U.S. southern border was completely ignored.
“Now there are new concerns similar protests could soon caravan across the U.S. In a bulletin to law enforcement, the Department of Homeland Security says it received reports a convoy of truckers plans ‘to potentially block roads in major metropolitan cities’ and ‘severely disrupt transportation,’” correspondent Kris Van Cleave reported early in the 7:00 a.m. ET hour while hyping fears about the protesters.
He further warned: “The DHS alert says the convoy could begin Sunday in Los Angeles, the site of the Super Bowl, ‘gathering truckers as they travel across the country,’ possibly reaching Washington, D.C. on March 1st, the same day as the State of the Union.”
At the top of the 8:00 a.m. ET hour, a taped report aired from correspondent Carter Evans, who talked to Mayorkas at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles about security efforts ahead of Super Bowl Sunday. “And less than a week away from the game, new potential threats arise daily,” Evans worried, before identifying one of those supposed “threats”: “The anti-vax trucker rally in Canada, they’ve made some threats to come down here. Are you prepared for that?”
Individuals have a perfect right to exercise their First Amendment rights. Once they intervene in other people’s freedoms and liberties it becomes a more complicated landscape. But we’re working with law enforcement to address any eventualities.
Evans continued sounding the alarm: “Now, in a bulletin obtained by CBS News, the Department of Homeland Security is warning that a convoy of truckers could lead to gridlock here in Los Angeles and that could impact the Super Bowl.”
He at least admitted: “The agency, though, does describe the plans as aspirational and says there are no plans of violence.” However, he ominously added: “But of course, they are prepared for anything.”
Despite the report’s breathless tone, even liberal co-host Tony Dokoupil seemed to think the concerns were over-hyped: “Well, I mean, aren’t Los Angelenos used to gridlock?” Fill-in co-host Dana Jacobson agreed: “Very true. And in that area especially they are.”
After refusing to cover the ongoing illegal immigration crisis for months, CBS kept that streak alive on Thursday by not once raising the topic with Mayorkas. That deafening silence made these lines from Evans about the role of Customs and Border Protection in securing the Super Bowl particularly awkward:
- “1,500 feet above Los Angeles, agents from Customs and Border Protection are on patrol in black hawk helicopters.”
- “There are Super Bowl events all over this city. And Customs and Border Protection is watching over all of it.”
- “Does that pose any specific challenges when you have to keep such a large area secure?”
- “Agent Evan Wagley took us out on one of CBP’s high-speed boats where they patrol waters off the massive ports of L.A. and Long Beach.”
Any one of those remarks could have served as the perfect segue to ask Mayorkas about CBP’s primary responsibility of protecting the nation’s borders and whether similar aggressive efforts were being taken to accomplish that mission.
This attempt to paint truckers from Canada as a major threat to Americans’ safety while ignoring the disaster at the U.S. southern border was brought to viewers by Comcast and Toyota. You can fight back by letting these advertisers know what you think of them sponsoring such content.
Here is a full transcript of the February 10 segment featuring the Mayorkas interview:
8:02 AM ET
TONY DOKOUPIL: We are just days away from Super Bowl LVI, Where the Los Angeles Rams will host the Cincinnati Bengals. The last super bowl in L.A. was nearly 30 years ago. This time around, local and federal agencies have a much bigger job preparing for potential security threats. Earlier we told you about a DHS warning that truckers may try to block traffic around the stadium.
Carter Evans spoke exclusively with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas about the preparations, and he got a firsthand look from the sky and the sea. This morning, he’s outside SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, just outside L.A. Carter, good morning to you.
CARTER EVANS: Good morning, Tony. On Sunday, tens of thousands of fans will descend here on SoFi Stadium. But what they may not see are the thousands of members of federal and local law enforcement that are working around the clock to keep the Super Bowl and the surrounding areas safe.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Securing the Big Game; DHS Secretary Gives Inside Look at Security Detail for Super Bowl LVI]
1,500 feet above Los Angeles, agents from Customs and Border Protection are on patrol in black hawk helicopters. When you’re in the air here, what are you looking for?
UNIDENTIFIED CBP AGENT: Any unusual movement of people that just seems suspicious or odd.
EVANS: And the security perimeter for the big game extends miles beyond SoFi Stadium.
There are Super Bowl events all over this city. And Customs and Border Protection is watching over all of it. The crew in this helicopter is looking for small aircraft moving low and slow that could be a threat.
CBP AGENT: Any aircraft that looks like it’s heading toward our temporary flight restriction area, they’re going to vector our aircraft to go investigate the situation.
EVANS: Does that pose any specific challenges when you have to keep such a large area secure?
ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS [DHS SECRETARY]: I think the logistics are incredibly challenging.
EVANS: In an exclusive one-on-one interview, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas gave us a glimpse behind the scenes. Where every day up to 400 trucks are x-rayed at the secure compound.
MAYORKAS: There are security efforts, both seen and unseen. More than 2,000 people working 24/7 to make sure that 70,000 people will watch the Super Bowl and enjoy it safely and securely.
EVANS: And guarding the California coastline is part of the mission. SoFi Stadium is many miles that way. What’s the concern out here on the water?
EVAN WAGLEY [CBP AGENT]: We feel we’re that first line of defense for any threat that could be coming in from offshore.
EVANS: Agent Evan Wagley took us out on one of CBP’s high-speed boats where they patrol waters off the massive ports of L.A. and Long Beach. This 1,400 horsepower boat can go up to 70 miles per hour, and speed is important because if they see a suspicious vessel, they’ve got to be fast enough to catch it.
WAGLEY: Obviously if there’s any boats that stick out to us, we’re going to go board those. But we’re also going to board the ones that may not seem out of place.
EVANS: And to find them, they can downlink video from aircraft overhead.
WAGLEY: If they feel there’s a boat out of place, they can vector us into that area, and we can stop them and board them, as well.
EVANS: And less than a week away from the game, new potential threats arise daily. The anti-vax trucker rally in Canada, they’ve made some threats to come down here. Are you prepared for that?
MAYORKAS: Individuals have a perfect right to exercise their First Amendment rights. Once they intervene in other people’s freedoms and liberties it becomes a more complicated landscape. But we’re working with law enforcement to address any eventualities.
EVANS: Now, in a bulletin obtained by CBS News, the Department of Homeland Security is warning that a convoy of truckers could lead to gridlock here in Los Angeles and that could impact the Super Bowl. The agency, though, does describe the plans as aspirational and says there are no plans of violence. But of course, they are prepared for anything. Dana?
DOKOUPIL: Well, I mean, aren’t Los Angelenos used to gridlock?
DANA JACOBSON: Very true. And in that area especially they are.
DOKOUPIL: Carter, I got to say, looking like Agent Evans there in the helicopter and on the boat. You might have missed your calling.
EVANS: Thank you very much. It was a lot of fun, that’s for sure.
JACOBSON: Carter, thank you very much. You know, Super Bowls, having covered so many of them, that preparation starts so far in advance.
JACOBSON: And you forget about so many of those people who are working to make sure that we are safe.
DOKPOUIL: It is so important. It’s a post-9/11 reality.
JACOBSON: Without a doubt.