Like good firefighters, ABC World News Tonight rushed to defend the stalled border bill currently being negotiated between The White House and the Senate. This is but the most recent instance of ABC’s going to the mat for this as of yet unseen legislation.
Watch the brief report in its entirety as aired on ABC World News Tonight on Wednesday, January 31st, 2024:
DAVID MUIR: We turn now to the border, and tonight, the eye-opening message from a leading Senate Republican who was asked if House Republicans should tune out Donald Trump on this. Rachel Scott on the hill.
RACHEL SCOTT: Today, Donald Trump turning up the pressure on Republicans to reject the border security bill their own party has demanded for months. Trump attacking the compromise bill senate Republicans and Democrats are working on together, saying, “Call it the stupid bill. And make sure it doesn’t get passed.”
DONALD TRUMP: A bad border deal would be worse than no deal at all.
RACHEL SCOTT: Trump wants to kill the bill so he can run on immigration in the general election. But Senate Republican leader Mitch Mcconnell vowing to push forward.
MITCH MCCONNELL: Obviously, this is an incredibly challenging political discussion we’ve been having. I still favor trying to make law when you can.
SCOTT: Conservative Republican senator James Lankford of Oklahoma, who has been leading the negotiations, tells me Republicans have waiting for this moment for 30 years.
JAMES LANKFORD: Republicans have talked about this for a long time. We’ve done lots of press conferences. We’ve done lots of trips to the border. We’ve done lots of moments to be able to say something needs to be done. This is our “Something” moment.
SCOTT: And to Republicans- to Republicans that are watching what the former president is saying, calling it a betrayal, calling it a stupid bill, are you just telling them to tune that out?
LANKFORD: No, I’m just telling them to read the bill and make their own decision on it.
SCOTT: Donald Trump has called the Senate bill “ridiculous”, insisting it will only make things worse. But here’s the thing. Nobody even knows what’s in that compromise yet. It is still being negotiated, David.
MUIR: Not even made public yet. Rachel Scott, live on The Hill. Rachel, thank you.
Anchor David Muir fanned the flames of hysteria as he set up Rachel Scott’s report. The “eye-opening” message turned out to be GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell saying “I still favor trying to make law whenever I can”. Not very eye-opening, if we’re being honest.
Scott very quickly moves to echo a Democrat talking point: “Trump wants to kill the bill so he can run on immigration.” Is Trump somehow going to forgo those lines of attack if the opportunity presents itself? Likely not, but the Acela Media don’t often let facts get in the way of a good story.
Cut to Senator James Lankford (R-OK), who’s been out front on this bill since the beginning, defending the bill and asking people to read it. Rachel Scott cast both McConnell and Lankford against former President Donald Trump, and had them defend themselves and the bill against his statements in opposition. The whole thing was a “Republicans in Disarray” report, even if that phrase was never uttered. The report closes out with Scott and Muir outraged that anyone would criticize the bill without reading its text.
This report suffers from the same fatal flaw as the others: there is no mention of the fact that the House already passed an immigration bill- H.R. 2, which was a precondition for passage of assistance to Ukraine and Israel. In this case, there isn’t even a mention of Speaker Mike Johnson.
This report, far from delivering any actual news, served to build a foundation with which to blame Republicans- both for the failure of this bill should it fail to get enacted, and for the broader border disaster.