Fox News reporter Bill Melugin has been reporting on the out-of-control border for the last two years and he’s been doing a great job at exposing just how overrun it is with illegals crossing in droves every day.
But according to a new report by Politico, the White House is very irritated with his reporting and the ‘alarmist’ feel to it:
There’s a tall Fox News reporter in his mid-30s with slicked back hair and an air of combative indignation who is getting under the skin of some people in JOE BIDEN’s administration. And he’s not PETER DOOCY.
BILL MELUGIN, a former local Los Angeles Emmy-winning reporter, has become a growing presence online and in broader political circles as Fox’s go-to reporter at the U.S. southern border. He’s done hundreds of television hits since joining the network last year, largely from border states, where he often focuses on the historic flow of migrants that are overwhelming communities there.
In recent days, several current and former White House and administration officials expressed to West Wing Playbook their increasing frustration with his on-air coverage, arguing that there is an alarmist quality to it, designed to feed political narratives rather than illuminate the actual issues feeding the migrant flow. Last week, he was the first to break the news that Florida Gov. RON DESANTIS chartered two planes to transport 50 Venezuelan migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard to make a political statement about immigration. He followed up that story with appearances on Fox News opinion primetime — which some of Fox’s straight news reporters notably avoid — and a series of exclusives on DeSantis’ escalating fight with the Biden White House over migrants.
As Melugin has become an increasingly visible figure on the network, his coverage has caught the attention of the White House, which has become increasingly irritated by his reporting. During a press conference last week, press secretary KARINE JEAN-PIERRE noted that Fox News got the heads up on the Martha’s Vineyard flight before local, state and federal agencies.
“The fact that Fox News — and not the Department of Homeland Security, the city, or local NGOs — were alerted about a plan to leave migrants, including children, on the side of a busy D.C. street makes clear that this is just a cruel, premeditated political stunt,” she said.
One administration official who used to work on immigration issues told West Wing Playbook that the Biden team has complained about the lack of nuance in the network’s coverage of the topic, which focuses more on the number of migrants rather than explaining the root causes of the situation. Another administration official believes that the conservative network amps up border coverage whenever there are bad headlines for conservatives in the news.
Of course they are irritated with his reporting because it contradicts their own propaganda that the border is secure and that Biden is doing everything he can to fix it. Those two things are obviously not true and just a perusal of Melugin’s timeline bears witness to that.
But they are also irritated because Biden has been warned by his private pollster that he’s vulnerable on the border:
The White House has remained extremely sensitive to immigration issues in part because it’s been a political vulnerability for Biden.
As the New York Times reported in the spring, Biden’s own pollster JOHN ANZALONE told the president’s team in early 2021 that “immigration is a growing vulnerability for the president.” In a private presentation, he said “voters do not feel he has a plan to address the situation on the border, and it is starting to take a toll.” Since then, as illegal border crossings continue to soar, the administration’s Department of Homeland Security has proposed its own plan to transport migrants from the U.S.-Mexico border to towns closer to the Canadian border but has met internal resistance, as NBC News recently reported.
As West Wing Playbook noted last week, White House officials have been frustrated and annoyed by the relocations, which they see as a political stunt for Republican governors angling for potential 2024 presidential runs. Top White House officials like RON KLAIN, ANITA DUNN, and others have made it clear to staff that they are aware of the powerfulness of immigration as a wedge issue for Republicans.
Clearly the relocation of migrants by Abbot, Ducey and now DeSantis have started taking their toll on this White House and they are lashing out at what they think is the source of their problems, Fox News and Bill Melugin.
Just yesterday, after claing that the Biden isn’t interested in trying to reach an understanding with the governors of Florida, Texas and Arizona on the relocation of illegals, she took a shot at Bill Melugin because the was the first to report the chartered flights to Martha’s Vineyard:
NPR's Franco Ordoñez: "Does the WH support the idea…of states further from the border accepting some more migrants?"
KJP: "Alerting Fox News…about a plan to abandon children…is not burden-sharing."
She adds the border will be secured if GOP give in to the WH on the issue. pic.twitter.com/BysrwswgnQ
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) September 20, 2022