During their significant coverage of his stand against the Obama administration's drone policy, the media have failed to examine Republican Sen. Rand Paul's support for surveillance drones in border states. Now that Paul has come out in favor of comprehensive immigration reform, media outlets have an opportunity to highlight this dichotomy -- especially in light of the fact that his immigration framework requires that drones be used to target immigrants.
In a February 11 Washington Times op-ed announcing his support for immigration reform, Paul wrote:
As a matter of both national security and immigration policy, though, it is absolutely essential that we both secure our border and modernize our visa system so we know who comes and who goes on travel, student and other temporary visas. It is vital all other reforms be conditioned on this goal being met.
Border security, including drones, satellite and physical barriers, vigilant deportation of criminals and increased patrols would begin immediately and would be assessed at the end of one year by an investigator general from the Government Accountability Office.
During an interview on Sean Hannity's radio show, Paul similarly stated that border enforcement should include "a combination of a lot of things," such as satellite imagery and drones. He then went on to dismiss his earlier stance against drones, adding that "for border security, you can use drones for surveillance. That's protecting our country." Hannity did not question Paul over the disconnect between these positions.
Similarly, media have largely ignored Paul's comments calling for drones to target immigrants, even though his stance is not new.
A Fox News host dismissed the threat of furloughs from automatic budget cuts known as sequestration as a "convenient excuse" that allows agency heads to exaggerate the effects of the cuts. However, hundreds of workers have already been laid off due to the budget cuts and more are likely to be fired or furloughed if the cuts continue.
ICE director John Morton faced criticism From Republicans during a House hearing on Tuesday where he testified about the budget decisions ICE made to avoid furloughs. Fox & Friends host Alisyn Camerota dismissed Morton's explanation of his difficult choices as a "handy and convenient excuse," and downplayed the threat of furloughs and layoffs:
This is just what you constantly hear now with sequester. It's either this or furlough. It's either this or laying off. We don't want to take money out of the pockets of workers, and that is a handy and convenient excuse when, you know, you end up not cutting something that people think is expendable.
But local reports from around the country demonstrate that many Americans are already dealing with the serious repercussions of sequestration. Thousands of workers face pay cuts as high as 20% as a result of sequester-induced forced time off, or furloughs. Many more have already experienced layoffs. Citing other news reports, the Huffington Post highlighted several examples of layoffs and furloughs around the country:
On Monday, 250 workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state received pink slips, while another 2,500 others found out they're facing furloughs. Approximately 9,000 people work at the nation's most contaminated nuclear site, and the Associated Press reports that "cleanup is likely to be slowed" because of the budget cuts.
Continental Maritime, a contractor that repairs U.S. Navy ships, expects to lay off 185 employees, effective April 12. Other contractors have issued conditional layoff notices -- meaning that jobs are safe if Congress restores some funding to the Defense Department -- to thousands of employees.
Four-hundred eighteen contract workers tied to the Tobyhanna Army Depot in Pennsylvania are losing their jobs due to sequestration. Two-hundred sixteen people will be dismissed on April 15 and 107 on April 30, the Morning Call of Allentown, Pa., reports. The paper noted that the Tobyhanna Army Depot is losing 35 percent -- $309 million -- of its government funding through the end of the fiscal year, and that more than 5,100 of the people who work there are being forced to take 22 furlough days.
At least eight municipal employees in Monterey County, Calif., are losing their jobs as a result of a decrease in the number of military contracts.
In early March, 23 people who work with the parks and recreation and maintenance departments in Tooele County, Utah, were laid off in order to grapple with the federal budget cuts. "I have four kids. This is my livelihood," said Scott Chance, a 12-year employee. "It pays my health insurance. It gives me my house."
Engineering Services Network is an engineering and technology company and one of the top Latino-owned companies in Virginia. President and CEO Raymond Lopez Jr. told NBC Latino that he has "lost about 20 employeesthrough sequestration."
The Red River Army Depot in Texarkana, Texas, announced in February that it was cutting 414 jobs -- about 10 percent of its workforce. "I don't know how we're going to make it," Raymond Wyrick, whose last day was scheduled to be March 9, told CNN Money.
Rupert Murdoch, the CEO of Fox News' parent company News Corp., plans to join New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg today for a forum on immigration policy. Despite Fox News' history of demonizing immigrants and their constant use of anti-immigrant rhetoric, Murdoch plans to highlight the role of immigrants in American economic successes.
Fox Nation is claiming that the Obama administration is "selling amnesty for $465" through a policy that allows some young undocumented immigrants to stay in the country and possibly avoid deportation. In fact, the $465 is the cost of the application process for deferments from deportation; it is not "amnesty" since applicants are not guaranteed approval and the policy does not confer legal status. The policy is simply a temporary reprieve from deportation that allows immigrants to apply to work in the country legally.
On June 15, the Department of Homeland Security announced:
[C]ertain young people who were brought to the United States as young children, do not present a risk to national security or public safety, and meet several key criteria will be considered for relief from removal from the country or from entering into removal proceedings. Those who demonstrate that they meet the criteria will be eligible to receive deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and will be eligible to apply for work authorization.
Of course, Fox Nation's claim isn't true. The website linked to an ABC News blog post stating:
The Department of Homeland Security today announced details of the application and approval process for the DREAM Act-like program, outlining specific eligibility requirements and a $465 fee. It will begin Aug. 15.
A Detroit Free Press article explained that "[t]he total cost for the application process will be $465," but applying for deferment from deportation does not mean it will be granted. As has been explained before, DHS announced that the policy will allow undocumented immigrants who arrived in America as children and meet other eligibility requirements to request "consideration of deferred action" on a "case-by-case basis" starting on August 15.
Fox News is falsely accusing the Obama administration of "thumbing its nose" at the Supreme Court's recent decision to strike down most of Arizona's controversial immigration law. In fact, the federal government is continuing to enforce immigration law in a manner consistent with the Supreme Court decision.
The court on Monday struck down most of the law, but allowed the so-called "show me your papers" provision of the law to go into effect. In response, the Department of Homeland Security announced that federal officials will not respond to every traffic stop at which Arizona authorities claim to have an undocumented immigrant in their custody. Federal officials will continue to take into custody immigrants with a criminal record and other people who meet federal immigration enforcement authority. DHS is also rescinding its immigration enforcement partnership program with Arizona.
While this announcement is in no way at odds with the court's ruling, Fox News is citing as evidence that the Obama administration is in defiance of the court.
Sean Hannity claimed that Obama was "basically thumbing his nose at the judiciary branch."
Other Fox commentators made similar comments. Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer claimed that Obama was acting "high handed and lawless." And Fox News host Greta Greta Van Susteren claimed the president "snub[bed] his finger, a little bit, at the full court."
In fact, the DHS announcement is perfectly consistent with the Supreme Court's decision. The Supreme Court said that ICE must "respond to any request made by state officials for verification of a person's citizenship status." And DHS will indeed continue to verify an individual's immigration status on request. But the Supreme Court did not impose additional limitations on the federal government such as a requirement that the federal government must arrest all the people that Arizona wants arrested.
Under the court's ruling, the federal government retains its well-established power to use its discretion to decide who it wants to deport.
Fox News attacked the Justice Department for setting up a hotline for Arizonans to report civil rights violations by Arizona authorities enforcing the "show me your papers" provision of the state's immigration law. But commentators from across the political spectrum have acknowledged that Arizona's immigration law could lead to civil rights violations such as racial profiling.
Frequent Fox News guest Jay Sekulow falsely claimed that the Department of Homeland Security would not accept phone calls from Arizona law enforcement seeking to verify an individual's immigration status. In fact, DHS will continue to verify immigration status over the phone, but "will not respond to the scene of state or local traffic stops or similar law enforcement encounters to enforce immigration laws unless the individual meets DHS enforcement priorities."
On The O'Reilly Factor, guest host Laura Ingraham discussed the June 25 Supreme Court ruling striking down several parts of Arizona's immigration law. While talking to Chuck Rocha of the American Worker Latino Project, Ingraham used phony statistics to smear immigrants as criminals and fearmongered about an immigrant invasion that isn't happening.
While talking to Rocha, Ingraham implied immigrants commit more crimes than native-born Americans, citing anecdotes about crimes committed by undocumented immigrants and concluding with the dubious claim that "13 or 12 people a day" "are killed under DUIs by illegals":
INGRAHAM: A lot of these people just say, you know, look, my kids' school has crowded classrooms. Our health care costs are still ballooning. We just had this case just a few months ago in Chicago -- this guy wasn't deported. He ended up running over a 66-year-old insurance salesman -- 66-year-old man dead because this illegal immigrant was not reported to ICE, and he was never deported. We have people killed all over this country. Girls raped, little baby girls raped in Escondido, horrible story over the last six months. What do you say to those families?
ROCHA: I say to those families that you are talking about just a small portion of the immigrants who are here.
INGRAHAM: Doesn't feel small to the mother whose daughter was raped by an illegal immigrant, does it?
ROCHA: That's right. That person should be deported and should be dealt with by every extent of the law.
ROCHA: Let's be clear that we have 12 million immigrants that are in this nation. There's going to be a small portion of that just like a small portion who are here legally, who were born here --
INGRAHAM: Right, but the point is, they were born here. And crime is crime. But when people weren't supposed to be here in the first place, that crime would have never been committed. Isn't that the case?
ROCHA: That is the case to a certain extent.
INGRAHAM: No. To a -- that is the case. Is it not?
ROCHA: No, no. No, it's not the case. We have a broken system.
INGRAHAM: So the people -- the 13 or 12 people a day who are killed under DUIs by illegals -- those people would be alive if our immigration laws were enforced.
This would be indeed be shocking if true, since it would mean that almost half of DUI fatalities in the United States were caused by undocumented immigrants, who make up an estimated 4 percent of the population.
Fox News reacted to news that the Supreme Court struck down most of Arizona's controversial immigration bill, SB 1070, by citing arguments that the one provision that was not immediately thrown out is "the heart of the entire bill," while Fox Nation claimed the decision was a "defeat for Obama." Fox's attempt to find a silver lining is unsurprising, as it has long been a staunch supporter of the statute. But the court's decision was overwhelmingly against the bill and the remaining provision could eventually be overturned.
In their decision today, the Supreme Court invalidated sections 3, 5(C), and 6 of SB 1070, ruling that Arizona did not have the authority to make status as an undocumented immigrant a state crime, to make it illegal for them to work in the state, and most importantly, that state law enforcement officials cannot arrest any individual on the sole basis that they have probable cause to believe the individual is in the country illegally. The one provision, 2(B), that was not immediately thrown out, allows law enforcement to check the immigration status of people arrested for other crimes, but left open the possibility that the statute could be invalidated at a later point. In his opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy noted:
There is a basic uncertainty about what the law means and how it will be enforced. At this stage, without the benefit of a definitive interpretation from the state courts, it would be inappropriate to assume §2(B) will be construed in a way that creates a conflict with federal law.
This opinion does not foreclose other preemption and constitutional challenges to the law as interpreted and applied after it goes into effect.
SCOTUSblog explained that the ruling of the court means that 2(B) can be invalidated later if enforced in a unconstitutional way:
Police Checks. Section 2(B) of the law requires the police to check the immigration status of persons whom they arrest before releasing them. It also allows the police to stop and arrest anyone suspected of being an undocumented immigrant. The Court held that the lower courts were wrong to prevent this provision from going into effect while its lawfulness is being litigated. It was not sufficiently clear that the provision would be held preempted, the Court held. The Court took pains to point out that the law, on its face, prohibits stops based on race or national origin and provides that the stops must be conducted consistent with federal immigration and civil rights laws. However, it held open that the provision could eventually be invalidated after trial.
This morning Fox Nation and Fox News Latino once again provided dramatically different views of the same immigration news story, demonstrating the palpable tension between the two Fox websites and their audiences. The far-right, anti-immigrant Fox Nation declared the Supreme Court's ruling today on Arizona's immigration law a "defeat for Obama" because the ruling supposedly "upholds part" of the law, while Fox News Latino's headline focused on the court "strik[ing] down 3 of 4 provisions" of the law.
Fox News initially claimed that the United States Supreme Court's ruling on Arizona's immigration law was a "defeat for Obama," linking to an article from News Corps. wire service, Newscore:
This article no longer appears on Fox Nation, having been replaced by a June 25 Wall Street article that Fox Nation titled "U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Controversial Part of Tough Arizona Immigration Law."
Fox News Latino, by contrast, headlined their report "Supreme Court Strikes Down 3 of 4 Provisions of Arizona Immigration Law." The article also explained that the Court "left standing...the 'check your papers' provision of the law." The article included the below image:
After President Obama announced that the U.S. will stop deporting certain young immigrants, Fox News figures have accused President Obama of undercutting Republican Sen. Marco Rubio's attempt to pass legislation reportedly similar to the DREAM Act. In fact, Obama and Democrats attempted to pass the DREAM Act in 2010, before being blocked by Senate Republicans.
Fox News has resorted to advancing an old falsehood to criticize President Obama's recent immigration policy change, claiming that his administration has failed to enforce immigration laws. In fact, the Obama administration's immigration enforcement policy has been so effective in the last three years that the New York Times recently remarked: "Mr. Obama's record on deportations has not been matched since the 1950s, with nearly 400,000 foreigners removed in each year of his term."
Indeed, during Obama's three years in office, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported more than 1.1 million undocumented immigrants. The annual average number of deportations under Obama is twice the annual average from President Bush's first term, and 30 percent higher than Bush's average when he left office. The removal of undocumented immigrants has steadily risen since Obama took office.
More specifically, deportations of undocumented immigrants who have criminal convictions have risen 89 percent since 2008.
But since Obama announced the immigration policy shift, Fox has conveniently ignored these facts in favor of amplifying the Republican message that under Obama, the United States is "the only country in the world that does not enforce its immigration laws," as Sen. Marco Rubio claimed last night on Fox News' Hannity.
Funny thing about the Daily Caller: they've never been wrong.
That seems to be their official stance, at least. Even when they are spectacularly in error -- something that happens to every news org now and again -- Tucker Carlson and his retinue will get right in your face and tell you nope, you're wrong, we're right.
Consider the flap over Daily Caller reporter Neil Munro's absurd outburst during President Obama's June 15 statement on the new immigration policy. Nearly every observer, regardless of ideology, agrees that Munro acted unprofessionally, and disrespected himself and his organization. But not Tucker Carlson: "A good reporter gets the story. We're proud of Neil Munro."
Standing by your own is one thing, but this goes beyond merely circling the wagons. Carlson is arguing that Munro behaved as a reporter should -- that he "got the story." This praise is belied by the actual story Munro wrote, which contained little substance, barely touched on the policy at issue, and lacked detail (probably because Munro didn't do any actual reporting while he was at the White House).
Acknowledging miscues is part of the professional news business, but this screw-the-world counterfactual stubbornness is the Daily Caller's go-to response for those moments when they cross the line.
Last September, Daily Caller reporter Matthew Boyle wrote a piece claiming that the Environmental Protection Agency is "asking for taxpayers to shoulder the burden of up to 230,000 new bureaucrats -- at a cost of $21 billion -- to attempt to implement" new greenhouse gas regulations. Boyle's source, a court brief filed by the EPA, actually said the exact opposite: the EPA had issued a rule in May 2010 that allowed the agency to avoid that scenario. Boyle misread the document and got the story completely wrong.
After various media outlets weighed in and confirmed that the Daily Caller had botched the report, executive editor David Martosko penned an editorial note lashing out at critics and declaring: "Our news story was well reported, carefully sourced, and solidly written. Despite the criticisms that some have offered, we haven't changed a word." Defiance notwithstanding, his rationalization for not correcting the story didn't hold up.
Defending the story to Politico, Martosko argued, essentially, that the story had to be right because the EPA is government and government is bad: "What's more likely: that the Obama administration's EPA wants to limit its own power, or that it's interested in dramatically increasing its reach and budget? Anyone who has spent more than a few months in Washington knows the answer."
From the June 19 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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In April 2011, the New York Times detailed the connections between John Tanton, the notorious kingpin of the current anti-immigrant movement in America, and two anti-immigrant organizations -- the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) -- famous for their powerful influence over immigration-related legislation at the state and federal levels. Despite finding that Tanton "nurtured" FAIR and CIS into power and documenting Tanton's extensive connections to white supremacists, the Times continued to look to these groups for contributions to the immigration debate.
A recent Media Matters study found that anti-immigrant groups with strong ties to white supremacist organizations, FAIR and CIS among others, were cited by the nation's top five newspapers, as well as the Associated Press and Reuters, over 250 times as sources for immigration-related stories.
The New York Times in particular cited these groups 46 times as sources for their news stories since the introduction of Arizona's controversial immigration law, SB 1070, in January 2010. However, in April 2011, the Times changed course and published two exposés detailing the extensive ties between many of these groups and the aforementioned Tanton. From The New York Times:
One group that Dr. Tanton nurtured, Numbers USA, doomed President George W. Bush's legalization plan four years ago by overwhelming Congress with protest calls. Another, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR, helped draft the Arizona law last year to give the police new power to identify and detain illegal immigrants.
A third organization, the Center for Immigration Studies, joined the others in December in defeating the Dream Act, which sought to legalize some people brought to the United States illegally as children.
"One of my prime concerns," he wrote to a large donor, "is about the decline of folks who look like you and me." He warned a friend that "for European-American society and culture to persist requires a European-American majority, and a clear one at that."
Dr. Tanton acknowledged the shift from his earlier, colorblind arguments, but the "uncomfortable truth," he wrote, was that those arguments had failed. With a million or more immigrants coming each year -- perhaps a third illegally -- he warned, "The end may be nearer than we think."
He corresponded with Sam G. Dickson, a Georgia lawyer for the Ku Klux Klan, who sits on the board of The Barnes Review, a magazine that, among other things, questions "the so-called Holocaust." Dr. Tanton promoted the work of Jared Taylor, whose magazine, American Renaissance, warned: "America is an increasingly dangerous and disagreeable place because of growing numbers of blacks and Hispanics." (To Mr. Taylor, Dr. Tanton wrote, "You are saying a lot of things that need to be said.")
Despite publishing this article on April 17, 2011, and another on April 30, 2011 (explaining that soon after its first piece, Tanton's name was scrubbed from FAIR's list of board members), the Times did not stop citing these organizations -- and the paper's subsequent references to the groups fail to note the organizations' affiliations to Tanton and the pro-white movement, according to a Media Matters analysis of coverage between January 13, 2010, and May 25, 2012.
In fact, after publishing these exposés, the Times cited FAIR and CIS more than 15 times during the next year. Instead of explaining these groups' unsavory connections, the Times opted for more generic characterizations such as "a conservative group" and "a group that seeks reduced immigration," essentially whitewashing the groups' troubling records which the Times had dedicated two articles to exposing.
It's unlikely the Times would cite white nationalist organizations as credible sources for their news stories on immigration policy, so why are they allowing FAIR and CIS a pass?
For details on the methodology and other information in the Media Matters report, click here.