CNN's Meserve ignored McCain's reversal while reporting he blamed Dems for "defeat" of immigration legislation he sponsored

››› ››› LILY YAN

On CNN Newsroom, Jeanne Meserve stated that "[Sen. John] McCain, who twice sponsored immigration reform legislation, blames [Sen. Barack] Obama and the Democrats for its defeat in one of his [Spanish-language] ads, though many analysts say both parties bear responsibility." However, Meserve did not note that McCain has since abandoned his support for the immigration bill he co-sponsored, saying during a January Republican presidential debate that he would no longer vote for it if it came up for a vote in the Senate.

On the November 1 edition of CNN Newsroom, Washington correspondent Jeanne Meserve stated that "[Sen. John] McCain, who twice sponsored immigration reform legislation, blames [Sen. Barack] Obama and the Democrats for its defeat in one of his [Spanish-language] ads, though many analysts say both parties bear responsibility." However, Meserve did not note that McCain said during CNN's January 30 Republican presidential debate that he would no longer vote for the immigration bill Meserve referenced -- which he co-sponsored with Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) -- if it came up for a vote in the Senate. During the debate, McCain was asked by Los Angeles Times staff writer Janet Hook, "At this point, if your original proposal came to a vote on the Senate floor, would you vote for it?" McCain responded: "No, I would not, because we know what the situation is today. The people want the borders secured first."

As Media Matters for America has repeatedly noted, McCain's position that "we've got to secure the borders first" is at odds with his prior assertion that border security could not be disaggregated from other aspects of comprehensive immigration reform without being rendered ineffective.

Meserve joined other media figures on CNN who have ignored McCain's immigration reversal or asserted that McCain has not changed his position.

From the November 1 edition of CNN Newsroom:

T.J. HOLMES (co-anchor): One issue that hasn't gotten a whole lot of attention on the campaign trail has been, in fact, immigration.

BETTY NGUYEN (co-anchor) And now, John McCain and Barack Obama have had a lot to say on that subject, and it's gotten pretty ugly at times.

HOLMES: As Jeanne Meserve tells us now, you have to know Spanish to know what they're saying.

[begin video clip]

MESERVE: Illegal immigrants flooding into the country, rounded up at the workplace -- among the most divisive issues of the decade. But the presidential candidates rarely raise immigration, except in Spanish.

[ad in Spanish]

RUBEN NAVARRETTE (syndicated columnist): The advent of Spanish-language radio and television and the popularity there has allowed these candidates to conduct sort of a stealth campaign, where they're having this fistfight in Spanish that nobody else is privy to.

MESERVE: In their Spanish-language ads, McCain and Obama vie to portray themselves as the champion of immigration reform.

ANGELA KELLEY (Immigration Policy Center): The candidates are trying to out-perform each other, and they're trying to be the most attractive that they can be to the Latino voter.

MESERVE: But it has gotten nasty. "Mexicans are stupid and unqualified." A quote from conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh, which this Obama ad ties to McCain. But McCain doesn't agree with Limbaugh on immigration, and Limbaugh's comments are out of context.

[ad in Spanish]

MESERVE: McCain, who twice sponsored immigration reform legislation, blames Obama and the Democrats for its defeat in one of his ads, though many analysts say both parties bear responsibility.

In fact, McCain and Obama both support a path to legalization for illegal immigrants. But conservative Republicans do not, which may explain why McCain does not highlight the issue with English-speaking audiences.

STUART ROTHENBERG (The Rothenberg Political Report): He's in an awkward position. How can you be the nominee of your party when the grassroots not merely disagrees with you an on an issue, but it's an emotional issue?

MESERVE: The hazard for Obama? If he voices support for a guest-worker program in English, he risks alienating organized labor.

[end video clip]

MESERVE: Both campaigns are courting Latino voters by addressing other issues that concern them -- the economy, education, heath care. But conveniently for the candidates, when it comes to immigration, they can talk to those who speak Spanish without being heard by those who don't. Jeanne Meserve, CNN, Washington.

Posted In
Immigration
Network/Outlet
CNN
Person
Jeanne Meserve
Show/Publication
CNN Newsroom
Stories/Interests
John McCain, 2008 Elections
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