NBC and CBS Touted Lib Boycott of AZ; Silent on Offer to Turn Out L.A.'s Lights

All three broadcast evening newscasts have repeatedly touted, as if it is a valid representation of national sentiment, the "boycott" of Arizona by liberal municipalities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles. But when the Arizona Corporation Commissioner on Tuesday made a tongue-in-cheek offer to help Los Angeles out in its boycott by shutting off the electricity flow, CBS and NBC were silent.

The only network to mention the proposal to test the depths of the city's commitment to liberal sanctimony was ABC, MRC intern Matthew Hadro discovered. White House correspondent Jake Tapper first noted how President Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon both criticized Arizona's new immigration law at the White House, then reported:

JAKE TAPPER: The debate is intense. The Los Angeles City Council voted last month to boycott all official business in Arizona, prompting an Arizona utilities commissioner to all but threaten to cut off the electricity Arizona power plants provide L.A.

GARY PIERCE, ARIZONA CORPORATION COMMISSIONER: You can't call a boycott on the candy store, and then decide to go in and pick and choose candy you really do want.

All three broadcast networks have helped spread the word about liberals' displeasure with the Arizona law since it passed in late April, even though polls consistently show that most Americans think the law is a good idea. A sampling of the media's boycott boosterism, all previously reporter in MRC BiasAlerts:

Andrea Mitchell on the April 26 Nightly News: "Anger over the law has gone viral. On Facebook today, pages like this one: 'Arizona, the Grand Canyon State, welcomes you unless you're a Mexican or look like one.' Calls for an economic boycott. Already a conference of immigration lawyers at a swanky Scottsdale hotel canceled."

Barbara Pinto on ABC's World News, April 26: "The call for an economic boycott has caught fire on the Internet - and even from an Arizona state representative warning conventioneers to stay away....The first to cancel their plans, 400 members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, who will lose their $92,000 deposit."

Bill Whitaker on the CBS Evening News, April 29: "Arizona has gone through this kind of economic pressure before. In 1987, when the state refused to observe the national Martin Luther King holiday, there was a national boycott. The Super Bowl pulled out of Tempe. It all cost the state $300 million. Then, Arizona backed down. This time, state lawmakers plan to hang tough."

ABC correspondent Eric Horng on the May 1 World News: "Already, lawsuits have been filed challenging the law. Activists have called for a boycott of Arizona businesses and the state has been lampooned by comedians."
Jon Stewart on Comedy Central: "It's not unprecedented having to carry around your papers. It's the same thing that freed black people had to do in 1863."

CBS's Bill Whitaker, May 13 Evening News: "For every action in nature there's an opposite reaction, so, too, in politics. The city of Los Angeles, the latest to react strongly to Arizona's tough new anti-illegal immigration law. City council voted yesterday to ban city travel to Arizona, ban future contracts with Arizona businesses, and to check whether $58 million in existing contracts can be broken legally."

ABC's Diane Sawyer, May 13 World News: "All around the country, a kind of emotional civil war continues. Some people deciding to try to hit Arizona in the pocketbook. Today's developments from Barbara Pinto."
Barbara Pinto: "This is an out and out brawl, a nation choosing sides....Los Angeles now joins San Francisco and St. Paul, Minnesota, banning travel to the state....A list of boycotts costing Arizona an estimated $90 million so far. This heated debate is even playing out here at this suburban Chicago High School, 1,800 miles away. Administrators cancelled the Highland Park girls basketball team's trip to an Arizona tournament amid concerns about the new law."

In his letter to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Commissioner Pierce wrote:

If an economic boycott is truly what you desire, I will be happy to encourage Arizona utilities to renegotiate your power agreements so Los Angeles no longer receives any power from Arizona-based generation. I am confident that Arizona's utilities would be happy to take those electrons off your hands. If, however, you find that the City Council lacks the strength of its convictions to turn off the lights in Los Angeles and boycott Arizona power, please reconsider the wisdom of attempting to harm Arizona's economy.

People of goodwill can disagree over the merits of SB 1070 [the immigration law]. A state-wide economic boycott of Arizona is not a message sent in goodwill.

You can read the full letter here.

-Rich Noyes is Research Director at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.