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CBS's Smith Claims Prop 187, Blocking Handouts to Illegals, Lost --8/13/2003


1. CBS's Smith Claims Prop 187, Blocking Handouts to Illegals, Lost
Though by an overwhelming 59 to 41 percent margin in 1994 California voters backed Proposition 187 to cease providing government services and handouts to illegal aliens, on Tuesday's Early Show CBS's Harry Smith maintained that Arnold Schwarzenegger's admission he supported the proposition shows he is out of step with California voters since "that was a ballot initiative that was voted down by, that most Californians did not support." But on Wednesday morning he conceded his error.

2. Condemning Schwarzenegger for Backing "Anti-Immigration Measure"
Arnold Schwarzenegger is a blank slate, but the second that NBC and CBS learned that he once took a conservative position, they pounced, condemning the position as possibly fatal to his campaign, though his view was shared at the time by most Californians. NBC anchor Brian Williams claimed Schwarzenegger "once supported a famous anti-immigration measure." But Prop 187 was not "anti-immigration," but anti-illegal immigration. NBC's Kelly O'Donnell fretted that "the recall is a reminder of another divisive vote nearly ten years ago." A liberal activist then claimed that Latinos have what, if true, would be a ludicrous view: "Prop 187 is, to Latinos in California, as maybe Lester Maddox, George Wallace and the segregationists were to blacks in Mississippi and Alabama during the 1960s."

3. ABC Admires "Idealism" of Human Shields, Victims of U.S. Fines
Before the war ABC offered a sympathetic look at the efforts of U.S. citizens who traveled to Iraq to serve as "human shields." Upon hearing that the Treasury Department has informed the protesters that they face a $10,000 fine for violating sanctions on Iraq, ABC returned Tuesday night with another empathetic story which treated them as victims of the U.S. government who were just expressing their idealism. Anchor Charles Gibson said they face a "threat from the U.S. government" and Dan Harris described one unlabeled leftist protester as being "on an idealistic and ultimately futile quest to stop the war." Harris sympathetically concluded that the man "says he always knew idealism had a price. He just didn't know it would be this high."


CBS's Smith Claims Prop 187, Blocking
Handouts to Illegals, Lost

Though by an overwhelming 59 to 41 percent margin in 1994 California voters backed Proposition 187 to cease providing government services and handouts to illegal aliens, on Tuesday's Early Show CBS's Harry Smith maintained that Arnold Schwarzenegger's admission he supported the proposition shows he is out of step with California voters since "that was a ballot initiative that was voted down by, that most Californians did not support."

But on Wednesday morning, Smith admitted his error: "I completely booted it, I completely misspoke, I completely misunderstood it. I thought that the voters had voted against it. It, in fact, passed overwhelmingly."

On Tuesday morning August 12, discussing the California recall with Craig Crawford of Congressional Quarterly, Smith, the MRC's Brian Boyd noticed, proposed: "His past though could become an issue. One of the things that was brought up over the weekend -- he supported a ballot initiative that limited state help to illegal immigrants. That was a ballot initiative that was voted down by, that most Californians did not support. If someone mounts a tough enough campaign, Gray Davis who is a very tough campaigner, if he mounts a significant enough campaign, will any of this stuff stick to him?"

Crawford, who used to run the Hotline political news service, failed to correct Smith: "What they're worried about is the conservative voters, so they've put the word out, the Schwarzenegger campaign, that he backed a proposal to deny social services to Hispanics, to illegal immigrants. The Hispanics and Asian-Americans in California perceive that as an attack on them, so that is a problem with those voters, but his real problem, the only real problem he's got is a conservative revolt against him because he's a social liberal..."

Not all at CBS assume Californians couldn't possibly take a non-liberal position. On Tuesday night's CBS Evening News, Jerry Bowen reported: "Prop 187 denied public services to undocumented immigrants. It passed by a huge margin but was eventually thrown out by the courts."

Though a ruling by an activist liberal court did later block enforcement of the majority's will, Prop 187 not only won, it won by huge margins in much of the state. The MRC's Tim Graham tracked down this summary of results as recounted in a post-election Field Poll report:
"Proposition 187, the illegal alien initiative, which passed statewide by a 59% to 41% margin, carried in all major regions of the state except the San Francisco Bay Area. Support for Prop. 187 was extremely high in the Inland Empire (+40 points), the North Coast/Sierras (+36 points), San Diego/Orange (+34 points) and the Central Valley (+32 points).
"White non-Hispanic voters favored Prop. 187 by a 28-percentage point margin, and white men supported it by 38 points. On the other hand, Latinos voted No by a 46-point margin. Blacks and Asians were about evenly divided, with 52% of each group voting Yes and 48% voting No."

That's online, as a PDF, at: field.com

Fast forward to this morning and just past 7:30am Smith conceded his misunderstanding:
"Listen, I have to explain something. We did an interview yesterday with Craig Crawford who does a lot of our political analysis for us. And we were talking about Arnold's support for Proposition 187 in California a couple of years ago. I completely booted it, I completely misspoke, I completely misunderstood it. I thought that the voters had voted against it. It, in fact, passed overwhelmingly and then was tossed out by court rulings that had been brought to bare against it. And so, you know what, and I have the emails to prove that-"
Rene Syler: "I was going to say how many emails, how many emails?"
Smith: "Anyway. You know once in a while you read something and you think you understand it a certain way and then-"
Dave Price: "Nobody does a mea culpa like you. That was-"
Syler: "So are you saying you're sorry, because you know what this is great as a married man you're good and well practiced at saying 'I'm sorry' and 'you were right, honey.'"
Smith: "Well, there you go. Anyway. So I apologize for messing that up."

Condemning Schwarzenegger for Backing
"Anti-Immigration Measure"

Arnold Schwarzenegger is a blank slate, but the second that NBC and CBS learned that he once took a conservative position, they pounced, condemning the position as possibly fatal to his campaign, though his view was shared at the time by most Californians.

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams distorted the issue as he plugged an upcoming story on Tuesday night: "And later, he once supported a famous anti-immigration measure. Will minority voters hold that against Arnold Schwarzenegger?"

But the victorious measure, Proposition 187, was not "anti-immigration," but anti-illegal immigration and pro-legal immigration and pro-taxpayer. As noted in item #1 above, if not blocked by a liberal activist court, it simply would have ceased forcing taxpayers to subsidize services and welfare handouts to illegal immigrants who could still come to California and work, they just couldn't go on welfare, get food stamps or expect their kids to go to public schools for free.
NBC's Kelly O'Donnell fretted that "the recall is a reminder of another divisive vote nearly ten years ago." Antonio Gonzalez of the Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project, then claimed that Latinos have what, if true, would be a ludicrous view: "Prop 187 is, to Latinos in California, as maybe Lester Maddox, George Wallace and the segregationists were to blacks in Mississippi and Alabama during the 1960s."

If that's true, then Latinos in California have little understanding of U.S. history.

Those Democrats in the South were using the power of the state to deny equal rights to legal citizens and, all too often, employing violence against them. That's nothing like what Proposition 187 would have done if a court hadn't blocked its enforcement.

O'Donnell relayed that Schwarzenegger's vote for Prop 187 was "bad enough according to Latino officials, but the real outrage is Schwarzenegger's campaign co-chair, former Governor Pete Wilson, who led the fight for 187."

Over on the CBS Evening News, reporter Jerry Bowen similarly held Wilson in low repute as Bowen devoted a story to how Schwarzenegger's vote "for a controversial proposition may now hurt him with Latinos."

A full rundown of the August 12 NBC and CBS stories:

-- NBC Nightly News. Brian Williams set up the story, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "All the serious candidates in this race, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, are reaching out to California's growing number of Latino voters, who traditionally have voted Democratic. But among Latinos, there are indications that Schwarzenegger, a Republican, could give the state's Democratic Lieutenant Governor, Cruz Bustamante, a run for his money. Still, one of Schwarzenegger's own votes some years ago may turn out to hurt him now among minorities. Here is NBC's Kelly O'Donnell."

O'Donnell: "Already California's most controversial election, but wait. Now the recall is a reminder of another divisive vote nearly ten years ago."
Antonio Gonzalez, Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project: "Prop 187 is, to Latinos in California, as maybe Lester Maddox, George Wallace and the segregationists were to blacks in Mississippi and Alabama during the 1960s."
O'Donnell: "Proposition 187, the law to stop state health care and other social services for undocumented immigrants. It passed, but was later overturned by the courts. Austrian-born Arnold Schwarzenegger-"
Arnold Schwarzenegger in Burbank after the Tonight Show: "I am an immigrant. I came over here as an immigrant."
O'Donnell: "-says he voted for Prop 187. Bad enough, according to Latino officials, but the real outrage is Schwarzenegger's campaign co-chair, former Governor Pete Wilson, who led the fight for 187. Although Schwarzenegger won huge Latino support last year for his after school program initiative, the Prop 187-Wilson connection is all over Spanish language media."
Pilar Marrero, Political Editor of La Opinion: "Pete Wilson is persona non grata in the Latino community. We don't want to see him around."
O'Donnell was much less concerned with Davis aiding criminals: "Two-and-a-half million Latinos are registered to vote in California, a powerful constituency being courted by all sides. Governor Gray Davis is making a very public flip on a bill he vetoed last year that would allow undocumented workers to get drivers licenses."
Gray Davis, California Governor: "It will be signed as soon as the bill reaches my desk."
O'Donnell concluded: "Eighty percent of California's Latinos were either born outside the U.S. or their parents were. The recall is even more significant because it could result in the state's first Latino Governor. The popular Lieutenant Governor, Cruz Bustamante, is the grandson of Mexican immigrants, although behind Schwarzenegger in the polls. Fifty-six days to go, and Latino voters may end up starring in this California drama. Kelly O'Donnell, NBC News, Los Angeles."


-- CBS Evening News. Dan Rather announced: "The California recall election is now eight weeks away, and polls show movie star Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger the frontrunner in this new race for Governor. With that status comes a lot of attention, but also now as CBS's Jerry Bowen reports, a lot of questions and criticism about where the candidate stands on the issues."

Bowen began: "Arnold Schwarzenegger failed to vote in five of California's past eleven elections, but a vote he did make in 1994 for a controversial proposition may now hurt him with Latinos. At 17 percent of registered voters, Latinos may make the difference."
Arturo Vargas, Latino activist: "Any politician that has supported 187 really risks losing Latino support."
Bowen: "Prop 187 denied public services to undocumented immigrants. It passed by a huge margin but was eventually thrown out by the courts. Still, it's a lightning rod issue."
Vargas: "Latino voters remember what proposition 187 was all about."
Clip of ad for Proposition 187: "300,000 illegal immigrant children in public schools, and they keep coming."
Bowen: "And they remember the man behind it. Pete Wilson, California Governor then."
Pete Wilson: "Arnold Schwarzenegger would be a good Governor."
Bowen: "And now co-chairman of Schwarzenegger's campaign. Republican analysts say the whole issue is irrelevant."
Bill Whalen, Hoover Institution Fellow: "Arnold Schwarzenegger is an immigrant."
Bowen: "But Schwarzenegger has yet to explain why he voted for 187."
Whalen: "I mean, we're talking about some very ancient political history in that respect."
Bowen: "And in a race where conventional political wisdom is proven wrong almost daily, the Latino vote may be another example."
Whalen: "Movie stars are like politicians in that they have core constituencies. In the case of Arnold Schwarzenegger, the first person in line to see an Arnold film is a 19-year-old Hispanic male."
Bowen: "And when those Hispanic young males vote, they tend to vote Republican. The problem is they don't vote very much at all. The question for Arnold the politician is if he can draw them to the voting booth the way he draws them to the movie theater. Meantime, sitting Governor and recall target, Gray Davis, is making a visible show of being Governor, signing a variety of bills, including one to protect krill, a minute sea creature, and promising to sign a bill he's vetoed twice before that would give drivers licenses to a suddenly popular group: undocumented immigrants."

ABC Admires "Idealism" of Human Shields,
Victims of U.S. Fines

Before the war ABC offered a sympathetic look at the efforts of U.S. citizens who traveled to Iraq to serve as "human shields." Upon hearing that the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control has informed the protesters that they face a $10,000 fine for, as the Washington Post put it, "violating U.S. sanctions that forbade most travel to Iraq and commerce with Saddam Hussein's regime," ABC returned Tuesday night with another empathetic story which treated them as victims of the U.S. government who were just expressing their idealism.

World News Tonight anchor Charles Gibson noted that after safely getting out of Iraq, "Americans who declared themselves shields face a different kind of threat from the U.S. government, one that may be much harder to avoid."

Reporter Dan Harris described one of the leftists, though obviously not identified as such: "He was one of about 300 self-proclaimed 'human shields' on an idealistic and ultimately futile quest to stop the war." Harris sympathetically concluded that the man "says he always knew idealism had a price. He just didn't know it would be this high."

Gibson introduced the August 12 World News Tonight story, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "Before the recent Iraqi war, hundreds of people from various countries went to Iraq to act as so-called 'human shields.' It was a symbolic gesture. Most of them left Iraq before the fighting actually began. Well, now Americans who declared themselves shields face a different kind of threat from the U.S. government, one that may be much harder to avoid. Here's ABC's Dan Harris."

From New York City, Harris began: "Less than four weeks before the war, Ryan Clancy moved into a food storage facility outside of Baghdad."
Ryan Clancy, identified on screen as a "human shield volunteer," in Iraq during a February ABC story: "This seemed like a very direct and a very meaningful way to take action and to dissent."
Harris explained: "He was one of about 300 self-proclaimed 'human shields' on an idealistic and ultimately futile quest to stop the war. Now, back home in Milwaukee working at the record store he owns, Clancy is facing a $10,000 fine from the Treasury Department for violating U.S. sanctions against Saddam Hussein's regime. He says he will not pay."
Clancy: "I can't in good conscience give the Treasury Department money for the privilege of having met the people that my country was going to bomb and kill."
Harris: "The Treasury Department says it has contacted about five Americans who were in Iraq, including Faith Fippinger, a retired school teacher who spent three months there and is now back home in Florida."
Faith Fippinger, former human shield: "I feel a fine is also illegal and unjust."
Harris: "The Treasury Department says the fines are not politically motivated, that 'breaking the law in the act of protesting is still breaking the law.' The former human shields can negotiate to reduce their fines, but if they refuse to pay, they face up to 12 years in prison, though a Treasury official insisted today that that would only be a last resort. Ryan Clancy says he's willing to take that risk. He says he always knew idealism had a price. He just didn't know it would be this high. Dan Harris, ABC News, New York."

In a Tuesday Washington Post story, Jonathan Weisman reported that the fines are far from a sure thing: "A Treasury official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said none of the shields has yet been fined. They have been told they may have violated U.S. sanction laws, been informed of the potential penalty and been asked for more information, he said. The shields will be allowed to contest their fines before a federal judge, he said."

Weisman warned: "The administration's efforts to enforce the law are handing war protesters a new megaphone to broadcast their opposition to U.S. policies in Iraq."

As if ABC News needed much of an excuse to pick up on the whining.

Then again, maybe ABC's February stories helped those interested in law enforcement. Weisman recounted: "The human-shield brigade that descended on Iraq was never shy about publicity, which may explain how Treasury has tracked them down. [Treasury spokesman Taylor] Griffin said Treasury is tracking down the human shields through customs records, travel documents and 'high-profile' activities. Clancy spent quality television time on CBS-TV's evening news broadcast, he said.
"Faith Fippinger, a 62-year-old retired schoolteacher from Sarasota, Fla., was on ABC's Good Morning America and National Public Radio and appeared in the Daily Telegraph of Sydney, Australia; the San Francisco Chronicle; the Irish Times; and the Times of London before being featured in a profile in The Washington Post.
"Now, she's getting a second 15 minutes of fame. On Friday, she told the Associated Press she was refusing to pay Treasury the fine she found waiting for her when she returned home in May. By yesterday, she was back on television, declaring on CNN, 'I will not contribute any money to the continual buildup of America's weapons of mass destruction, which, as far as I know, far exceed the weapons of all other nations combined, and, in fact, have escalated the buildup of weapons everywhere.'"

That appearance was on CNN's Live From show during the 1pm EDT hour on Monday.

Weisman undermined any idea of a political agenda behind the fines: "Such sanctions are fairly routine, especially for those doing business with Cuba, Griffin said. The New York Yankees settled a $75,000 fine with Treasury this spring for allegedly violating sanctions on Cuba. Playboy Enterprises Inc. paid $27,500 for Cuba sanctions charges. Caterpillar Inc. paid $18,000 for similar charges, according to documents posted on the Treasury Department's Web site."

For the Washington Post story in full: www.washingtonpost.com

An excerpt from the February 27 CyberAlert which recounted the pre-war look by Harris and GMA at human shields:

ABC News offered sympathetic looks on Wednesday [February 26] at the efforts of some from the U.S. to act as "human shields" in Iraq. On World News Tonight, Dan Harris in Baghdad profiled "Ryan Clancy, a substitute English teacher from Milwaukee," who "became so convinced that a war with Iraq would be unjustified and unwise that he sold his stake in a local record store and came to Baghdad" to "act as a human shield."

After playing a clip of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld saying that "deploying human shields is not a military strategy, it's murder," Harris offered some moral equivalence: "But human rights lawyers say if the Pentagon bombs places inhabited by human shields that too would be a war crime."

Harris worried about how the human shields "are facing" the "problem" of "how to avoid being tools of the Iraqi government" when the regime is providing food and housing. Imagine that. But Harris assured viewers that Clancy "says he's not here to protect Saddam Hussein, just the Iraqi people."

Wednesday morning on Good Morning America, Diane Sawyer interviewed two human shields from Iraq and while she offered a friendly explanation for their cause and wondered what would motivate a 63-year-old human [Faith Fippinger] to participate, she also challenged one about how they can only go where Hussein wants.

Harris, who focused on a grain facility, failed to raise the issue of the "shields" being placed around military installations and neither morning or evening segment suggested in any way that there is anything villainous about Americans going to the aid of an enemy nation.

END of Excerpt from earlier CyberAlert

For that CyberAlert article in full: www.mediaresearch.org

-- Brent Baker