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Immigration and the Shoddy Pretense of Journalism that is CNN

It’s funny how the mainstream media can pretend to report on the immigration issue by detailing Republican complaints about President Obama’s executive order on immigration – questioning its constitutionality, for example – without once mentioning that other presidents have issued executive orders on immigration.

In fact, the best CNN could do in its piece Friday, Republicans hammer legal case against Obama on immigration, in which they somehow manage not to mention that the Republicans have no legal case, is this tidbit:

“The GOP seemed to take little comfort in Obama’s explanation that his actions were in line with other actions past presidents had made.”

You would think they could dig a little deeper than that. The Republican claims are, after all, particularly blatant lies. They can’t even be bothered to mention that Nancy Pelosi has already shown their claims to be lies.

They’re allegedly journalists over there at CNN – at least they pretend to be – yet they can’t be troubled to fact check. After, the allegations cited by CNN are pretty sensationalist:

  • “‘By ignoring the will of the American people, President Obama has cemented his legacy of lawlessness and squandered what little credibility he had left,’ House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement after the speech.” (In fact, the will of the American people is that they want immigration reform, but CNN doesn’t mention this little fact)
  • “Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said he ‘will not sit idly by and let the President bypass Congress and our Constitution.'”
  • “‘His actions are not only unconstitutional and in defiance of the American people who said they did not want amnesty in the 2014 elections, but they are also unfair to every immigrant who has come to our nation legally,’ Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas posted to his Facebook profile.”
  • “Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, the second-place finisher in the 2012 battle for the GOP presidential nod and a potential 2016 contender, called the executive order ‘just another in a long line of power-grabs by this administration…this President simply does not believe that the Executive is a co-equal branch of government.'”
  • John McCain “said in a statement that Obama’s executive action ‘lacks legal justification…'”
  • “Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus…blasted Obama for both his policies and for acting as a ‘one-man legislature.'”

Not only did they put together this list without mentioning a single Democrat response to these claims, but the claims themselves are easily fact-checked. Not doing so is an inexcusable omission by CNN’s writers, Eric Bradner and Jedd Rosche, who are content instead to pass on these lies unquestioned.

By happy coincidence, however, the American Immigration Council has pointed out that,

“In fact, the history books reveal that President Obama’s action follows a long line of presidents who relied on their executive branch authority to address immigration challenges.”

Since at least 1956, every U.S. president has granted temporary immigration relief to one or more groups in need of assistance. This chart collects 39 examples, which span actions large and small, taken over many years, sometimes by multiple administrations. They even provide a handy chart showing these executive orders.

The list includes five Republican presidents: Eisenhower, Ford, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush. None of them were accused of violating the U.S. Constitution.

Of course, none of them were Democrats. And none of them were black. They were old white guys.

See how easy that was, CNN? Rather than simply providing your services as a propaganda mouthpiece for the GOP, you can actually be the journalists you claim to be. Is it so hard?

After all, even Sen. Tom Coburn {R-OK), of whom President Obama once said, mistakenly as it turns out, that he is “someone who speaks his mind (and) sticks to his principles,” admitted on Morning Joe that the facts don’t matter when he let slip that, “And whether it’s factual or perceptual, it really doesn’t matter. And the glue that holds our country together is this common belief in the rule of law.”

And it’s not like the Republicans haven’t had plenty of opportunities to pass immigration reform. They just haven’t bothered to do it, and the president has hammered them for it. Heck, they even admitted they were not doing it in order to punish President Obama. None of this gets a mention from CNN.

So it’s a mite hypocritical for them now to complain that Obama is doing what he can to alleviate the suffering of immigrants. What I’ve pointed out here could as easily have been pointed out by CNN. That they omitted these critical facts and more, tells us more about CNN than CNN tells us about Obama.

The facts don’t matter to the Republicans. We get that. Coburn admitted it and they’ve shown it to be true repeatedly (and here and here just for a couple of examples).

But you’re supposed to be news people, CNN. Facts should matter to you. Couldn’t you at least try to show a little integrity?

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