Broadcast Nets Again Champion Cause of Protest Marches on Behalf of Illegals

All three broadcast network evening newscasts led Monday night with multiple favorable stories about the day of protests to promote the cause of illegal aliens. Bob Schieffer opened the CBS Evening News by trumpeting: “From coast to coast, from north to south, they wanted us to know what America would be like without them and so millions of immigrants missed work, skipped school and marched in the streets. They want America to find a place for those who came here illegally and it's too soon to know if they changed any minds in Congress. But what we do know is that construction sites shut down, hundreds of restaurants and many small businesses closed across the country...”

ABC's Elizabeth Vargas touted how “altogether, close to a million people took to the streets in more than 30 cities. And that number could still rise. It was the newest wave of protests against legislation that would increase the penalties for being in the U.S. illegally. Tonight, we have reports from around the country,” including a piece on a “man in San Antonio, Texas, who broke decades of tradition” -- for 29 years never missing a day of work -- “to make his own statement." Over on the NBC Nightly News, which put six reporters on the story, Brian Williams heralded how “we've been covering a major story unfolding all day,” showcasing video of “solid people for blocks.” Williams concluded that “the protests worked in many cases. Stores closed as workers headed out the door, and live television covered it all, all day long. We have comprehensive coverage tonight from coast to coast...” (Partial transcripts follow)

Three weeks ago, my April 10 NewsBusters item, “Networks Champion Cause of 'Americans' Marching for 'Immigration Reform,'” recounted how the “three broadcast networks led Monday night with multiple stories which celebrated the protest marches held by illegal immigrants and their supporters, with all three featuring sympathetic anecdotes about the plight of those here illegally.”

How ABC, CBS and NBC opened their May 1 evening newscasts, leads which reflect the nearly all positive coverage which followed:

CBS Evening News. The tease:
“I'm Bob Schieffer. They left their jobs and took to the streets to show us what America would be like without millions of immigrant workers. So we'll start in the streets tonight...”
Schieffer began:
“Good evening. From coast to coast, from north to south, they wanted us to know what America would be like without them and so millions of immigrants missed work, skipped school and marched in the streets. They want America to find a place for those who came here illegally and it's too soon to know if they changed any minds in Congress. But what we do know is that construction sites shut down, hundreds of restaurants and many small businesses closed across the country. We start tonight with national correspondent Byron Pitts in Chicago...”
Schieffer later blamed the protests, in part, for President Bush's low popularity:
"These demonstrations were just more bad news for an administration that does not seem to get much good news any more. A CBS News poll out tonight shows that 71 percent of those polled now believe America is heading in the wrong direction. That is the highest number since CBS News first asked that question nearly 25 years ago. The President gets low marks on handling immigration and especially on rising gas prices. Only 17 percent approve of his handling of that one."
See this earlier NewsBusters item tonight for more on the poll.

ABC's World News Tonight. The tease:

“I'm Elizabeth Vargas. Tonight, the nation's illegal immigrants try to show America how essential they are by filling the streets instead of going to work. We'll measure the impact.”
Vargas opened:
“Good evening. We begin with an economic show of force by America's illegal immigrants. Today, hundred of thousand demonstrated around the country, instead of going to work. In some areas, they also boycotted businesses. They wanted to show America how much the country and the economy depend on undocumented workers. Altogether, close to a million people took to the streets in more than 30 cities. And that number could still rise. It was the newest wave of protests against legislation that would increase the penalties for being in the U.S. illegally. Tonight, we have reports from around the country. We begin with ABC's Miguel Marquez in Los Angeles....”


NBC Nightly News. The tease from Brian Williams:
“Whose America? Tonight, from coast to coast, the marches. Immigrants and their allies take to the streets. Mass rallies on what they call a day without immigrants. The goal: To show how much the nation relies on them. And the impact : What would happen if America's immigrants didn't come to work?”
Williams led:
“Good evening. We've been covering a major story unfolding all day. Organizers of a national protest called this a day without immigrants. They called on people to walk off their jobs and walk into the streets today in a massive national demonstration to call attention to a red-hot issue. There were large protests planned in upwards of 75 cities across this country. This was the scene [helicopter video] at the height of it all in San Francisco: Solid people for blocks. The day was sparked by legislation that's tied up in Congress currently and demands by immigrant groups that they be allowed to work legally and become citizens in this country. The protests worked in many cases. Stores closed as workers headed out the door, and live television covered it all, all day long. We have comprehensive coverage tonight from coast to coast. We begin tonight by setting the scene in cities across this country where today protesters filled the streets. NBC's Kevin Tibbles starts us off in Chicago, tonight...”
Immigration NBC Nightly News CBS Evening News
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