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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sunday English-language talk shows make no mention of Mexico despite Obama's two-day visit

By David Gaddis Smith, MexicoPerspective

      Council of Foreign Relations senior fellow Shannon K. O'Neil lamented last week during an appearance in San Diego that U.S. relations with Mexico too often have taken a back seat as Washington deals with other issues, many of which pale in importance to the U.S.-Mexico bilateral relationship.

      Nowhere was this as evident as during Sunday's U.S. English-language talk shows, where, despite President Barack Obama's two-day visit to our neighbor to the south, there was nary a mention of the word Mexico, except when former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson was presented as a guest on ABC's "This Week With George Stephanopolous."

       Mexico on NBC's "Meet the Press"? Nada. CBS' "Face the Nation," now expanded to an hour, a show where at one point host Bob Schieffer expressed great concern about what was happening in Mexico? Nada. "Fox News Sunday"? Nada. And Howard Kurtz's "Reliable Sources" on CNN was largely taken up with his mea culpa for incorrectly reporting about Boston Celtic basketball player Jason Collins's coming out as gay; maybe on May 12 he could take the media to task for the lack of reporting on Mexico?

       There were other stories to cover. Collins, for one. Israel's bombing of Syria probably did not get all the attention it deserved; one reason for that is that it, like Obama's, happened late in the week, perhaps after other segments for the shows already had been set. New developments on who knew what when on the Sept. 11, 2012 attack that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and other Americans in Benghazi took up the lion's share of "Fox News Sunday," which was to be expected, and "Face the Nation." The Boston Marathon bombings and terrorism. Immigration also was touched on, with former South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint, who now heads the conservative Heritage Foundation, making what could be an outlandish claim that immigration reform could cost the United States bilions of dollars on "This Week," and Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy talking on "Meet the Press" about amending the imigration bill to allow same-sex partners to enter the United States — something Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and others say could kill the bill. Richardson seemed incredulous of DeMint's claim; DeMint said it would be backed up in a forthcoming Heritage Foundation study.

       The Spanish-language talk shows, Univision's "Al Punto" and Telemundo's "Enfoque," did deal with Obama's visit to Mexico and Costa Rica.

       There is an of-quoted saying, "Poor Mexico, so far from God and so close to the United States."

       This week, it could be changed to say, "Poor Mexico, so close to the United States yet so far from the minds of the English-speaking weekly news talk show hosts."