KMGH 7News uncritically aired a statement in which Republican U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave referred to Democratic candidate Angie Paccione as "Amnesty Angie." The report did not inform viewers Paccione says she is "against amnesty of any kind" for illegal immigrants.
In a report on the 4th Congressional District election on the 10 p.m. September 26 broadcast of KMGH 7News, reporter Hendrik Sybrandy uncritically aired U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave's (R-Fort Morgan) statement in which she referred to Democratic candidate Angie Paccione as "Amnesty Angie." Sybrandy's report did not inform viewers that, according to Paccione's website, she is "against amnesty of any kind" for illegal immigrants.
In addition to the clip of Musgrave at a rally calling Paccione "Amnesty Angie" and stating, "That's who she is," Sybrandy's report also included a clip of a Musgrave campaign ad that said, "Who put the welcome mat out for illegal aliens? Angie Paccione." Sybrandy then included a statement from an unidentified person who said, "I don't think people should come here illegally. I think if they are, they should be sent back." Beyond stating that Musgrave "claims" Paccione "is soft on illegal immigration," Sybrandy did not explain what Musgrave meant in suggesting Paccione supports "amnesty."
Sybrandy interviewed Paccione later in the report but did not include any response from Paccione about her position on amnesty. Though Sybrandy's viewers would not know it, Paccione's website states:
In the Colorado legislature, I helped pass the strongest illegal immigration laws in the country. I'm against amnesty of any kind. We must enforce our illegal immigration laws, hold employers accountable who hire illegal workers, and secure our borders. The 9/11 Commission recommended a comprehensive border and port security plan that we can no longer afford to ignore.
From the September 26 broadcast of KMGH 7News at 10 p.m.:
MUSGRAVE: Amnesty Angie. OK? That's who she is.
SYBRANDY: She's speaking of Democratic opponent Angie Paccione, who she claims is soft on illegal immigration.
MUSGRAVE COMMERCIAL CLIP: Who put the welcome mat out for illegal aliens? Angie Paccione.
SYBRANDY: It's an issue Musgrave says voters in her district respond to.
MUSGRAVE: They get upset when people are rewarded for illegal behaviors.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN ON THE STREET: But I don't think people should come here illegally. I think if they are, they should be sent back.
SYBRANDY: Musgrave says State Representative Paccione voted against a bill requiring proof of citizenship at the polls.
MUSGRAVE: Angie Paccione didn't think that those standards were necessary before a person could vote.
PACCIONE: Illegal aliens cannot vote. You have to be a citizen to vote, so there's no way for me to make it easier for illegal aliens to vote.
SYBRANDY: The Fourth District, which includes Greeley, is one of the largest geographical districts in the country. It's an area that's always been a little bit more conservative than others. Just a quarter of all voters here are Democrats. But in a year when Republicans are on the defensive nationally, the illegal immigration issue may be Musgrave's ticket to victory.
STEVE MAZURANA [of the University of Northern Colorado]: So, her [Musgrave's] concern is, God, everything looks bleak, maybe we can paint my opponent as even darker.
PACCIONE: It's smear and fear. That's the only thing she can use in this election cycle.
PACCIONE COMMERCIAL CLIP: I will stand up to the special interests.
SYBRANDY: Paccione argues that Musgrave is out of step with Colorado.
PACCIONE: Mostly, we're hearing about the drought on the Eastern Plains. We're hearing about the lack of access to health care.