CNN anchor Kate Bolduan confronted Representative Steve King (R-IA) with a very basic question this morning on New Day: “Do you just not like Latinos?”
The anchor framed her query around an exchange the Iowa congressman had with Republican strategist Ana Navarro on Meet the Press on Sunday.
King did not address Bolduan's query, responding, “I think it's pretty clear that Ana didn't veil her bias against me. She didn't address a single fact that I delivered. She simply hurled accusations and baseless allegations.”
He went on to defend his track record in Congress, citing his record of passing amendments in the House of Representatives while avoiding the issue of his feelings towards Latinos.
Bolduan refused to let King dodge, telling the Congressman, “I don't want to linger on this too much, but you said Ana Navarro didn't answer any of your questions. You didn't really answer mine either. . . that your comments come across as a thinly veiled bias against Latinos.”
King's response -- still not directly answering the question -- was to say that if people interpret his comments that way, “I'd like to have them explain it.” He then reiterated his widely criticized statement warning against drug smuggling immigrants.
Bolduan deserves praise, not only for her follow up questions pressing the subject, but for broaching the subject of motivations. Too often reporters, especially on television, are loath to ask questions that cut to the core of the motivations of legislators. This is especially true when it comes to issues that cross difficult boundaries of race and class.
But Bolduan's question deserves to be at the center of the immigration debate as demagogues like Rush Limbaugh and other leading conservatives object to the bill with their usual vitriol.
On issues such as immigration and voting rights, there are clear racial implications to the public policy positions taken by our elected representatives regardless of party or ideology. Part of the media's role should be to unearth these motivations, even when forced to ask uncomfortable questions about bigotry. To not do this simply leaves viewers only partially informed.