CNN roundtable on Bush immigration speech included five white men, but no progressives or LatinosMay 16, 2006 3:06 PM EDT ››› JOSH KALVEN
Following President Bush's May 15 televised address on immigration, CNN aired a special edition of Lou Dobbs Tonight that consisted largely of a roundtable discussion moderated by show host Lou Dobbs, with four other white men as guests: conservative syndicated columnist Tony Blankley, Republican strategist Charlie Black, CNN senior political analyst and American Enterprise Institute resident fellow William Schneider, and CNN host Wolf Blitzer. Missing from the discussion was the perspective of a Democrat, a progressive, a woman, or a Latino.
The special edition of Lou Dobbs Tonight lasted about 35 minutes and mostly featured the discussion with Dobbs, Blankley, Black, Schneider, and Blitzer. On four occasions during the program, Dobbs broke from the roundtable discussion to conduct brief interviews. First, he turned to CNN senior political correspondent John Roberts, who discussed the political motivations behind the prime-time presidential address. Later, Dobbs asked CNN correspondent Lisa Sylvester to talk about the response on Capitol Hill. Sylvester played clips of two Republicans -- Reps. Rick Renzi (AZ) and Tom Tancredo (CO) -- commenting on the speech, but not a single Democrat. Dobbs also interviewed Rick Flores, sheriff of Webb County, Texas. While Flores is a Latino, he appeared as a representative of law-enforcement officers working near the Mexican border. Finally, Dobbs spoke with Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ), a vocal supporter of the more punitive, enforcement-only immigration bill that the House of Representatives passed in December.
Moreover, the network did not air the Democratic response given by Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-IL) minutes after the conclusion of Bush's address. Fox News also aired Bush's speech but ignored Durbin's comments, as did ABC, CBS, and NBC. By contrast, both MSNBC and PBS broadcast the Democratic response in its entirety.