On Thursday morning, as Hallie Jackson was one of the very few MSNBC hosts who has actually made time for the Mollie Tibbetts murder case, she nevertheless allowed the segment to be dominated by dubious claims that illegal immigrants have a lower crime rate than do U.S. citizens.
At 10:50 a.m. Eastern, on MSNBC Live, after getting an update on the Tibbetts case from correspondent Ron Mott, she went to frequent MSNBC guest and former George W. Bush administration official Alfonso Aguilar to insert a left-leaning take on the issue as he referred only to studies that suggest illegal immigrants have an unusually low crime rate:
It's very sad that the President and some others are trying to use this case to continue to create this perception that undocumented immigrants are continuously committing crimes. And the reality is, if you look at statistics -- even government statistics show that undocumented immigrants commit fewer crime than the general population.
Showing on screen a study from Pew Research Center which reported that immigrants generally have a lower crime rate than native-born citizens, she followed up: "There are studies which show immigrants -- both undocumented and not -- are much less likely to commit crimes or be incarcerated than what academics call 'native-born folks.'"
But the study she showed did not make a distinction between legal immigrants and illegal immigrants. It may be the case legal immigrants -- who undergo background checks to enter the country -- have an unusually low crime rate while those who illegally sneak into the country have an unusually high rate which then cancel each other out when they are lumped together.
Jackson then posed: "Why do you think there is this misconception out there about immigrants and crime?"
Aguilar responded by blaming President Donald Trump for people believing illegals commit more crime.
Not mentioned, as previously documented by NewsBusters, was that there have been other studies which suggest illegal immigrants have a higher than average crime rate. There was even a study by the pro-immigration libertarian CATO institute which suggested illegal immigrants have higher crime rates than legal immigrants -- which is not surprising since legal immigrants go through background checks before entering the country whereas those who sneak across the border illegally do not.
Also of note, as Jackson has been one of the few MSNBC anchors who has covered the Tibbetts story at all, on Wednesday, she spent just under a minute on the case and then promised that there would be "updates throughout the day." Apparently, she had not gotten the memo that most MSNBC hosts are too far to the left to want to give airtime to such a story, and it turned out that the only update that came later in the day on Wednesday was on MSNBC Live with Craig Melvin, and even he had to include one of the network's more far-left contributors to react to the story.
Otherwise, Ayman Mohyeldin's First Look early morning show has been the only other show on MSNBC that has covered the story -- which it has done at about 5:10 a.m. on both Wednesday and Thursday this week.