CNN Downplays Immigant's Arrest History, Ignores Child Abuse Claims

January 24th, 2018 10:52 PM

On Tuesday and Wednesday, CNN's New Day has given sympathetic attention to the case of an immigrant from Poland -- Dr. Lukasz Niec -- who is in danger of being deported because of a combination of misdemeanors committed in 1992 combined with more recent brushes with the law, including accusations of child abuse. After initially portraying the case as just involving misdemeanors from over 25 years ago, New Day finally filled in viewers on some of his more recent brushes with the law, but ignored the abuse accusation and downplayed his other problems as mostly being "minor traffic violations."

On Tuesday's show, co-host Chris Cuomo brought up the case: "A respected doctor who has lived in the United States for almost 40 years, he has been detained by immigration officers and is facing deportation." He soon added: "His wife and sisters are asking, 'Why him?' They're fighting to keep him from being sent back to Poland, a country he does not know and where they have no family."



After Cuomo made it sound like the case was exclusively about misdemeanors he committed in 1992 as a 17-year-old, co-host Alisyn Camerota voiced her disapproval over the case: "How does this make any sense? I mean, when the administration said they were going to go after the hardened criminals, the violent criminals, how does 'moral turpitude' 25 years ago make any sense for a practicing, working doctor? I don't understand. Why is he being targeted?"

On the same day, CBS This Morning informed viewers that Dr, Niec had also pleaded guilty to a DUI in 2008, and was tried for domestic abuse against his girlfriend in 2013, but was found not guilty.

On Wednesday, CNN's New Day revisited the story. Setting up a full report by correspondent Jason Carroll, host Camerota started off by again making it sound like the case was all about the misdemeanors from 1992: "So we're hearing now from the Michigan doctor and green card holder detained by immigration officials after living in the U.S. legally for almost 40 years. Dr. Lukacz Niec came to America when he was just five years old, but he may be sent back to Poland over misdemeanors he committed 25 years ago as a teenager."

In his report, Carroll finally caught up with CBS and informed viewers of the DUI from 2008, and the 2013 domestic violence trial as he also recalled that ICE was scrutinizing him because of other run-ins with law enforcement. Although the list involved serious matters like causing a traffic accident and driving carelessly, Carroll downplayed the history as merely being "minor traffic violations." Referring to the DUI from 2008 and the 2013 trial, Carroll recalled: "Immigration officials did not cite those issues, but did say Niec came under their scrutiny due to more than a dozen minor traffic violations, including driving without a seatbelt."

But, according to a Wall Street Journal article posted Tuesday, Dr. Niec had also has been accused of child abuse -- an accusation Dr. Niec's sister and current wife both deny -- as the article recalls that "an ICE official said that the child abuse investigation factored into the agency's decision to arrest him on immigration charges."

In the afternoon, shortly before 4:00 p.m. ET, CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin ran the same report by Carroll that again downplayed Dr. Niec's history and made it sound like ICE was being heavy-handed in targeting him.