CNN's Malveaux Omits Pro-Illegal Immigration Stance of 'Legal Defender'
Published: 4/23/2010 5:24 PM ET
On Friday's Situation Room, CNN's Suzanne Malveaux omitted the pro-illegal immigration activism of guest Isabel Garcia. Malveaux only referenced how her guest was "legal defender of Pima County, Arizona" and that she was "also co-chair of a Tucson-based human rights group." She also omitted how Garcia participated in the beating and decapitation of a pinata effigy of Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
The CNN correspondent, filling-in for anchor Wolf Blitzer, brought on the legal defender five minutes into the 5 pm Eastern hour to discuss how Arizona Governor Jan Brewer had signed a strong anti-illegal immigration bill into law less than an hour earlier. After introducing Garcia without mentioning the name of her organization, ("The Human Rights Coalition," whose website features a logo incorporating the southwestern states into Mexico; a CNN graphic called it the "Coalition for Human Rights"), Malveaux first asked her, "The governor...said...she's not going to tolerate racial profiling....She's not going to let police officers pull somebody over because [of] the color of their skin or how they look. Do you believe the governor?"
The pro-illegal immigration activist blasted the governor new law, using a line she regularly uses comparing the enforcement of immigration laws to the Black Codes of the late 19th century in the South:
GARCIA: Absolutely not. We already have many, many examples of racial profiling, even without the law- police officers that stop people and ask them questions, in violation, really, of their Fifth Amendment rights, and they call the Border Patrol. Of course, Sheriff Arpaio has been acting on it. So, it gives us absolutely no reassurance. The only reassurance we could have received is a resounding veto of this very illegal, unconstitutional law. We're going to live in a police state, and, really, this law represents by- but the final nail of the coffin of their creation of our modern-day Black Codes- I guess we could call them our 'brown codes.' And today is truly a sad day for the state of Arizona and for the rest of this country. To pretend to deal with immigration by inflicting these kind of laws is just preposterous and irresponsible.
Garcia mentioned her longstanding beef with Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona, but Malveaux didn't bring up the controversy surrounding her participation in a 2008 protest where the pinata effigy of the law enforcement official was beaten and decapitated and she carried the figure's head down the street. The correspondent's colleague, Anderson Cooper, fairly questioned the legal defender on the incident during an October 22, 2009 segment with Arpaio.
Near the end of the interview, Malveaux asked Garcia about an answer Governor Brewer made after she signed the bill into law: "Miss Garcia...what did you make of the governor's statement, when she was asked immediately after signing this bill into law, whether or not she knew what an illegal immigrant looked like, and she said, I do not know what an illegal immigrant looks like. Was that surprising to you? Was that disturbing to you?"
The pro-illegal immigration activist actually hinted at her radical position at the end of her answer, and made an incendiary and unsubstantiated allegation about police in Arizona:
GARCIA: It's disturbing. I mean, it's not surprising because they can't tell where I was born at all, just by my appearance. And, of course, we also know that there's some very anti-immigrant elements within many of these police forces that have been dying to implement this law. Clearly, this is going to set us back a good 50 years in the State of Arizona, in terms of basic civil rights, human rights- and the resistance begins.
Malveaux replied, "Thank you very much, Miss Garcia. We appreciate your point of view here." That may be the case, as her colleague Soledad O'Brien cast a sympathetic light on the activist during her "Latino in America" miniseries in October 2009.
-Matthew Balan is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.