CNN's Cooper invited Beck to discuss immigration; ignored Beck's past statements on immigrants, MexicansMay 9, 2006 1:01 PM EDT ››› BEN ARMBRUSTER
On the May 8 edition of CNN's Anderson Cooper 360, Cooper interviewed recent CNN hire Glenn Beck to discuss immigration, claiming that Beck is "hearing a lot on the subject" as a nationally syndicated radio talk show host. Even though Beck asserted during the interview that he has "no problem with immigrants coming in" to the United States, Cooper neither noted nor asked Beck about comments he has recently made regarding illegal immigrants, Mexicans, and Mexico.
For example, as Media Matters for America has documented:
- Commenting on immigration protests, Beck stated that Mexico "is a country that has been overtaken by lawbreakers from the bottom to the top. And now, what you're protesting for is to have lawbreakers come here."
- Responding to criticism of his remarks on immigration protests, Beck claimed "[I] pretty much stand by" the assertion that "Mexico is run by nothing but criminals."
- Regarding immigrants entering illegally from Mexico, Beck said that either "they're terrorists," "they're escaping the law," or "[t]hey can't make a living in their own dirtbag country."
Most recently, on his May 5 nationally syndicated radio show, Beck aired a mock commercial for a fictional amusement park called "Cinco de Flag," that touted rides such as the "tractor-trailer run," in which "[w]e simulate an 18-wheeler full of illegal immigrants trying to cross the border when the INS [Immigration and Naturalization Service] breaks in." The mock commercial also advertised the "craziest ride ever to come to Mexico: a job application!" The commercial added: "Feel the exhilaration of what it would actually be like to apply for and get a job in Mexico. Imagine the rush of an economy that won't make residents of its country prefer a life away from family while running from the law." After the commercial ended, Beck played the 1958 song "Tequila" by The Champs in celebration of Cinco de Mayo, referring to it as the "Mexican national anthem," and added, "of course, we changed the words to English."
As Media Matters also recently noted, Beck responded with falsehoods when CNN co-host Soledad O'Brien confronted him on the May 5 edition of American Morning regarding some of Beck's more egregious statements.
From the May 8 edition of CNN's Anderson Cooper 360:
COOPER: Well, as nationally syndicated radio talk show host Glenn Beck hears from thousands of Americans daily, and he's hearing a lot on the subject of illegal immigration. He's also the host of his own program, debuted tonight at 7 p.m. Eastern on CNN Headline News. We spoke earlier tonight.
[begin video clip]
COOPER: Does it surprise you that sympathy for illegal immigrants would drop?
BECK: No, because, I mean, I think for too long people were ignoring the word "illegal." I mean, the whole argument was framed seemingly to give -- have you give sympathy to immigrants. Nobody was ever against immigrants, as I saw it. I mean, immigrants built this country. I mean -- seal the border, make the wall stronger, but open the door wider, you know? There are people who are standing in line to get in here. And it's a nightmare to get in.
COOPER: Yes, it's very, very difficult just to legally get in. But on the one hand, people from this poll are saying that sympathy has dropped for them, the more they've seen these demonstrations. And yet, the number of people, the percentage of Americans who want some form of citizenship or amnesty program for illegals seems very high.
BECK: Because -- well, I don't agree with the amnesty part, but I have no problem with immigrants coming in, you know? I don't understand the argument here for people coming in and breaking the law. You know, part of the deal is, I mean, how can you not have sympathy for somebody who's coming across the border because they're just trying to feed their family, you know? So you can relate to that on a human level.
But then, when you see people come in here, then I think the rest of us all kind of look at it and say, well, wait a minute, they're in these social programs that we have, we're educating, et cetera, et cetera. Many don't want to even speak English. You know, the melting pot theory that I grew up, being taught by my parents, has kind of dissipated.
COOPER: So you think that more people have seen demonstrations where there are Mexican flags and people --
BECK: The more they think that they're just trying to bring Mexico into the United States. Well, I mean, you want Mexico, live in Mexico. We're the United States. And you can bring pieces of that and make us stronger, but, I mean, if Mexico was so great, why are you trying to leave?
COOPER: And yet, I mean, it does seem some sort of a contradiction if people say tighten the borders in these polls, tighten the borders. They're dropping the sympathy for them, and yet 81 percent or, depending on how you ask the question, 72 percent favor some form of citizenship.
BECK: It's not the person who is trying to feed their family that's coming across the border that hacks me off. It's our government and the companies that are abusing these people. I mean, how is it people can actually say, "Oh, we're -- you know, we're doing right by these immigrants coming in here illegally."
Are you kidding me? The jobs that Americans don't want are the ones where you're working in places where OSHA would shut you down. You know, you're picking strawberries for $2 an hour, and they're working you 18 hours a day. Well, no, I don't want that job. I don't think we should give that job to Mexicans either. You know? We should pay the price for strawberries. If that is a little bit more, then it's a little more, but let's treat people right.
[end video clip]
COOPER: Well, yet another take on immigration coming up. Safe to say you'd never see this one coming, kind of a tribute to a certain other CNN personality. We'll give you a hint. Think lots and lots of Mexican babies named Lou. Details on that just ahead.