'Was It Fair?' ABC Attempts to Justify Anti-American Booing of Miss USA

Updated with video (14:35 EDT).

On Wednesday’s "Good Morning America," the ABC program attempted to justify and explain away the booing that Miss USA, Rachel Smith, received in Mexico City during Monday night’s Miss Universe pageant. In a tease for the segment, GMA anchor Diane Sawyer even wondered aloud, "Was it fair?"

Video (1:21): Real (2.19 MB) or Windows Media (2.49 MB), plus MP3 (376 kB)

Reporter Dan Harris insisted that the rude heckling and yelling must be understood in a broader context. He explained, "By all accounts, the booing was actually not personal. It’s actually a sign of the increasingly intense relationship between the U.S. and Mexico at a time when the immigration debate is very hot." Harris later elaborated, saying that "many Mexicans feel that U.S. uses its power to get its way in world politics and also in competitions such as this one..."

At no time did time during the segment did Harris feature anyone who disagreed with this so-called political statement from the crowd or even anyone who simply called them rude for booing a beauty pageant contestant.

He did, however, interview a left-wing Green Party activist who attempted to validate the boorish behavior:

Dan Harris: "The tensions were evident back in 2004 and 05 when Mexicans booed during soccer games against the United States. Some even chanted Osama. The resentment has only grown since then as the U.S. has sent the National Guard to help beef up border security and build a wall to keep out the immigrants. Many Mexicans are also anxious about the new immigration bill in Congress supported by President Bush that many fear would split Mexican parents from their American born children."

Nativo Lopez (President, Mexican American Political Association): "People in Mexico get a flavor of that debate and it’s irking them. And I think what occurred is an expression of their disfavor with the debate and the manner and the tone in Congress currently."

For a taste of Mr. Lopez’s politics, see his interview in Socialist Worker magazine. Notice that Harris used the phrase "keep out the immigrants" and doesn’t include the world illegal? The ABC reporter also never seemed to wonder why, if America is so hated, millions still flock across the border.

At the very end of the piece, host Diane Sawyer did utter a mild rebuke for the booing, but clearly Dan Harris felt that berating a young woman who did educational work in South Africa is a legitimate way to make a political statement.

A transcript of the segment, which aired at 7:17am on May 30, follows:

7am tease

Diane Sawyer: "Was it fair? Miss USA loudly booed at the Miss Universe pageant. Who had the breach of manners in Mexico and how much did it sting on top of that fall?"

7:17am

Robin Roberts: "We're going to switch subjects now because it's the fall heard around the world. Yes, you're going to see it again, Miss USA taking a tumble during the Miss Universe pageant in Mexico City. But if you thought that was tough, wait until you hear what Miss USA had to endure from the audience there in Mexico. You hear that? Boos, even heckling? A lot of people wondering why that type of reception. We asked Dan Harris to find out."

ABC Graphic: "Why Was America Booed? Cat Calls For Miss America"

Dan Harris: "Robin, good morning. By all accounts, the booing was actually not personal. It’s actually a sign of the increasingly intense relationship between the U.S. and Mexico at a time when the immigration debate is very hot. The boos started as soon as Miss USA., Rachel Smith from Tennessee, stepped forward for the interview round in the Miss Universe pageant in Mexico City, Monday night, which aired on NBC. But the booing and the chants of Mexico did not stop."

Rachel Smith: "When I traveled to South Africa to volunteer at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy For Girls in South Africa. I'm very passionate about education."

Donald Trump (pageant co-owner): "I don't think they were booing Rachel, Perhaps they were booing some policies of the United States."

Harris: "The tensions were evident back in 2004 and 05 when Mexicans booed during soccer games against the United States. Some even chanted Osama. The resentment has only grown since then as the U.S. has sent the National Guard to help beef up border security and build a wall to keep out the immigrants. Many Mexicans are also anxious about the new immigration bill in Congress supported by President Bush that many fear would split Mexican parents from their American born children."

Nativo Lopez (President, Mexican American Political Association): "People in Mexico get a flavor of that debate and it’s irking them. And I think what occurred is an expression of their disfavor with the debate and the manner and the tone in Congress currently."

Harris: "Rachel Smith herself has not commented. It was a tough night overall for her. She failed to capture the crown after slipping during the evening gown competition. However, she's being credited with grace under fire, during the boos which she managed to partly turn into cheers by address the crowd in Spanish."

Rachel Smith: [Briefly speaking in Spanish]

Harris: "Many Mexicans feel that U.S. uses its power to get its way in world politics and also in competitions such as this one, and they were upset that Miss Mexico did not make it to the final five, and Miss USA did, even though, Robin and Diane, she slipped and fell as we’ve seen."

Roberts: "But she showed a lot of composure."

Harris: "Yes, she did."

Diane Sawyer: "And who boos someone at a pageant like that? Really? How do you say boo back in Spanish? Really? To do that to her–"

Roberts: "Didn't the producers there try to tell the audience–"

Harris: "In the commercials, yes. They said you’re making Mexico look bad, during the commercial break."

Protesters Immigration Anti-Americanism ABC Good Morning America Video
Scott Whitlock's picture


Sponsored Links