CBS Runs Pro-Rubio Immigration Graphic During GOP Debate

Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., waves during the CBS News Republican presidential debate at the Peace Center, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Greenville, S.C. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
AP Photo/John Bazemore

For months, the conservative base has argued that the GOP establishment and donor classes continue to prop up and push the presidential candidacy of Senator Marco Rubio. Whether true or not, few examples support that assertion better than what occurred at the ninth Republican primary debate on Saturday, February 13, 2016, hosted by CBS News.

On Sunday afternoon, the ConservativeTreeHouse website drew attention to the following: During one of Senator Rubio’s answers at the debate, a graphic flashed on the screen, noting three of Rubio’s (alleged) positions on immigration. No other graphic was shown throughout the entire debate, for any candidate on any issue, save for Rubio on immigration.

Now, one might say: “Well, there’s nothing odd about the network flashing a graphic that helpfully summarizes a candidate’s position for the viewer.”

Sure, except:

  • No other graphic was shown for any other candidate. E.G., why wasn’t Senator Cruz’s or Mr. Trump’s position on immigration also summarized with a graphic, when they spoke on the issue?
  • In fact, no other graphic was shown for any candidate on any issue. The only graphic was for Rubio and on immigration.
  • The graphic was not neutral in its description but distinctively “pro” Rubio and helpful to the candidate. It inaccurately distorts the facts to portray Rubio as tough on immigration (e.g., it makes no mention of Rubio’s “Gang of 8” bill, nor of Rubio’s continued plan to legalize millions. It instead focused on his alleged plan to build “700 miles of walls” along the border – curious, considering Rubio and the rest of the Gang of 8 members voted against Senator John Thune’s 2013 amendment to complete at least half of those 700 miles before any legalization). And claiming Rubio wishes to deport criminal illegal aliens is a flat out falsehood – in fact, Rubio’s Gang of 8 allowed for countless illegal aliens to qualify for legalization, so long as they had not been convicted of a felony and had ‘only’ one or two misdemeanors.
  • Is it simply a coincidence that the only graphic shown on screen throughout the entire debate just happens to be helpful to Rubio on the one issue he is most hurt by? As noted writer Mickey Kaus observed:

The inclusion of this graphic appears to be a ‘pitch’ for Rubio, according to many. Conservatives and various observers expressed outrage and are demanding answers:

Also worth noting, the questions asked of Senator Rubio by the CBS News moderators were curiously soft. Questions included:

  • No president can know everything, right? So a smart leader knows how to ask questions. So if you could talk to any previous president, what’s the smart question you would ask about that job that you would want to know?
  • What would you point to in your past to show voters that you’ve been in a crisis and that you’ve been tested when that inevitable crisis comes when you’re president?

Or this one, a tee-up for Rubio to give his usual distortion of the concept of “amnesty”:

  • Senator Rubio… For the purposes of the lines — lines you would draw legislatively as a president on immigration reform, define amnesty.

Or this exchange, wherein Rubio was able to simply choose a topic to speak on:

DICKERSON: We’re going to switch here to Senator Marco Rubio. Senator Marco Rubio, please weigh in.

RUBIO: On anything I want?

DICKERSON: I thought you had a point?

RUBIO: Well, let me talk about poverty.

DICKERSON: I thought you had a point you wanted to make.

RUBIO: I do.

BUSH: That was me.

RUBIO: I had something important.

DICKERSON: [To Bush] You’re on deck sir.

RUBIO: The issue of poverty is critical, because for me, poverty is the — is — is free enterprise not reaching people. Today, we have antipoverty programs that don’t cure poverty. We don’t cure poverty in America. Our anti-poverty programs have become, in some instances, a way of life, a lifestyle.

Breitbart News has reached out to CBS News for comment on the on-screen graphic but has not yet received a reply at the time of this posting.


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