On April 10, left-wing organizations held a massive rally in Washington and other cities, demanding rights (and taxpayer benefits) for illegal aliens, and the liberal media couldn't have been more excited. The networks had multiple stories, going from city to city, and breathless phrase to breathless phrase. CBS anchor Bob Schieffer played the worn cliche card: "Not since the protests of the Vietnam era has there been anything quite like it."
Bet $10 that CBS has said that about just about every large liberal protest they've covered. If that wasn't enough to convince you, CBS also used on-screen graphics with earth-shaking metaphors like "Awakening Giant" to describe the protesters.
ABC's Elizabeth Vargas opened with an accurate lead: "We begin with an unprecedented show of support for America's illegal immigrants." On NBC, reporter Lester Holt also noted the illegal aliens' list of demands: "From border states like here in Arizona to unlikely places like South Bend, Ind., and Harrisburg, Pa., illegal immigrants alongside their supporters stepped from the shadows. Marching under the American flag, they demanded a place at the American table."
But CBS's Schieffer couldn't manage to squeeze in the word "illegal" in his introduction of the cheat-the-system protesters.
CBS morning host Harry Smith oozed over thousands of flag-waving protesters "draped in the American Dream." CNN political analyst Bill Schneider embarrassed himself by going where even most liberal reporters wouldn't go, claiming the rally crowds were "spontaneous," not organized, a sign of a "new consciousness" raised in the "Hispanic community."
None of these stories seemed to make time for an opposing point of view: namely, since when is legislation before Congress to be moved by illegal immigrants? Why should people's votes for members of Congress be symbolically canceled out by cheaters gloriously emerging "out of the shadows"?
Were these protesters a representative slice of America? Not even close. The USA Today-Gallup poll asked whether illegal immigration is "out of control" or "not out of control." Fully 81 percent said, "out of control." Fox News asked how serious illegal immigration was as a problem: 60 percent said very serious, 30 percent said somewhat serious. That's nine out of 10. These protesters represented the fringe -- loud and organized, maybe, but the fringe.
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