A Breitbart story on BuzzFeed’s upcoming immigration summit is causing a stir. Drudge picked it up, and it’s now all over Twitter. In the piece, Breitbart’s Lee Stranahan wonders whether BuzzFeed and the event’s sponsor, the Charles Koch Institute, are subtly pushing for comprehensive immigration reform.
The goal of the event is described as follows: [W]e believe one of the best ways to turn conversations into solutions is through the challenge of assumptions and exchange of ideas. Our event on immigration aims to do just that by bringing together a diversity of opinions for a thoughtful dialogue.
At first glance, the panel appears diverse: the six invitees include a Democrat politician, a Republican politician, two members of conservative organizations, one from a liberal Hispanic/Latino organization, and one from a libertarian think tank.
Looking closer, however, five of the invitees are strongly in favor of the comprehensive immigration reform/amnesty package being put forward by the “Gang of Eight” in Congress. Only one guest–from The Heritage Foundation–has been critical of the proposed immigration reform package. Additionally, an illegal immigrant who is an award-winning journalist will be assisting in broadcasting the event…. Expect plenty of nudging at the Koch-sponsored BuzzFeed Brews event; a night of exhibition insider baseball where BuzzFeed Ben Smith underhands softballs to his pro-immigration reform panelists, who will do their best to drill them right at The Heritage Foundation.
NR reached out to BuzzFeed for comment. The panel’s composition, a source there assures us, isn’t a grand scheme to push an agenda. In fact, more than 20 Republicans who are opposed to comprehensive reform were invited to BuzzFeed Brews (the BuzzFeed-Koch Institute forum) — and they all declined.
“We tried for weeks to get a member of Congress opposed to the proposed immigration overhaul to join us and, for a variety of reasons, they all declined,” says Ashley McCollum, BuzzFeed’s spokesperson. “We’re pleased Heritage agreed to participate in our panel, and we have an open invitation to members who are more skeptical of changing immigration law.”
For now, though, the only Republican to accept an invitation is former Puerto Rican governor Luis Fortuno, who supports comprehensive reform.