NBC’s Holt to Border Patrol Agent: Do You ‘Feel Like the Bad Guy’?

The liberal media’s shrill condemnation of President Trump’s zero-tolerance border enforcement policy reached a fever pitch on Monday as the broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) dedicated massive amounts of time to hyperbolic assertions about the issue. The coverage from NBC Nightly News was arguably out of control seeing as anchor Lester Host asked a Border Patrol agent if he understood he was the "bad guy."

Holt’s ridiculously leading question came during NBC’s eight-minute and nine seconds-long marathon of reports dedicated to the President’s immigration policies. “[Do] you feel like the bad guy in this to some extent? I mean, you are the instrument of a policy that is obviously very controversial right now,” Holt lectured. The way the question was asked was meant to convey how they planned to paint the Border Patrol.

I feel that the option of not doing anything is going to worsen the situation. So I think we have to work with what we have right now and hopefully get the immigration laws redone,” Manuel Padilla Jr., chief of the Rio Grande Valley Sector of Customs and Border Protection expertly countered.

This swipe at Border Patrol by NBC came after the network failed to report on an agent who was ambushed, shot, and forced to field treat his own wounds. Instead, they hyped a raccoon who climbed a building.

The melodramatic language was flying from the very start of the show. NBC was broadcasting from McAllen, Texas, a southern border town, or as Holt called it: “[T]he intersection where rigid government policy and human compassion collide with the children of migrants at the center.”

 

 

Parents criminally charged, their children taken from them, all in the name of zero tolerance,” Holt lamented while pushing the dubious accusation that kids were being kept in cages and “dog kennels.” He also hyped audio of “kids crying for their parents released by a civil rights attorney, given to her by a client,” before being forced to admit “the audio is not verified by NBC News.

The NBC anchor also bemoaned how “our cameras are being barred from showing you what's happening inside these facilities where children are being held. The only video you're seeing is what we get from the government and what they have allowed us to see.” He and the other networks framed it as though the government was trying to hide something and never make the connection that it might have something to do with the fact that many minors were housed there.

Despite the fact the children were being cared for, NBC did everything in their power to paint the situation as though they were living in a house of horrors. Holt spoke with Dr. Colleen Kraft of the American Academy of Pediatrics who claimed the workers were not allowed to pick up or comfort the kids. And she clearly stated she didn’t think it was hyperbole to describe it as “government-sanctioned child abuse.

NBC even touted comparisons to America’s heinous internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII. They also hyped the tasteless comparison by Connecticut Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal who suggested it “reminds us of the cattle cars of Nazi Germany when children were separated from their parents. It reminds us of the Japanese internment camps.

Holt wrapped up the program with a sanctimonious lecture about how “[w]hat is happening here is testing our better angels on multiple fronts, challenging our competing values of protecting our sovereignty and honoring our hearts.

The relevant portions of the transcript are below, click "expand" to read:

 

Sign Up for MRC Newsletters!

 

NBC Nightly News
June 18, 2018
7:01:34 PM Eastern

LESTER HOLT: Good evening from McAllen, Texas, in the shadow of the U.S.-Mexico border, and now the intersection where rigid government policy and human compassion collide with the children of migrants at the center. Tonight, we see and for the first time hear what is happening to those, many of those families picked up along this stretch of border, kept in chain link cage-like structures inside this country's largest deportation immigration processing facility.

Many of those families separated. Parents criminally charged, their children taken from them, all in the name of zero tolerance. A policy tonight that is the object of a growing bipartisan outcry.

[Cuts to video]

Tonight these heartbreaking images from the southern border are sparking growing outrage. Thousands of migrant children being separated from their parents. And now, newly released audio. You can hear their desperation

[Clip of audio]

HOLT: Kids crying for their parents released by a civil rights attorney, given to her by a client. The audio is not verified by NBC News.

(…)

HOLT: This is the epicenter of the border battle. A 77,000 square-foot processing center here in McAllen. Tonight, there are new images from inside. Our cameras weren't allowed in, but video filmed by Customs and Border Protection show migrants held in chain fence walls, sleeping on mattresses on the floor, covered by the Mylar blankets often used by marathon runners.

(…)

HOLT: Manuel Padilla Jr. is the region’s Border Patrol chief and oversees the facility. We met up with him on the border.

[Do] you feel like the bad guy in this to some extent? I mean, you are the instrument of a policy that is obviously very controversial right now.

MANUEL PADILLA: I feel that the option of not doing anything is going to worsen the situation. So I think we have to work with what we have right now and hopefully get the immigration laws redone.

(…)

HOLT: And there was a chorus of criticism from all former first ladies, including Laura Bush writing a blistering op-ed calling the policy “cruel” and “immoral,” and writing that the images from the border are “eerily reminiscent of the Japanese American internment camps of World War II.”

DR. COLLEEN KRAFT: These workers are not allowed to pick up children, and they're not allowed to console or comfort them.

HOLT: Dr. Colleen Kraft is a pediatrician and recently toured one of the shelters here. Is it hyperbole to call this a form of child abuse?

KRAFT: I would not call that hyperbole at all. I mean, this is government-sanctioned child abuse. We are putting these children in a very dangerous situation because we're removing the one most-important buffer in their life, and that is their parents.

[Cuts back to live]

HOLT: Just to reiterate, our cameras are being barred from showing you what's happening inside these facilities where children are being held. The only video you're seeing is what we get from the government and what they have allowed us to see. But our colleague Jacob Soboroff has been inside, one of the few journalists allowed in. Jacob, take us inside. What were the things that immediately stood out to you when you were in there?

JACOB SOBOROFF: There's so much debate, Lester, over whether or not there are cages in there. Before I went in, that's what everybody was talking about. It’s the first thing that you noticed. They look like dog kennels. And to see human beings inside there. It’s not just adults, it’s not just families, but it's an increasing amount of children every single day because of this separation policy. And there are those Mylar blankets you mentioned, the mattresses on the floor. It's not just them -- the stress is on the Border Patrol agents, on the four social workers responsible for hundreds of children, and it's only getting more crowded every single day.

(…)

KRISTEN WELKER: The president tweeting “change the laws,” but there is no law requiring families to be separated, only the zero-tolerance policy that's prompting it. So what's the President talking about? There is a law against crossing the border illegally. The administration argues that opens a loophole to let adults with kids be released after a few days. It's been a problem dating back multiple administrations. But former Presidents Bush and Obama didn't separate families in similar situations.

(…)

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL: This policy of family separation reminds us of the cattle cars of Nazi Germany when children were separated from their parents. It reminds us of the Japanese internment camps.

(…)

7:27:56 PM Eastern

HOLT: Finally tonight, the immigration conundrum. A nation of laws and a nation that values order but also one that takes pride in its compassion and its heart and its love of family. There's nothing political about wincing or shedding a tear at the sight of a child left alone. One caught up in a dizzying circumstance not of their own making and crying for their families. And yet it's naive to suggest politics is to not extent at the core of our dilemma. What is happening here is testing our better angels on multiple fronts, challenging our competing values of protecting our sovereignty and honoring our hearts. As the local Border Patrol chief me here today, it's complicated and many-layered, to which I thought to myself isn't that the way it is with most matters of the heart.


Please support NewsBusters today! (a 501c3 non-profit production of the Media Research Center)

DONATE
CyberAlerts Immigration Bias by Omission Conspiracy Theories Labeling Political Groups Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Broadcast Television NBC NBC Nightly News Video Lester Holt Donald Trump