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Although the highest-ranking official to date visited the U.S.-Mexico border last month, the top-rated anchors of CNN and MSNBC devoted zero minutes of their prime time shows to the immigration crisis.
Vice President Kamala Harris briefly met with officials in El Paso, Texas, after enduring months’ of mounting pressure, and a pending visit from former President Donald Trump. While Harris’ first stop on the southwestern border as the administration’s point person on illegal immigration on June 25 coincided with national coverage of the condominium collapse in Surfside, Florida, the two left-of-center cable news networks managed to cover less newsworthy stories in place of her visit.
After carrying the vice president’s remarks live, CNN’s prime time hosts understandably devoted much of their programming time to the unfolding coastal tragedy. Both Anderson Cooper and Chris Cuomo devoted 100% of their shows to different aspects of Surfside’s architectural implosion. But Don Lemon’s single hour of coverage diverted from Surfside to cover Lemon’s disappointment that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy “would only commit to addressing these [election] conspiracy theories with his members in private.”
MSNBC proved less devoted to Surfside, but that yielded no additional coverage of Kamala Harris’ statements. Joy Reid delayed her coverage of Surfside until nearly the end of her show, and she followed it by interviewing “the great George Takei” on “Pride month and today’s ceremony to designate the Pulse nightclub” in Orlando, Florida, “a national memorial.”
Chris Hayes mentioned the border on “All In” — not to comment on the vice president’s trip — during a litany of issues Republicans allegedly exploited to wage a culture war against the Democratic Party. The GOP, Hayes said, gained political capital by drawing attention to the apprehension of unaccompanied minors at the border. “Then, the Biden administration mobilized to move those kids into proper facilities. And then the actual apprehensions of the borders went back down massively,” said Hayes.
In reality, illegal immigration across the southwest border has increased every month of the Biden administration, skyrocketing from 78,442 in January to 180,034 in May.
Rachel Maddow ignored both Vice President Harris’ visit and the Surfside collapse, instead covering the Derek Chauvin verdict before spending an extended segment on the personal finances of short-term Trump 2016 campaign manager Paul Manafort.
Lawrence O’Donnell’s “The Last Word” pushed coverage of Surfside to the final segment to discuss charges against Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, the Derek Chauvin verdict, and the Justice Department’s lawsuit against Georgia’s election integrity law. And Brian Williams’ “The 11th Hour” presented his viewers with Bill Kristol’s reaction, to Tucker Carlson’s reaction, to General Mark Milley’s defense of Critical Race Theory.
Little of the weekend coverage mentioned Harris’ trip. One exception, Jim Acosta on “CNN Newsroom,” mentioned the border visit in passing, asking only whether Harris’ visit is “enough to put this [issue of illegal immigration] to rest?”
While the nation continued to focus on the death toll in Florida on Monday, CNN’s prime time hosts continued to mix in coverage of other topics — primarily the same ones MSNBC had already covered. “Anderson Cooper 360,” guest hosted by John Berman, aired comments made by former President Barack Obama about the Republican response to the 2020 presidential election. When Chris Cuomo returned, he prioritized impending charges against Weisselberg. Lemon followed Cuomo with a story about the vote to create a congressional commission to study the January 6 Capitol riot, replayed the same Obama comment twice, and focused on General Milley’s CRT comments. He closed the show by reporting the NFL’s Pride Month message proclaiming, “Football is Gay.”
A Pew Research poll found that most Americans would like the media to spend more time reporting on the uncontrolled immigration surge on the nation’s southern border. Yet even Kamala Harris’ presence could not crane their cameras in the direction of the Rio Grande, because the issue does not favor the Biden-Harris administration’s agenda.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.