On Monday, CNN.com published an article by CNN's Senior Congressional Producer Deirdre Walsh titled "Republicans ignoring their own advice on immigration". Though it is apparently meant to be a news article, it comes across as an editorial written by a pro-amnesty activist who is upset that the American people were able to stop Congress from passing a bill that would allow millions of foreigners to get away with violating U.S. sovereignty. On top of that, the article contains a number of factual errors, as detailed below. I have sent inquires to both the article's author and CNN.com about the errors, and should they be corrected, this post will be updated.
Here are the obvious factual errors:
1) The journalist wrote that the House GOP passed a bill requiring deportation of "children born in the United States to parents who entered the country illegally". This is not even close to being correct. The DACA-related bill has nothing to do with children born in the United States. Instead, the bill would defund DACA so that illegal immigrants who enter the United States are unable to take advantage of the controversial and lawless program. The writer seems unaware that children born to illegal aliens in the United States are already U.S. citizens. (Of course, there's a strong argument that they should not be.) The way the article is written, it seems the journalist did not take the time to read the DACA guidelines or the House bill.
It is also important to remember that Obama's lawless DACA program has nothing to do with the child-parent relationship. Illegal immigrants who claim to have entered before age 16 and who meet other criteria can benefit — they do not have to have been "brought" here by their parents. In fact, the illegal alien's parents could still be in their home country.
UPDATE: The article was edited to describe the House bill as one that would "prevent the president from renewing deportation deferments — or granting new ones — for the roughly 600,000 young people brought into the country illegally by undocumented immigrant parents."
While this is better than the original description, it is still not very accurate. Again, DACA does not require that applicants be "brought into the country", nor must the parents be "undocumented". But this is an example of how the media makes amnesty more palatable by fudging the facts. An illegal alien who was "brought here through no fault of his own" is generally not going to be considered morally culpable. Such a description might even invoke some sympathy. But DACA also benefits people who willingly and knowingly entered on their own volition. The word "brought" appears nowhere in the Obama administration's guidelines. This "brought here through no fault of their own" language is an activist myth that has been fully embraced by journalists who are either happy to spread the activist agenda or too lazy to do some research.
It is also interesting to note that even though pro-amnesty media outlets like to claim that DACA recipients should not be considered legally or morally culpable, and even though such a claim implies that the parents who brought them here are, in fact, legally and morally culpable, the same media outlets do not address the culpability of the parents when discussing the possibility that Obama might expand his lawless program to cover the parents as well. This CNN article is a perfect example. Nowhere in the article is there any language from the writer explaining that expanding DACA to cover the law-breaking parents might be unjustifiable.
As a side note, the other problem with errors like this is that, even when CNN updates an article, the changes are not necessarily going to be made by other media outlets that have cut-and-pasted the original error-filled article. See here, for example.
2) The article states that there are "11 million undocumented workers" in the United States. In reality, only seven to eight million of the nation's 11 to 12 million illegal immigrants are working. By using activist terminology, the writer has allowed a factual error to be published on CNN.com. Had she simply written the legally accurate phase "11 million illegal aliens" the author could have avoided the error.
3) The article makes a similar error in the very first sentence by claiming that President Obama's potential unilateral amnesty would benefit "millions of undocumented workers" when, in reality, it would likely benefit millions of non-working illegal immigrants. Again, use of activist terminology has resulted in a misleading statement, and it has the effect of marginalizing the size of the action Obama may undertake while simultaneously making it more appealing. Legalizing workers sounds better than amnestying millions of non-working illegal immigrants.
Aside from the errors, perhaps the bigger problem with the article is that it is basically a one-sided effort to push the GOP into supporting amnesty by highlighting some arguments made by pro-amnesty advocates. The headline claims that Republicans are "ignoring their own advice on immigration", but it is unclear what this journalist thinks that means. She cites a number of pro-amnesty Republicans and activists and she seems to believe that these voices are the only legitimate "advice" that the GOP is receiving. Implicit in this article is the notion that Republicans should not take the advice of pro-sovereignty Republicans and anti-amnesty groups.
The article is more of an editorial or opinion piece. It's not a report. But it is presented as a news article.
The notion that these politicians who are refusing to vote for amnesty might simply be listening to their constituents apparently never crossed the reporter's mind. It appears that CNN, or at least this reporter, believes that politicians should be listening to inside-the-beltway lobbyists and pro-amnesty politicians selected by CNN instead of to the voters.
The article quotes seven different amnesty supporters: President Obama; Carlos Gutierrez, former commerce secretary for George W. Bush; Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) who, as CNN describes, "was one of 11 House Republicans to oppose the House bill"; Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), who "also voted against that bill"; Henry Barbour, nephew of Haley Barbour, who authored a report for the RNC last year in which he wrote that the GOP "must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform"; Leslie Sanchez, a relatively pro-amnesty Republican strategist who once pushed "reform" by calling for "a spirited champion like the late Senator Ted Kennedy who can bring people together"; and the pro-amnesty Wall Street Journal, which recently authored an editorial — quoted by CNN — arguing that the GOP appears like a "party whose preoccupation is deporting children".
The CNN article also glowingly references pro-amnesty Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and briefly Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), but without any analysis; neither opposes mass legalization.
On the other side of the debate, Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) was quoted as opposing Obama's unilateral amnesty — which was the only true counterpoint in the entire article. Of course, Boehner is still understood to be generally supportive of amnesty. The article mentions Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) — an actual amnesty opponent — but includes no quote or explanation of his views on immigration; instead it mentions he was "confronted" by an illegal alien and that this was a "dust-up" that the Democrats and others are attempting to use "to paint the GOP as more extreme on immigration." The article doesn't give any details about the conversation between King and the illegal alien; readers are just supposed to be left with the impression that King's un-described position must be wrong. (Watch the encounter here.)
The only amnesty opponent actually quoted is Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), but the quote is about race and politics and from an interview on Laura Ingraham's show. CNN made no effort to describe his immigration position. The article also briefly mentions Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), described as a "tea party hero", but offers no quote.
Again, this one-sided view of the immigration debate might be fine if the article were an opinion piece. A legitimate news article, on the other hand, would look at the whole picture. Unfortunately, there isn't any effort on the part of CNN to question whether President Obama has the authority to unilaterally legalize millions of illegal aliens. The article does not even hint at the idea that perhaps such an act would upset the separation of powers, undermine the Constitution, and harm the Republic.
If the article's remaining errors are corrected, this blog post will be updated.