Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
One of 13 illegal aliens displaced by a fire in West Palm Beach, Fla. WPTV-TV made an on-air plea Dec. 1 to help the group, without identifying them as illegal aliens.
The top-rated television station in West Palm Beach, Fla., is calling on viewers to put aside their ”political beliefs” to help 13 illegal aliens trying to “survive the American Dream” after being displaced by a fire at the home they rent in the city.
Jamie Holmes, a reporter for the NBC affiliate, WPTV-TV, avoided referring to the members of the Bravo and Morales families as illegal aliens or undocumented immigrants in an original on-air report, instead describing them as ”the hard-working kind of people which created such a controversy in America this year … .”
That copy read: “The Morales and the Bravo family are the hard-working kind of people which created such a controversy in America this year.
”Regardless of your opinion on illegals in this country, these two families believe in giving back to a nation which has been kind to them.”
In the videotaped report, Holmes admonished viewers to ”put away your political beliefs of where they should or should not be” before making an appeal for donations of money, beds, bedding, toys, and household items.
An assignment editor with the station, David Gould, was contacted by WND and asked how the station decides which stories to become advocates for, why the original report didn’t note the families are illegals, should the station be soliciting on behalf of those who are breaking the law and how it is decided when reporters should admonish viewers as to how they should respond.
He said only News Director Peter Roghaar could respond to those questions, and, “He won’t be in until Thursday.” WND also was told the reporter was off on Mondays and Tuesdays, and the general manager, Brian Lawlor, was out of the office today. Messages left for Lawlor, his assistant and Roghaar weren’t returned.
The local chapter of the Red Cross had been assisting the families but the report indicated the organization’s ”hospitality” would soon ”run out.”
According to the on-air report, younger members of the families have been working with a local man and ”fixing up bikes just to hand out to under-privileged kids.”
The report went on to say: ”Now this family which believes in giving back to the nation which has given to them, doesn’t know what’s coming. No beds, no toys, most of their clothes are gone, but what’s left is perhaps most important: 13 people as close as they come … about the only guarantee for tomorrow is that they’ll all be together.”
As WND reported in March, five suspected illegal aliens were taken into custody after the pickup truck they were in smashed into a car in suburban West Palm Beach, killing a popular school principal.
Local television stations and the Palm Beach Post newspaper reported on the crash at the time but did not initially state the men were illegal aliens, or even suspected illegals.