On Friday night, NBC promoted leftist May Day protests against
Arizona's new immigration enforcement law while CBS, after a full week
of coverage focused on outrage against it, finally bothered to get
around to how murder and crime got the public behind it. Declaring
Arizona is "at the center of a growing storm over its tough new
immigration law," NBC anchor Brian Williams touted: "Activists across
the country are planning a series of May Day protests tomorrow against
Reporter George Lewis announced: "Those May Day protests are expected to draw hundreds of thousands of people into the streets from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., to here in Arizona," where Republican Governor Jan Brewer defends the measure even though, as if it's relevant, Arnold Schwarzenegger, does not like it: "Last night on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger disagreed with Brewer." Schwarzenegger: "I would never do that in California, passing laws like that. No way."
Over on the CBS Evening News, Bill Whitaker acknowledged "recent polls show more than 60 percent of Arizonans support the state's tough new immigration law," explaining, as if that's surprising:
If outsiders wonder why, Arizonans point to Rob Krentz. He was gunned down this month on his ranch near the border. Investigators believe his killer was an illegal immigrant or drug smuggler.
Whitaker let a county sheriff point out: "Assaults against police
officers, officer-involved shootings, home invasions, carjackings,
violent crimes, and you ask: Why is that? We can clearly point to the
flow of illegal immigrants."
Whitaker noted "Phoenix is the kidnap capital of the U.S., most tied to Mexican drug smugglers." The sherif declared: "We're not going to tolerate it anymore." And Whitaker realized what had eluded CBS (as well as ABC and NBC which have yet to take up illegal immigrant-caused crime) all week: "That widespread sentiment spurs widespread support for the new immigration law."
(On Thursday night, CNN's Anderson Cooper 360, hosted by Sanjay Gupta, devoted a full story to the Krentz murder.)
- Wednesday night: "Couric Touts San Francisco as Proof of 'Backlash Against Arizona's New Immigration Law '"
- Tuesday night: "ABC and NBC Champion 'Growing National Backlash' Against 'Laughing Stock' Arizona "
- Monday night: "CBS Again Focuses on Victims in Arizona: 'Many Feel the Sting of Racism in New Law '"
- Friday night, April 23: "CBS Frames Arizona's Anti-Illegal Alien Law Through Eyes of Opponents: 'Veto Racism '"
The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the
video to provide transcripts of the two stories from Friday night, April
NBC Nightly News:
BRIAN WILLIAMS: State of Arizona finding itself at the center of a growing storm over its tough new immigration law. Activists across the country are planning a series of May Day protests tomorrow against the law. This morning in Phoenix, the well-known local sheriff, knowing it would attract attention, was already out picking up illegal immigrants. Our own George Lewis is there tonight.
GEORGE LEWIS: Sheriff's deputies say halfway through their raid they rounded up 63 illegal immigrants. They've done this 14 times before. Critics accuse Arizona authorities of racial profiling.
SHERIFF JOE ARPAIO, MARICOPA COUNTY: We don't racial profile. I'm an equal opportunity guy. I lock everybody up. I don't care what color their skin is.
LEWIS: Latino activists are suing the state and urging Americans to boycott Arizona, even if it hurts pocketbooks here.
ALFREDO GUTIERREZ, LATINO ACTIVIST: We hope that this propels this state to the shocking realization of what their state government has done.
LEWIS: Other activists are planning marches and rallies for tomorrow. Those May Day protests are expected to draw hundreds of thousands of people into the streets from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., to here in Arizona. Republican Governor Jan Brewer, who signed the immigration law last week, today told NBC affiliate KPNX her administration will defend the measure.
GOVERNOR JAN BREWER (R-AZ): We feel it's very constitutional, and we will push back, and we will fight it in the courts.
LEWIS: Last night on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger disagreed with Brewer.
GOVERNOR ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R-CA): As governor here, I would never do that in California, passing laws like that. No way.
LEWIS: The turmoil caused by the Arizona law shows no sign of letting up. George Lewis, NBC News, Phoenix.
CBS Evening News:
KATIE COURIC: Arizona's new immigration law has touched off demonstrations all over the country. Tomorrow, rallies are planned in cities like Los Angeles, Dallas, and New York to protest the law that empowers police to demand proof from anyone that he or she is in this country legally. But, as Bill Whitaker tells us, supporters of the law are equally passionate.
BILL WHITAKER: Recent polls show more than 60 percent of Arizonans support the state's tough new immigration law. If outsiders wonder why, Arizonans point to Rob Krentz. He was gunned down this month on his ranch near the border. Investigators believe his killer was an illegal immigrant or drug smuggler. Long-simmering rage about border security became outrage.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: When something like the murder of Rob Krentz happens, it should be game on.
WHITAKER: Since the federal government tightened up the California border 15 years ago, Arizona has become the favorite illegal gateway to the U.S., 105 people caught crossing from Mexico Wednesday, almost 700,000 in the last two and a half years.
SHERIFF PAUL BABEU, PINAL COUNTY, ARIZONA: Crime is that bad here.
WHITAKER: Paul Babeu is sheriff of Pinal County just south of Phoenix.
BABEU: Assaults against police officers, officer-involved shootings, home invasions, carjackings, violent crimes, and you ask: Why is that? We can clearly point to the flow of illegal immigrants.
WHITAKER: Phoenix is the kidnap capital of the U.S., most tied to Mexican drug smugglers.
BABEU: We're not going to tolerate it anymore.
WHITAKER: That widespread sentiment spurs widespread support for the new immigration law.
MARK ALLEN, RESIDENT OF PHOENIX, ARIZONA: You can't blame all the crimes on illegal immigrants, but it's certainly not helping the matters.
MARK ZEMEL, THEFT VICTIM: This is our state. These are our borders.
WHITAKER: Mark Zemel had his vehicle stolen by smugglers ferrying immigrants across the border illegally.
ZEMEL: This bill will help Arizona. This is a safe neighborhoods act, and it is truly going to serve that purpose.
WHITAKER: But protesters out again today say the atmosphere in Arizona casts all immigrants as criminals.
PHIL GORDON, MAYOR OF PHOENIX, ARIZONA: We don't support the racism-
WHITAKER: The mayor of Phoenix plans to sue to overturn the law. He says the backlash will hurt the economy more than the law hurts real criminals.
GORDON: We're really pleading with everyone not to boycott Arizona.
WHITAKER: Both sides say this wouldn't be such a hot issue if the federal government took effective steps to stop the illegal flow, like put up the, put up the fence, or put out the National Guard.
- Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center. Click here  to follow him on Twitter.