June 29, 2007

Bias in Coverage of Immigration-Bill Failure Extends to Protecting Ted ‘Gestapo’ Kennedy

One doesn’t have to look very far to see opinionated assertions in the supposedly objective Old Media coverage of yesterday’s immigration-bill failure in the Senate.

Here’s part of what an unbylined AP report said almost immediately after it was clear that the bill would not get the 60 votes needed for cloture:

The carefully crafted compromise was left for dead after a similar vote three weeks ago but was revived by Bush and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, who gave opponents more chances to change it.

To say that there is disagreement over whether the bill was “carefully crafted” is quite an understatement.

A report in the Seattle Times “compiled from The Washington Post, Gannett News Service, The Associated Press and McClatchy Newspapers” made this claim about yesterday’s vote:

In a mark of lawmakers’ ambivalence, however, the outcome was substantially different from a test vote Tuesday, when a 64-35 vote revived the bill.

Was it lawmaker “ambivalence,” or constituent persuasiveness? And how do they know?

But the biggest error, as often is the case, was one of omission.

Senator Ted Kennedy from Massachusetts lit into opponents on the Senate floor yesterday with this over-the-top riff (video is at Hot Air; bold is mine):

….. We know what they’re against, we don’t know what they’re for. Time and time again they tell us “We don’t like this provision, we don’t like that provision, we don’t want that part. Well they ought to be able to explain to the American people what they are for.

What are they going to do with the twelve and a half million who are undocumented here? Send them back? Send them back to countries around the world? More than $250 billion dollars, buses that would go from Los Angeles to New York and back again. Try and find them, develop a type of Gestapo here to seek out these people that are in the shadows. That’s their alternative?

Based on this Google News search on “Kennedy Gestapo” (without quotes), only the New York Times (may require free registration) and its sister publication the International Herald Tribune among Old Media outlets reported the Senator’s outburst. The Times reported an abbreviated version of what Kennedy said (without ellipses) at the end of its article, while the IHT, to its credit, gave it context:

The debate just before the vote Thursday was intense, and even personal.

“We know what they’re against. We don’t know what they’re for,” Senator Edward Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, said of the bill’s opponents. Perhaps, he suggested, the bill’s opponents envision some kind of “gestapo” to round up illegal immigrants.

“That’s their alternative?” Kennedy shouted. “That’s their alternative?”

I highly doubt that a conservative reference likening liberal opponents to Gestapo would get the scant coverage Kennedy’s hit on immigration-bill opponents received.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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1 Comment

  1. To answer Ted Kennedy’s question, we’re for securing the borders FIRST! We’re for enforcing the laws we already have. The whole reason we have this mess is that they’re derelict in doing so. When it’s actually done, we can then talk about those who are here illegally. Otherwise, as John Gibson has said, we’ll have to worry about 24 million instead of 12 million.

    Comment by Doug — June 29, 2007 @ 4:12 pm

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