Media bias and hot-button issues


Since the beginning of the year when it first was mentioned, executive action has been the great sleeping giant of U.S. policy. Not until the past couple of weeks has it gained a large presence in the media and stirred extreme responses. Until last night at 8, President Obama had been waffling with the idea.

On Feb. 14, 2013, Obama said: “I’m the president of the United States. I’m not the emperor of the United States … my job is to execute laws that are passed.”

Later, on Sept. 17, 2013, Obama spoke on the topic of immigration reform: “There is a path to get this done and that is through Congress.”

Big-time news networks, however, like CBS and ABC, have avoided questioning the president’s blatant flip-flopping. They only covered his admissions briefly, NBC allowing 12 seconds on air and ABC, 91 seconds.

Assuming that the media play a role as a watchdog of sorts, why have they failed to ask about the why’s and when’s of this contradiction? When it comes to power, the truth should always be spoken. The basic responsibility of the reporter, then, is to hold the powerful accountable to the truth. Sure, the waffling has been noted but has it really been analyzed on the media?

Instead, networks like CBS did all they could to push the argument towards pro-executive amnesty. On “CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley,” a two-minute segment was spent telling the story of the children of an illegal immigrant. It told the “story of a divided family.”

On “NBC Nightly News,” Chris Jansing’s report on the pro-amnesty crowd leaned too far as she opened up the segment with: “they were gearing up to defend President Obama.”

What is clear is that only one side of the argument has had its fair share of photos and captions — portraying an overall image of innocence.

The executive decision made last night came as no surprise. What did, however, was the media’s bias on such a hot-button issue.