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ABC & NBC Celebrate Princeton Salutatorian Who's an Illegal --6/7/2006


1. ABC & NBC Celebrate Princeton Salutatorian Who's an Illegal
The Tuesday ABC and NBC evening newscasts ran tributes to Princeton University's salutatorian, illegal immigrant Dan-el Padilla Peralta, and NBC also hailed the efforts of illegals in Queens to defy efforts to crack down on them. At the top of World News Tonight, Charles Gibson fretted, "American dream: A Princeton graduate who rose from homelessness to the top of his class, but could now be banned from the country because he is an illegal alien." Gibson soon touted how "we have an extraordinary story tonight of one illegal immigrant" who was amongst the few able to attend college, specifically "a young man who graduated from Princeton University today near the top of his class. He defied the odds spectacularly. Yet, because he is illegal, he faces an uncertain future." David Muir explained his plight: "Dan-el is an illegal immigrant, which becomes very important because he's been invited to study at Oxford. And if he goes, U.S. immigration law says because he is an illegal, he can't come back for at least a decade."

2. Matt Lauer Offended By Ann Coulter, But Was Delighted by Franken
Ann Coulter and Al Franken don't have much in common, but both do enjoy making very provocative comments, laced with edgy humor which appeals to those on their side of the spectrum and conveys an underlining political point. But as the MRC's Geoff Dickens noticed after watching Tuesday's Today, Matt Lauer has two different sets of standards for the politically provocative authors. If you are on the left he laughs with you, if you are on the right he slams you. On the June 6 Today, an outraged Lauer read from Coulter's new book Godless: The Church of Liberalism, and was particularly upset by her critique of the 9/11 widows: "These broads are millionaires lionized on TV and in articles about them reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by grief-arazzis. I've never seen people enjoying their husbands' death so much.'" Lauer demanded: "So if you lose a husband you no longer have the right to have a political point of view?" (In fact, Today in particular trumpeted Bush-bashing widows to the exclusion of other viewpoints.) But last October Lauer laughed when Franken asserted that "George H.W. Bush, the President's father, said...that outing a CIA agent is treason. I agree. So I think that Rove and Libby will be executed." AUDIO&VIDEO

3. Letterman's "Top Ten Signs It May Be the Apocalypse"
Letterman's "Top Ten Signs It May Be the Apocalypse."


ABC & NBC Celebrate Princeton Salutatorian
Who's an Illegal

The Tuesday ABC and NBC evening newscasts ran tributes to Princeton University's salutatorian, illegal immigrant Dan-el Padilla Peralta, and NBC also hailed the efforts of illegals in Queens to defy efforts to crack down on them. At the top of World News Tonight, Charles Gibson fretted, "American dream: A Princeton graduate who rose from homelessness to the top of his class, but could now be banned from the country because he is an illegal alien." Gibson soon touted how "we have an extraordinary story tonight of one illegal immigrant" who was amongst the few able to attend college, specifically "a young man who graduated from Princeton University today near the top of his class. He defied the odds spectacularly. Yet, because he is illegal, he faces an uncertain future." David Muir explained his plight: "Dan-el is an illegal immigrant, which becomes very important because he's been invited to study at Oxford. And if he goes, U.S. immigration law says because he is an illegal, he can't come back for at least a decade."


Brian Williams ended the NBC Nightly News by trumpeting how Peralta "got over a major hurdle today. He graduated from the Ivy League despite living in the U.S. illegally. He moved here from the Dominican Republic when he was four. His mother was sick." Just before the admiration from Williams, NBC ran a piece from David Gregory which looked at the immigration debate through the prism of illegals: "You see a neighborhood among the most diverse in the city on the leading edge of this fight. Some are afraid. Luis Amigo owns this bodaga. Here illegally, he says he won't visit his sister anymore, fearing he'll now get stuck in Mexico." Gregory set up "community activist" Ana Maria Archilla: "Leaving really isn't an option?" And before a minister, who didn't differentiate between legal and illegal immigrants, argued that "we would fail our forefathers if we are not doing what we are supposed to do, to welcome immigrants," Gregory delivered this chastisement of conservatives, "There is also this appeal: Don't let today's politics change the country."

[This item was posted Tuesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Obviously, the story of a poor, illegal immigrant who is able to rise to the top of his class at a prestigious college illustrates how the United States is a land of opportunity where hard work leads to success, but in choosing to celebrate Peralta's achievement as they portrayed him as a victim of immigration laws -- after the networks, which normally prefer highlighting bad news, have displayed no interest in stories about the negative impact of illegals -- ABC and NBC showed how the mainstream media are out of step with the majority of Americans who want a crackdown on illegal immigrants.

An April 28 Daily Princetonian article, "American dream: Padilla '06 rose from poverty to the top of his class. Now he has one more goal: a visa," recounted how a Wall Street Journal article two weeks earlier had revealed Peralta's illegal status: www.dailyprincetonian.com

The text of Peralta's Salutatorian address, "Given at the Academic Assembly of Princeton; On the Sixth of June; The Year of our Salvation 2006; The 259th Year of the University": www.princeton.edu

For the online version of ABC's story, "Princeton Salutatorian Caught in Immigration Snafu": abcnews.go.com

Transcripts of the June 6 stories as provided by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth, who corrected the closed-captioning against the video:

# ABC's World News Tonight. Charlie Gibson's tease: "American dream: A Princeton graduate who rose from homelessness to the top of his class, but could now be banned from the country because he is an illegal alien."

Gibson set up the story: "We have an extraordinary story tonight of one illegal immigrant. 65,000 undocumented immigrant children will graduate this spring from American high schools. They will not be able to work legally. They will not qualify for most college aid. Only 10 to 20 percent will be able to continue their studies. We are going to take 'A Closer Look' at a young man who graduated from Princeton University today near the top of his class. He defied the odds spectacularly. Yet, because he is illegal, he faces an uncertain future. Here's ABC's David Muir."

David Muir began: "When Dan-el Padilla Peralta stood before his fellow Princeton graduates today and delivered the salutatory address, in Latin no less, it was a remarkable feat in itself. But the story of how he got here rivals the Roman classics he fell in love with as a young boy. He came here from the Dominican Republic at four years old on a short-term visa. His mother needed urgent medical care. His childhood was spent skipping from shelter to shelter in New York."
Dan-el Padilla Peralta, in an interview (not his Princeton address): "It was, you know, a kind of personal hell that we were all going through. Because of rampant drug use, many of the people's lives were utterly and completely broken."
Muir: "But his life was not because of a discovery he made at just nine years old, a book on ancient Greece and Rome."
Peralta: "It allowed me to sort of forge with my own imagination a world that I was not a part of and yet felt all the while that I could be."
Muir: "He read voraciously and won a scholarship to a prestigious prep school, hiding his school tie on the walk from their tiny apartment in Harlem to the subway. And then came the scholarship to Princeton."
Prof. Denis Feney, Princeton Department of Classics: "And to me, the only amazing thing about him was his ability. So I had no idea that he was undocumented."
Muir: "But indeed he is. Dan-el is an illegal immigrant, which becomes very important because he's been invited to study at Oxford. And if he goes, U.S. immigration law says because he is an illegal, he can't come back for at least a decade."
Peralta: "-missing out on some very beautiful things. I would like to see my brother graduate from high school."
Muir gave a soundbite to another view: "Padilla's attorney is asking for a waiver. But there are tens of thousands of undocumented students in the U.S., and some argue it could set a precedent."
Ira Mehlman, Federation for American Immigration Reform: "We can't make exceptions for people who break the law simply because they happen to be geniuses."
Muir then returned to empathizing with Peralta: "Dan-el has made little of his story here on the Princeton campus, rarely sharing with fellow scholars his predicament. Even so, they've learned of it. In fact, some have come forward, even offering to marry him."
Peralta: "One of my closest friends brought that up. I was nearly reduced to tears."
Muir: "Today, there were tears again. But does he go to Oxford or not?"
Peralta: "My merits matter far more than any simple categorization of me or of others as illegal immigrants. And the rest, as the Greeks would say, I leave to the immortal gods."
Muir: "David Muir, ABC News, Princeton, New Jersey."
Gibson followed up: "Dan-el Padilla Peralta will hear in about two weeks whether his immigration waiver is approved. Oxford is holding his place in the meantime. We have much more about this young man's remarkable story at ABCNews.com."


# NBC Nightly News. Brian Williams introduced a favorable look at illegals: "The political debate over illegal immigration is a hot one on Capitol Hill and in congressional races across the country this election year. As we said, President Bush was back at the Mexican border today, a media event at a training facility for border patrol agents in New Mexico. He was urging Congress to pass a comprehensive reform bill. NBC News chief White House correspondent David Gregory tonight takes a different look at the story from a different vantage point. He visited a New York City street corner today. It tells the whole story."

Gregory began: "It's a far cry from America's border war out West, a crowded corner of Queens, New York, 49th Street and Skillman Avenue. At first glance, the immigration debate and its consequences seem far off."
Gary O'Neill, Irish immigrant: "Absolutely, it's changed people's lives."
Gregory: "But look more closely, as we did."
Father Joseph Jerome, All Saints' Episcopal Church: "God forbid that these people will be endangered and have to leave."
Gregory: "And you see a neighborhood among the most diverse in the city on the leading edge of this fight. Some are afraid. Luis Amigo owns this bodaga. Here illegally, he says he won't visit his sister anymore, fearing he'll now get stuck in Mexico."
Luis Amigo, illegal immigrant: "It's not easy like before. Now it's, they send the National Guard to check the border. It's really hard, really hard to come over here."
O'Neill: "There's fear from Americans that, you know, that immigrants are going to take all their jobs, are going to keep wages low."
Gregory: "Community activist Ana Maria Archilla sees something else, a new desire to stay and fight for citizenship. Leaving really isn't an option?"
Ana Maria Archilla to Gregory: "Leaving is not an option, and it's especially not an option for people that have spent here a large portion of their lives that have really given their labor to this country and have raised families here."
Gregory: "The immigrants in this neighborhood, legal and illegal, are mobilizing, with tactics big and small. Ana Maria organized this neighborhood march May 1st [picture of people holding up U.S. and Mexican flags], while dozens of neighborhood parents learn English seven days a week. Do they think that that's a tool in the fight now?"
Archilla: "Yes, yes. They're eager both to demonstrate that there is good will, and that there is an intention to be, kind of, fully part of the American society."
Gregory: "There is also this appeal: Don't let today's politics change the country."
Jerome: "We would fail our forefathers if we are not doing what we are supposed to do, to welcome immigrants, because this obviously, this is a country of immigrants."
Gregory concluded by endorsing Jerome's take: "Especially here at 49th and Skillman. David Gregory, NBC News, New York."


Brian Williams then added, over video of Peralta: "And there was this today on the issue of immigration. It came up at the graduation ceremony at Princeton University of all places. Twenty-one-year-old Dan-el Padilla Peralta was selected as Princeton salutatorian. He gave the traditional speech in Latin. But he also got over a major hurdle today. He graduated from the Ivy League despite living in the U.S. illegally. He moved here from the Dominican Republic when he was four. His mother was sick. A wealthy benefactor guided him through prep school. He has been accepted to Oxford in England to study, but the secret he and Princeton kept for quite some time is now out."

Matt Lauer Offended By Ann Coulter, But
Was Delighted by Franken

Ann Coulter and Al Franken don't have much in common, but both do enjoy making very provocative comments, laced with edgy humor which appeals to those on their side of the spectrum and conveys an underlining political point. But as the MRC's Geoff Dickens noticed after watching Tuesday's Today, Matt Lauer has two different sets of standards for the politically provocative authors. If you are on the left he laughs with you, if


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More See & Hear the Bias

you are on the right he slams you. On the June 6 Today, an outraged Lauer read from Coulter's new book Godless: The Church Of Liberalism, and was particularly upset by her critique of the 9/11 widows: "These broads are millionaires lionized on TV and in articles about them reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by grief-arazzis. I've never seen people enjoying their husbands' death so much.'" But last October Lauer laughed when Franken asserted that "George H.W. Bush, the President's father, said...that outing a CIA agent is treason. I agree. So I think that Rove and Libby will be executed."

For a look at Lauer's friendly October 25 session promoting Franken's book: www.mediaresearch.org

For a video clip: newsbusters.org

On Tuesday, Lauer pressed Coulter as the two sat outdoors during the 7am half hour: "So if you lose a husband you no longer have the right to have a political point of view?"
Coulter explained: "No but don't use the fact that you lost a husband as the basis for your being able to talk about it while preventing people from responding. Let Matt Lauer make the point, let Bill Clinton make the point. Don't put up someone I'm not allowed to respond to without questioning the authenticity of their grief."


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More See & Hear the Bias

Geoff's NewsBusters posting features audio/video of the Lauer/Coulter debate over the 9/11 widows transcribed below, audio/video which will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert item. But in the meantime, to watch the Real or Windows Media clip, or to listen to the MP3 audio, go to: newsbusters.org

In the wake of the Ann Coulter interview with Lauer, specifically the part where Matt Lauer simply couldn't believe Coulter's attacks on 9/11 widows channeling their grief into anti-Bush attacks on TV news shows, for a NewsBusters posting the MRC's Tim Graham collected a few reminders of how the Kristen Breitweisers of the world (who endorsed John Kerry in the fall) were given the lion's share of attention by network hosts like Matt Lauer.

An April of 2004 MRC study of relatives on the morning news shows found the disparity of anti-Bush victim relatives to pro-Bush relatives was 20 to 3. The report concluded: "These relatives are entitled to their views, of course. But network viewers are entitled to a little balance, too." See: www.mrc.org

A week earlier, another Media Reality Check showed it was already obvious Breitweiser was doing election-year publicity against Bush:

On this morning's Today and for multiple segments in a 90-minute post-Condi Hardball special on MSNBC, only four widows were singled out as judges of Rice's testimony. The four were celebrated in the April 1 New York Times as "nonpolitical." NBC has emphasized Kristen Breitweiser, who has appeared in four Today interviews in four weeks.

Mrs. Breitweiser insists that she voted for Bush in 2000, but has wildly declared that "Three thousand people were murdered on Bush's watch." Times arts editor Frank Rich also noted how she tartly complained that a Showtime 9-11 docudrama failed to display President Bush reading to school children "while people like my husband were burning alive inside the World Trade Center towers" because it would have been contrary to "Karl Rove's art direction and grand vision." She's hardly "nonpolitical."

For that Media Reality Check in full: www.mrc.org

At the time, Brent Bozell noted that part of the unfairness was that networks like NBC never discovered widow/experts to rail against the failures of Clinton against terrorist attacks:

Meanwhile, a Nexis search quickly shows that NBC has aired no news story with the words "widow" and the U.S.S. Cole, where terrorists killed 17 Americans in 2000. NBC aired no news story with the words "widow" and the embassy in Kenya, where terrorists killed 12 Americans in 1998. NBC aired no news story with the words "widow" and the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, where terrorists killed 19 Americans in 1996. These grieving families have never been given a nationwide TV platform on NBC to express their opinions on how the Clinton administration handled investigations of those incidents.

For that column: www.mrc.org

When Breitweiser appeared in Kerry ads in October 2004 and traveled the country with the Kerry campaign, the CyberAlert reported that CBS pretended she was just a random voter in Ohio, instead of a valued campaign spokesperson:

Kristen Breitweiser has been an active, publicity-seeking Bush-bashing 9/11 widow who has spent time on the campaign trail for Kerry-Edwards and is featured in a new Kerry-Edwards TV ad in which she denounced Bush for opposing the 9/11 Commission and then declared that "during the Commission hearings we learned the truth, we are no safer today" and since "I want to look in my daughter's eyes and know that she is safe...I am voting for John Kerry." But on Thursday's Early Show, CBS News reporter Byron Pitts mentioned none of that as he portrayed her as some sort of random Bush voter who was so impressed by a Kerry speech line making fun of President Bush that she now plans to vote for Kerry.

For the October 22, 2004 CyberAlert item in full: www.mrc.org

Even in December of 2004, as the widows reprised their act, Bozell revealed the networks couldn't notice that Breitweiser & Co. signed up for the Kerry campaign: www.mrc.org

Now, back to Tuesday's Today. Lauer's interview with Coulter got particularly testy when he read excerpts from Coulter's new book and demanded she defend them. Below are the most explosive portions of this morning's Coulter v. Lauer showdown:

Matt Lauer: "Let me give you some quotes from your book, alright? These are random. 'Environmentalists-"
Coulter: "Yes! Now we're on a subject I want."
Lauer: "'Environmentalists' energy plan is a repudiation of American Christian destiny which is jet skis, steak on the electric grill, hot showers and night-skiing. Liberalism is a religion. A comprehensive belief system denying that the Christian belief in man's immortal soul.' And you go on to say, 'liberalism is the opposition party to God.' How do you think Democrats who believe in God are gonna feel about that statement?"
Coulter: "They probably won't like it. They don't like a lot of things I say."
Lauer: "Is it a fair statement you think?"
Coulter: "Yes, yes."
Lauer: "How about this one?"
Coulter: "That's why I wrote a book about it."
Lauer: "Referring to liberals again. 'To a liberal 2200 military deaths in the entire course of the war in Iraq is unconscionable but 1.3 million aborted babies in America every year is something to celebrate.'"
Coulter: "Yes."
Lauer: "You think people celebrate-"
Coulter: "They manifestly do. They are huge rallies for it. That is the one issue that's more important to the Democratic Party than any other. I mean Bill Clinton, the last-"
Lauer: "Do you think they celebrate the right to choose or, or the actual abortion?"
Coulter: "The last candidate the Democrats got into the White House was Bill Clinton. I, I take that as a fair assessment of whom the Democrats will choose as their representative. Bill Clinton sold out every single special interest group. The criminal rights group, the welfare bureaucrats. The one group he would not stand up to were the abortion ladies. Vetoing bans on partial birth, a gruesome procedure passed by overwhelming majorities in the House and Senate. Twice, Clinton vetoed that. That tells you what the Democratic Party thinks about abortion."
Lauer: "Do you, do you believe everything in this book, do you believe everything in the book or do you put some things in there just that cater to your base?"
Coulter: "No of course I believe everything."
Lauer: "Alright on the 9/11 widows and in particular a group that had been outspoken and critical of the administration. 'These self-obsessed women seem genuinely unaware that 9/11 was an attack on our nation and acted as if the terrorist attack only happened to them. They believe the entire country was required to marinate in their exquisite personal agony. Apparently denouncing Bush was an important part of their closure process.' And this part is, is the part I really need to talk to you about. 'These broads are millionaires lionized on TV and in articles about them reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by grief-arazzis. I've never seen people enjoying their husbands' death so much.'"
Coulter: "Yes."
Lauer: "Because they dare to speak out?"
Coulter: "To speak out using the fact that they're widows. This is the left's doctrine of infallibility. If they have a point to make about the 9/11 commission, about how to fight the war on terrorism. How about sending somebody we're allowed to respond to? No, no we always have to respond to someone who just had a family member die-"
Lauer: "But aren't they the people in the middle of the story?"
Coulter: "-because then if we respond, 'Oh you're questioning their authenticity.' No the story is-"
Lauer: "So grieve but grieve quietly."
Coulter: "No the story is an attack on the nation-"
Lauer: "And by the way-"
Coulter: "That requires a foreign policy response. That does not entail the expertise-."
Lauer: "And by the way they also criticized the Clinton administration for their failures leading up to 9/11."
Coulter: "Oh not, not the ones I'm talking about."
Lauer: "No they have."
Coulter: "No, no, no. Oh no, no, no, no."
Lauer: "But is your message to them just grieve-"
Coulter: "No, no they were cutting commercials for Kerry. They were using their grief in order to make a political point while preventing anyone from responding."
Lauer: "So if you lose a husband you no longer have the right to have a political point of view?"
Coulter: "No but don't use the fact that you lost a husband as the basis for your being able to talk about it while preventing people from responding. Let Matt Lauer make the point, let Bill Clinton make the point. Don't put up someone I'm not allowed to respond to without questioning the authenticity of their grief."
Lauer: "Well but apparently you are allowed to respond to them."
Coulter: "Well yeah I did."
Lauer: "Right so in other words-"
Coulter: "But that is the point of liberal infallibility. Of putting up Cindy Sheehan, of putting out these widows of putting out Joe Wilson. No, no, no you can't respond it's their doctrine of infallibility."
Lauer: "But what I'm saying is they've-"
Coulter: "-somebody else make the argument-"
Lauer: "I'm saying I don't think they've ever told you, you can't respond. So why can't they make their point?"
Coulter: "Look you're getting testy with me."
Lauer: "No I'm not. I just-"
Coulter: "Ohhh."
Lauer: "I think it's, I think it's, I think it's your dramatic statement. 'These broads,' 'you know are, are 'millionaires stalked by grief-arazzi.'"
Coulter: "You think I shouldn't be able to respond to them."
Lauer: "'I've never seen people enjoying their husbands deaths so much.'"
Coulter: "They're, they're, yes. They're all over the news."
Lauer: "The book is called Godless: The Church of Liberalism. Ann Coulter always fun to have you here."
Coulter quipped: "Hey where's Katie? Did she leave or something?"
Lauer: "She did. 7:17am. And now here's Ann."

Letterman's "Top Ten Signs It May Be
the Apocalypse"

From the June 6 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Signs It May Be the Apocalypse." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com

10. Gas is now $6.66 a gallon

9. Earlier today George W. Bush correctly pronounced "Apocalypse"

8. The minute you finish washing your car, it starts raining, am I right, people? You know what I'm talking about?

7. On tonight's "Anderson Cooper 360," his head spun around 360 degrees

6. At lunch my alphabet soup spelled, "eat it"

5. People are actually buying a razor with five blades

4. Two words: Governor Schwarzenegger

3. While getting dressed, you discover pitchfork marks on your ass

2. Kenny Rogers knows when to hold'em and fold'em, but not when to walk away from plastic surgery

1. The Mets are in first place


Wednesday on the Late Show: Left-wing comedian Al Franken. And on Thursday night: Incoming Today co-host Meredith Vieira.

-- Brent Baker