MSNBC Applies 'Illegal' to Trump Actions But Not Illegal Immigrants

April 13th, 2019 3:39 PM

On Friday's MSNBC Live with Katy Tur, as fill-in anchor Chris Jansing hosted a discussion on President Donald Trump talking about possibly sending illegal immigrants to sanctuary cities instead of releasing them near the border, the group of mostly MSNBC reporters and contributors repeatedly used the word "illegal" to prejudge such an action as well as label other previous actions by the administration, even while refusing to apply the word to describe the illegal immigrants they were discussing.

Correspondent Jacob Soboroff even complained about separating families being illegal even though, at the time it was done, it was in line with established legal precedent until a liberal judge questionably blocked the practice. Jansing led the show:



It is 11 a.m. out West, 2 p.m. here in Washington, where an immigration plan that government officials scuttled because it was, quote, "so illegal," could be back on. The Washington Post first reported that the President and his top aides weighed whether to release migrant detainees in sanctuary cities -- cities represented largely, by the way, by Democratic lawmakers and cities Trump criticized both before and after becoming President.

After the MSNBC host refused to forthrightly label illegal aliens as "illegal," several clips of President Donald Trump were played in which he used the term "criminal aliens" a couple of times, which is not the same as the host using the accurate descriptor herself without qualification.

Jansing then recalled reports that the administration had decided not to pursue the action, followed by the development that President Trump himself tweeted that it was still a possibility. The only time the words "illegal" and "immigrants" were placed next to each other by Jansing or any other panel member was when she was reading a direct quote from one of President Trump's tweets.

Another key moment when Jansing failed to identify the immigration question at issue as "illegal" came at the end of her introduction: "So the big question we're asking today is: How far is the Trump administration willing to go to curb immigration?"

It also took 12 minutes into the 14-and-a-half-minute segment before the preferred liberal term of "undocumented" was even uttered by any of the panel members when it was spoken by Soboroff.

Panel members including Jansing, Soboroff, correspondent Julia Ainsley, and contributor Peter Baker used the word "illegal" a total of 20 times to refer to activities or potential activities by the Trump administration while such references as "immigration," "migrants," and "family units" omitted the word "illegal" even though illegally crossing the border is the reason most immigrants are being detained.

Without clarifying that placing children in HHS custody while their parents were being prosecuted for illegal entry was in line with established legal precedent when it was done, Soboroff misleadingly recounted:

How many times have they done something that was deemed illegal by the courts? Even though they know this is illegal, they're still floating it out there. Separation policy: illegal. You know, making people remain in Mexico: illegal. Here's the latest in a long line of controversial, extreme immigration policies that they know are illegal, but they're putting them out there because this is what the President wants people to know.

Toward the end of the segment, Ainsley brought up the issue of asylum seekers getting special protection without noting that the overwhelming majority of asylum seekers from Central American countries have had their claims rejected, even during the Obama administration.