On their October 29 evening news broadcasts, several Denver network television affiliates continued the Colorado media's pattern of ignoring U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo's (R-CO) history of extreme rhetoric, misleading or false statements, and controversial actions in reporting on Tancredo's announcement that he will not seek re-election. Colorado Media Matters documented similar omissions in October 29 morning newscasts.
Denver network television affiliates' October 29 evening news reports about U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo's (R-CO) October 28 announcement that he will not seek a sixth term in Congress noted his opposition to illegal immigration, but continued the Colorado media's pattern of failing to report Tancredo's history of controversial actions, extreme rhetoric, and misleading or false statements. As Colorado Media Matters has noted, Tancredo has argued that the United States should threaten to bomb Islamic holy sites to deter a possible nuclear terror attack on U.S. cities, falsely claimed that Miami is the "murder capital of the world," and reportedly fabricated a poll indicating public agreement with his statement that Miami had become a "Third World country."
On the October 29 broadcast of KCNC's CBS4 News at 10 p.m., anchor Jim Benemann reported that Tancredo "put the spotlight on" the issue of illegal immigration. KMGH 7News at 5 p.m. anchor Anne Trujillo stated that Tancredo "says he's done everything he can in the House, especially on illegal immigration." While reporter Adam Schrager noted that Tancredo "made national news for calling places like Miami a, quote, Third World country" during the October 29 broadcast of KUSA's 4 O'Clock at 9News, anchor Bob Kendrick's report on 9News at 10 p.m. made no mention of that statement or any of Tancredo's other controversial comments or actions. Finally, while KDVR Fox 31 anchor Ron Zappolo called Tancredo a "controversial figure" and reported that he has been "equally praised and loathed for his stance on illegal immigration," Fox 31 on its October 29 broadcast of News at Nine O'Clock also omitted specific mention of Tancredo's extreme rhetoric or false statements.
Similar to the October 29 morning broadcasts on CBS4, 7News, and Fox 31, each of these evening news reports ignored Tancredo's extreme or false statements, including his suggestion that the United States threaten to "take out" Islamic holy sites as a deterrent to nuclear terror attacks; his singing of the Confederate anthem "Dixie" at an anti-immigration fundraiser; his comment that Miami is "a Third World country" and reported fabrication of a poll he claimed showed most Americans supported his assessment; his assertion that Miami is the "murder capital of the world"; and his letter to Pope Benedict XVI remarking that "[r]eformation of the Islamic faith is highly unlikely."
From the October 29 broadcast of KMGH's 7News at 5 p.m.:
TRUJILLO: Presidential candidate and congressman Tom Tancredo says he is going to leave the U.S. House at the end of next year. Tancredo is running for president. He says even if he doesn't win he is leaving the House next year. Tancredo is serving his fifth term in the House. He says he's done everything he can in the House, especially on illegal immigration.
From the October 29 broadcast of KUSA's 4 O'Clock at 9News:
MARK KOEBRICH (anchor): One of Colorado's most prominent members of Congress says he will not run for re-election. Congressman Tom Tancredo is currently running for the Republican nomination for president and says even if he is not successful, he will not seek to represent the 6th District again at the Capitol. 9News reporter Adam Schrager is joining us. And, Adam, Tancredo will have spent 10 years in Congress.
SCHRAGER: Long time, Mark. Ten years of calling out presidents, other Republican members of Congress, Democrats, and pretty much anyone he felt did not work to strengthen this country's borders. To give you an idea of his impact on the immigration issue, he created the Immigration Reform Caucus in Congress in 1999. He was the first. That caucus now has 110 members. Tancredo became a fixture on cable talk shows and talk radio, announcing his presidential campaign on a radio program back in April in Iowa. He has strongly criticized President Bush over immigration and made national news for calling places like Miami a, quote, Third World country. Now, he says the issue no longer needs a single person to bring it to the nation's attention. Political analysts would agree the former school teacher has catapulted a single topic into the public conscience.
From the October 29 broadcast of KUSA's 9News at 10 p.m.:
KENDRICK: Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo says regardless of how he does in the presidential race, he will not run for re-election to Congress. Tancredo has represented the 6th District for 10 years. He created the Immigration Reform Caucus in Congress back in 1999. He says the issue no longer needs a single person to bring it to the nation's attention. Tancredo says if he doesn't win the presidential nomination, though, he still wants to be involved in public policy.
From the October 29 broadcast of KCNC's CBS4 News at 10 p.m.:
BENEMANN: Congressman and presidential candidate Tom Tancredo says he will leave the U.S. House when this term expires next fall. The Colorado Republican told CBS4 today his decision is based on his success in putting the spotlight on illegal immigration.
TANCREDO [audio clip]: The issue has got a life of its own, and I don't have to breathe life into it. It's taken off and now I've done everything I can do, and so it is time to move on.
BENEMANN: Tancredo was first elected to Congress in 1998. He has not said what he'll do if his presidential bid goes bust. It seems clear, however, he does hope to run for the U.S. Senate against Ken Salazar in 2010.
From the October 29 broadcast of KDVR Fox 31's News at Nine O'Clock:
ZAPPOLO: Congressman Tom Tancredo says he will not run for another term in Congress in 2008. Tancredo made the announcement this morning on Fox & Friends. Of course, the Colorado Republican has been a controversial figure -- equally praised and loathed for his stance on illegal immigration. Today he told Fox why he feels fine with retiring, even with immigration reform still in limbo.
[begin video clip]
TANCREDO: Things have changed dramatically.
FOX & FRIENDS CO-HOST: Now it might be the top issue.
TANCREDO: There are now a lot of people in the House of Representatives that I can hand that baton to, and do so with the knowledge that they will fight for this issue. It's just a lot -- it's a different world. The issue is now center stage. I have helped make it that way, I think.
[end video clip]
ZAPPOLO: Tancredo is also running for president. That campaign will continue despite its long-shot status.