Fatherless children. Abandoned wives. Uncertain futures.
Such is the grist of touching profiles on the network news, exactly what CBS Evening News and ABC World News Sunday served up in stories about the difficulties illegal immigrants face when the government seeks to enforce immigration laws.
The additional element of churches providing sanctuary to illegal immigrants, thereby supporting the liberal political agenda, gave the networks an opportunity to portray churches in a flattering light. Such positive portrayal of churches is not always evident when the churches are supporting traditional values or ideology. (Click here and here for recent examples.)
CBS led the bi-network coverage with a feature on a small
Sawyer emphasized that the raid happened two months ago and the women were still waiting for their trials and in limbo until their cases were adjudicated.
CBS gave a platform to a local resident who said the action “destroyed so many lives and the town,” and introduced the hero in the piece: the local Catholic parish. St. Bridgette's is providing money for rent, utility and medical bills to the illegal immigrants and spending $12,000 a week of its own money to provide what it calls a “lifeline.”
SAWYER: It costs Saint Bridgette's $12,000 a week to keep the families going, and there's no government assistance. Homeland security says it's not their problem and Iowa Human Services says state law prevents them from assisting illegal immigrants. Paul Riel helps Sister Mary run the church's outreach program.
RIEL: We've all heard about the American dream. Well, this is the American nightmare.
Sawyer reported on two managers at the meatpacking plant who were arrested for providing the workers with access to fake immigration documents. However, aside from one police officer commenting on the raid, there was not one person featured in the story who supported the enforcement of illegal immigration laws, who stated the fact that these illegal immigrants were breaking the law, or who questioned the church's decision to aid and abet those who have broken the law.
The ABC story, reported by Eric Horng, differed from the CBS story in that the focus was churches providing sanctuary to illegal immigrants. It also differed from CBS by including a spokesperson for the
Horng featured a woman who declared she was “not a terrorist, not a criminal,” and sympathetically portrayed another woman as coming to
Horng stated uncritically that churches providing sanctuary is “less about hiding from the law than about changing it.”
The mainstream media have a history of bias when it comes to positively promoting liberal ideology. The coverage of illegal immigration, told primarily through the sympathetic portrayal of women struggling to feed their children, is yet another example.