Columnist Al Hunt Mangles GOP Congressman's Analogy on Immigrants and Bird Dogs

March 8th, 2013 12:08 AM

Liberal columnists don't need much information to brand Republicans as extremists. Among their meager requirements are an analogy taken out of context or a false extrapolation of something a GOP official said.

A recent example of this is an article by Bloomberg News Washington editor Al Hunt, who twisted a remark made by Rep. Steve King to declare the Iowa Republican a “fringe fanatic” because he said the United States gets “the cream of the crop” of legal immigrants and compared that to getting “the pick of the litter” when choosing a bird dog.

Entitled “A Struggle for Control of Republican Party,” Hunt's column states that several extremists “play a role in defining the party” and that “many of them express a vitriolic dislike of President Barack Obama that turns off possible Republican voters.”

Without backing up that bizarre claim, Hunt went about listing examples of GOP extremists, starting with Rep. King, who is “unrelenting in his criticism of the president” and considers what happened on Sep. 11, 2012, in Benghazi, Libya, “a lot bigger” than other scandals, “at least 10 times bigger than Watergate and Iran-Contra combined.”

Hunt then turned his attention to a comment the GOP official made at a town hall meeting regarding immigrants.

Mr. King has made a name for himself with anti-immigrant rants. Last year, he said Americans should select eligible immigrants the same way they would go about picking a “good bird dog.” That means choosing “the one that’s the friskiest, the one that’s engaged the most, and not the one that’s over there sleeping in the corner.”

He later explained that he meant this as a compliment -- he likes bird dogs.

Here's what King actually said:

You put out a beacon like the Statue of Liberty, and who comes here? The most vigorous from every country that has donated legal immigrants to the United States of America. We've got the cream of the crop.

“You know, we always had bird dogs around our place,” King continued, and he used that analogy to immigration to describe how to select a good bird dog by picking “the one that's the friskiest, the one that's engaged the most and not the one that's over there sleeping in the corner.”

Well, we've got the pick of every donor civilization on the planet because it's hard to get here. They had to be inspired to come. We got the vigor from the planet to come to America.

The word “rant” is defined as “to speak or declaim extravagantly or violently; talk in a wild or vehement way; rave.”

Whether or not you agree with King's analogy, it definitely doesn't qualify as an extravagant or violent “rant.” In addition, nowhere in his statement does he indicate that people should not be allowed to move into the country, so Hunt is also wrong in claiming the GOP congressman is “anti-immigrant.”

On top of that, King never said or implied that "Americans should select” certain people to be allowed to enter the country. Instead, he stated that “it's hard to get here” but many persons have made it through the lengthy legal immigration process to become functioning and productive members of society.

According to Larry O'Conner of, the disagreement continued in a series of emails that the news website obtained in which Hunt refused to correct the record or allow King's side of the argument to be given equal exposure.

“The readers at Bloomberg don't deserve the right to hear King's version of the events,” O'Conner stated.. “It's Hunt's way or no way.”

In an email from Hunt on Feb. 26, the liberal columnist stated: “I believe that paralleling immigrants to bird dogs is an 'anti-immigrant rant.'”

Whatever your intent, you were quoted accurately and not out of context. I am unaware of any dog, frisky or sleepy, heeding the call of the Statue of Liberty.

O'Conner responded that King was not using a parallel in his remarks. Instead, he was making an analogy, which is defined as “a comparison of something with something else to assist understanding.” In other words, it was a metaphor.

But then again, this is not the first time that a partisan media liberal has had trouble understanding a metaphor. MSNBC ranter Chris Matthews in 2004 pulled the exact same stunt on Zell Miller, taking issue with the Georgia senator’s choice of words to criticize Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry’s approach to defense spending. The moment is a television classic as Miller would not tolerate Matthews’s deliberate twisting of his words:

As NewsBusters previously reported, Hunt hasn't been shy about expressing his opinion or giving out advice. In April of 2010, he attacked members of the Tea Party by declaring “that's not America.”

Later that year, Hunt stated that calls to rein in the federal government "are not very rational."

I'm always fascinated when liberals give advice to the Grand Old Party. Usually, the Republicans are told they should simply abandon their principles on things like abortion or same-sex marriage, but if that doesn't happen, the Democrats are more than happy to insult or demean their “extreme” GOP counterparts.