The Media Blows It, Says Boehner Is Now Backing Away From Immigration Reform

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Feb. 6 2014 3:19 PM

The Media Blows It, Says Boehner Is Now Backing Away From Immigration Reform

OMG! John Boehner once again held his weekly press conference!

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

The bias of the news media is to pretend that something new is happening. Example: Every week that Congress is in session, Speaker of the House John Boehner gives a short on-camera press conference. At today's, in the eyes of reporters, he seemed to be backpedaling on immigration reform. In the LA Times: "Speaker Boehner lowers expectations for immigration reform bill." In MSNBC: "Boehner warns immigration reform is in serious danger." At Fox News: "Boehner hits brakes on immigration overhaul."

What you see here is a mixture of sensationalism and the newness fallacy. What did Boehner actually say? "Listen, there's widespread doubt about whether this administration can be trusted to enforce our laws." Pro tip: For Boehner, "listen" is a sort of verbal tic that commences a line or sentence he's got in the can. He's said the same thing many, many times. And what he was saying there was straight from the current approved talking points.


Look back just four days to the Sunday shows that came after the House GOP retreat. Eric Cantor: "The president [has] got to demonstrate frankly to the country and the congress can trust him in implementing the laws." Paul Ryan: "Here's the issue that all Republicans agree on—we don't trust the president to enforce the law."

All three of these men think it'd be good for the GOP to pass an immigration bill, and all three know that the bulk of their conference is against it. So they have to couch the proposal in whatever language mollifies the rest of the party. Last summer, it was that (Boehner speaking now) "These big, comprehensive bills, that tend to cause all kinds of problems—the American people get suspicious, members haven't read the bills."

PRI's Todd Zwillich, one of the most perceptive reporters on the Hill, ran this Boehner quote by Chuck Schumer, who's also pretty perceptive. The result:

That's not to say that the Congress will actually pass a bill this year. It's just to prove that Boehner was managing his conference and generating the headlines that would not rouse any anti-reform groups.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics


The World

How Canada’s Shooting Tragedies Have Shaped Its Gun Control Politics

Where Ebola Lives Between Outbreaks

Gunman Killed Inside Canadian Parliament; Soldier Shot at National Monument Dies

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Paul Farmer: Up to 90 Percent of Ebola Patients Should Survive

Is he right?


“I’m Not a Scientist” Is No Excuse

Politicians brag about their ignorance while making ignorant decisions.


Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

In Praise of 13th Grade: Why a Fifth Year of High School Is a Great Idea 

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

  News & Politics
Oct. 22 2014 9:42 PM Landslide Landrieu Can the Louisiana Democrat use the powers of incumbency to save herself one more time?
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
Gentleman Scholar
Oct. 22 2014 5:54 PM May I Offer to Sharpen My Friends’ Knives? Or would that be rude?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 4:27 PM Three Ways Your Text Messages Change After You Get Married
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
Brow Beat
Oct. 22 2014 9:19 PM The Phone Call Is Twenty Minutes of Pitch-Perfect, Wrenching Cinema
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Wild Things
Oct. 22 2014 2:42 PM Orcas, Via Drone, for the First Time Ever
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.