89 Percent of Network Stories Omit Obama's Role in Causing Border Crisis
While all three networks played clips of Barack Obama on Monday blaming the GOP for the border crisis, they have been reluctant to cite the President’s own failure to enforce immigration laws as a cause for thousands of immigrants illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexican border.
From June 8 through the morning of July 1 ABC, CBS and NBC have offered a total of 45 stories on the border crisis, on their evening and morning shows, and in only 5 (11 percent) have they brought up Obama immigration policies as a possible cause for the most recent surge of illegal immigrants, including unaccompanied children, crossing the border.
On Monday night through Tuesday morning all three networks carried clips of the President pointing his finger at Congress for not passing immigration reform as his excuse to act unilaterally without them. On the June 30 edition of ABC’s World News, Jim Avila reported: “A frustrated President Obama calling these crowded cells filled with young children a humanitarian crisis that can only be fixed by immigration reform. Today announcing he can’t wait on the Republican House anymore.” Avila then played a soundbite of Obama pronouncing: “I’m beginning a new effort to fix as much of our immigration system, as I can on my own, without Congress.”
Over on the July 1 CBS This Morning, Charlie Rose told his viewers: “President Obama has vowed to fix the immigration system, even if it means going at it alone.” Before playing a clip of Obama railing against Congress, CBS’s Bill Plante noted: “The President said that because Speaker John Boehner informed him last week that the House would not vote on immigration this year, he will take action on his own.”
NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, on June 30, introduced Miguel Almaguer’s immigration story this way:
BRIAN WILLIAMS: As thousands of undocumented immigrants cross the border into this country, many of them children, the President said today he’ll no longer wait for Congress to act on broad immigration reform. He announced his intention to move on his own starting with an action to make it easier to deport people who cross the border.
BARACK OBAMA: I take executive action only when we have a serious problem, a serious issue and Congress chooses to do nothing. And in this situation, the failure of House Republicans to pass a darn bill is bad for our security, it’s bad for our economy, and it’s bad for our future.
From extending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to not deporting 24,000 children that were detained last year the Big Three networks have, for the most part, failed to report the ways the Obama administration has encouraged the flow of illegal immigrants.
From June 8 through July 1 Obama’s immigration policies have been cited as a possible cause for the latest influx of illegals in just five total stories. CBS had the most amount of border stories with 22 and in two of those stories brought up Obama immigration policy as a possible cause but only to knock down those theories.
NBC News came in second with 14 total stories on the border crisis and brought up immigration policy as a contributing factor in two of them.
ABC News came in last, having covered the border crisis in 9 total stories. Obama’s immigration policies were cited as a possible cause in just one June 20 Ryan Smith brief on Good Morning America.
— Geoffrey Dickens is Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center. Follow Geoffrey Dickens on Twitter.