San Diego TV Station Claims CNN Turned down Local Views Over Border Wall Because They Proved It Works

A local TV station in San Diego has accused CNN of turning down the chance of hearing from the broadcaster after it found out it had aired reports indicating a border wall would be effective.

KUSI, an independent station established in the San Diego area in 1982, alleged that the national broadcaster first reached out to it on Thursday as it wanted a "local view" of what the proposed border wall between the U.S. and Mexico would entail for the area.

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The San Diego–based TV station made the revelation in its news bulletin on Thursday night, when it also posted a detailed explanation of the events on its website.

According to the report, CNN asked whether the station would be able to provide a reporter who could offer a local view on President Donald Trump's plans to build a wall along part of the border with Mexico.

Additionally, the report states, CNN was also interested in gathering opinions on the government shutdown, which entered its 21st day on Friday.

KUSI claims it directed CNN toward Dan Plante, one of its journalists who has covered the topic of a border wall extensively in the past. The network added it thought Plante best suited for the job, as one of its stories had been published on DrudgeReport.com and retweeted by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

However, the offer was allegedly turned down by CNN after KUSI informed the news channel that the Border Patrol Agents it had interviewed had highlighted the wall was effective in preventing illegal migrants from entering the U.S.

"We believe CNN declined a report from KUSI because we informed them that most Border Patrol Agents we have spoken to told us the barrier does in fact work," the article, which was published on KUSI's website, states.

"We have continuously been told by Border Patrol Agents that the barrier along the Southern border helps prevent illegal entries, drugs, and weapons from entering the United States, and the numbers prove it."

Networks like CNN often change coverage plans at the last moment with no specific agenda. And stations that have taken a particular political stance, as KUSI seems to have done on the issue of the border wall, are often not considered suitable for news coverage that aims for objectivity.

A CNN spokesperson told Newsweek: "We called several local stations to book someone for a show. We didn't end up booking any of them. That happens many times every single day. We did, however, book a reporter from KUSI for a story on immigration and the border wall on CNN in November. This is a non story."

But KUSI shared a clip of the news bulletin and the link to the article via its official Twitter account and, at the time of writing, the post had been retweeted over 7,000 times.

Trump's proposed border wall has dominated the political agenda in Washington since the government shutdown began shortly before Christmas, after the Senate and the House failed to reach an agreement over its funding.

The president has demanded $5.7 billion to build the wall, while the Democrats have repeatedly refused to budge from an offer of approximately $1.3 billion.

Earlier this week, in a prime-time address to the nation, Trump described the situation on the southern border as a "humanitarian and security crisis" for Americans and immigrants alike.

U.S. Mexico border wall
A U.S. Border Patrol agent walks toward one of President Trump's border wall prototypes on the U.S. side of the U.S.-Mexico border on January 9, as seen from Tijuana, Mexico. Mario Tama/Getty Images

This article was updated to include comment from CNN.