Accuracy in Media

In a lengthy analysis of why actor Arnold Schwarzenegger won the gubernatorial election in California and governor Gray Davis was recalled, a CBS News story posted on the network’s Internet site waited until the 11th paragraph to note that a poll found that 70 percent of the voters were against the idea of issuing drivers licenses to illegal immigrants. It’s clear that many decided to overlook Schwarzenegger’s history of sleazy personal behavior because of issues like this. Schwarzenegger had promised to repeal a Davis bill giving drivers licenses to illegals.

The Federation for American Immigration Reform noted that, during the campaign, the media claimed Schwarzenegger’s support for the 1994 voter initiative, known as Proposition 187, was a political liability for him. But the survey indicated otherwise. By a 65 percent to 26 percent margin, voters said that illegal aliens “should not be eligible for services and benefits provided by state and local governments, except for emergency services.” Proposition 187, which included almost identical language, had received 59 percent of the vote. Asked about stopping illegal immigration in California, 40 percent said that was extremely important and 26 percent said it was very important.

Some say the California election proved that Republicans can now win the Hispanic vote because the Hispanic candidate Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante won only 54 percent and Republican Schwarzenegger won 30 percent. But columnist Sam Francis points out that 25 percent to 30 percent of Hispanic voters in California have always voted Republican, and 37 percent voted for Proposition 187.

Francis adds, “The real reason Schwarzenegger won?is that he won the white vote?He took the white vote by 51 percent, and the two Republicans together took 65-67 percent of it. Schwarzenegger’s share was not so impressive, but better than earlier Republican gubernatorial candidates in the state’s last two elections, who won well less than 50 percent?Whites have largely deserted the Democrats, and that’s the real reason they lost.”

Schwarzenegger had endorsed an amnesty for illegals during the campaign by calling it something else. Francis pointed out, “He avoided the word [amnesty] but in his first press conference after the election, he made his position perfectly clear.” He had endorsed a stealth amnesty bill that would grant illegals so-called “temporary” work visas and, after the election, declared that, “I want to make all undocumented immigrants documented and legal in this country.”

Francis said Schwarzenegger doesn’t seem to grasp why he won the election, and that he has already “essentially betrayed his own voters by endorsing the amnesty they thought he opposed.” President Bush is making a similar error. At the Asia-Pacific Cooperation Forum in Bangkok, Thailand, he is discussing with Mexican President Vicente Fox the possibility of amnesty for millions of illegal Mexican aliens in the U.S. National polls show the vast majority of Americans opposed to amnesty.

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