From the October 6 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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From the September 16 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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From the September 15 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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Eric Lewis, chairman of Reprieve US, highlighted how conservative media's fearmongering about crime undermines efforts to reform the criminal justice system and inspires GOP candidates to adopt scare tactics about the Black Lives Matter movement and immigration into their campaign strategies.
Conservative media have repeatedly used baseless claims to link the Obama administration to crimes against police, and often use inflammatory rhetoric to describe the Black Lives Matter movement. Fox News hosts and anchors have derisively called Black Lives Matter a hate group - despite often praising the work of actual hate groups - and right-wing media figures have misleadingly cited President Obama and Mayor Bill de Blasio's statements about police brutality to suggest that they are responsible for violence. Right-wing media also used the murder of San Francisco woman Kate Steinle to defend Trump's immigrant smear.
In a September 15 commentary for the Marshall Project, Eric Lewis, chairman of Reprieve US, argued that conservative media outlets have seized on the "potential" for a "Republican renaissance on fear of crime," which prevents a "constructive discourse" around "the crushing costs of incarceration, the waste of mandatory minimum sentences," among other criminal justice issues.
The conservative National Review sees the potential here for a Republican renaissance on fear of crime. In a recent paean to Nixonian nostalgia, "Revive Law and Order Conservatism," Stephen Eide writes, "So long as the New York Times and anti-cop activist groups continue with their provocations, we can be reasonably confident that more violent unrest is to come. The spectacle of chaos descending on cities long dominated by Democrats obviously plays to the GOP's advantage."
He decries conservative attitudes on crime as "notably softer now than they have been in many decades." Acknowledging that "New York City's murders hit a 50-year low," he observes, "there were still more than three times as many as in London, which has about the same population." Surely that could have nothing to do with robust Second Amendment rights, another cornerstone of the Republican platform. Eide counsels Republicans that a key to victory in 2016 is to "emphasize that we still have a serious crime problem."
Republican candidates are taking note. On Hot Air, a conservative web site, Scott Walker properly lamented a recent spate of tragic police shootings but blamed them on President Obama. "In the last six years under President Obama, we've seen a rise in anti-police rhetoric. Instead of hope and change, we've seen racial tensions worsen and a tendency to use law enforcement as a scapegoat." And Chris Christie threw Bill de Blasio under the bus as well, "It's the liberal policies in [New York] that have led to the lawlessness that's been encouraged by the president of the United States," he said. "And I'm telling you, people in this country are getting more and more fed up."
Republicans are increasingly positioning the issue as a rift between Black Lives Matter and police unions, between Sanctuary Cities and thousand mile anti-rapist walls. The constructive discourse in recent months about the crushing costs of incarceration, the waste of mandatory minimum sentences, the twin crises of mental health and addiction in prison, the endless cost and delay in enforcing the death penalty has all but ended. In its place, Republicans are moving toward the traditional toxic brew of race, ethnicity, white middle class insecurity and panic about crime.
Get ready for the return of Willie Horton.
From the September 13 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends Sunday:
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From the September 8 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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Numerous conservative media outlets are parroting the misleading conclusions of a September 2015 report by an anti-immigrant nativist group, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), which claims that "immigrant households use welfare at significantly higher rates than native households." Like previous flawed CIS studies, these findings have been called into question by immigration experts for failing to account for the economic hardship of some immigrant families, lumping American-born beneficiaries into "immigrant household" categorizations, and conflating numerous anti-poverty programs with so-called "welfare."
Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano decried how the "tone" of the national immigration law debate "has taken an ugly turn" with the increasing use of nativist rhetoric to attack "anchor babies," yet glossed over the fact that his Fox colleagues have been some of the loudest proponents of the slur and ending birthright citizenship.
Napolitano condemned attacks on birthright citizenship as "dangerous" and "anti-American" in a September 3 opinion piece for Foxnews.com, detailing how Hispanics are "being demonized because of the politics of nativism." Revoking the 14th Amendment right to birthright citizenship, Napolitano wrote, would change the country "far more radically and dangerously than any wave of undocumented immigrants did":
Today, the potential victims of public indifference and government repression are Hispanics in America. Hispanics here without documentation are being demonized because of the politics of nativism. Nativism -- we are exceptional; we are better people than they are; we were here first -- is very dangerous and leads to ugly results.
The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution underscore the truism that all persons have the same natural rights, irrespective of where their mothers were when they delivered them.
The Fourteenth Amendment requires this, and its language is inclusive: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof are citizens of the United States..." Though written to protect former slaves, its language is not limited to them.
When the history of our times is written, it might relate that the majority repressed the rights of minorities by demonizing them using appeals to group prejudice -- by blaming entire ethnic groups for the criminal behavior of some few members of those groups.
That history might reflect that this was done for short-term political gain.
If that happens, it will have changed America far more radically and dangerously than any wave of undocumented immigrants did.
And that would be profoundly and perhaps irreparably un-American.
Yet Napolitano's criticism fails to note that his Fox colleagues have been some of the loudest proponents of revoking birthright citizenship and using "anchor baby" slurs to demonize immigrants.
Even before Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump proposed amending the constitution to revoke the 14th Amendment right, Fox figures like Bill O'Reilly, Steve Doocy, and Laura Ingraham were calling for an end to birthright citizenship. Their demand grew even louder after Trump voiced his support -- Sean Hannity demanded an end to birthright citizenship to stop "anchor babies" while Fox & Friends lauded Trump's plan as "remarkable." Lou Dobbs proposed a legal justification to spur along the end of birthright citizenship, which Fox radio host Todd Starnes declared would put "Americans first."
What's more, Fox figures applauded Trump's use of the term "anchor baby" -- Brian Kilmeade even said "a lot of people think that [term] would be a compliment," while Hannity claimed "there is no other term to use."
Beyond a purported wave of "anchor babies" being an anti-immigrant myth, the term is offensive to Hispanics. As NBC News explained, it's a "dog whistle" or a "term used to describe coded language that means one thing in general but has an additional meaning for a targeted population. According to one expert, 'anchor baby' is used as a code 'to stimulate fear about changing racial demographics.'"
From the September 2 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
Fox News' Pete Hegesth exploited the migrant crisis in Europe in order to stoke fears that terrorists may now be able to cross the "porous borders" into the United States. The European Union is facing the "Continent's largest mass migration since the end of World War II" as the region grapples with how to address thousands of asylum seekers migrating "mostly from the Middle East and Northern Africa," reports The New York Times. Hegseth suggested the influx of asylum seekers could "leave an opening for terrorists." From the September 2 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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Journalists should be careful when reporting on the Republican Party's relationship with Hispanic voters not to downplay the potential harm GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump may be inflicting on the party's brand with his anti-immigrant campaign platform.
The Washington Post has run two recent articles that make a case that Trump's consistently hostile remarks about immigrants is having no measurable effect on Latino voters' general opinion of the GOP.
On August 23, a Post piece claimed that polls weren't showing any negative effect of Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric among Hispanic voters. According to The Post:
But the worst fears of the Republican establishment, that Trump's unapologetic condemnations of immigration will scuttle their shot at retaking the White House, so far aren't revealing themselves in polling.
For all of the polling that's been done in the 2016 races so far, there are a lot of gaps. A big one is that most polls don't include large samples of Hispanic voters, making it hard to isolate the views of members of that community. Often, Hispanic voters are grouped with black and Asian voters to form a statistically significant group of "non-white" voters.
If Trump's comments were hurting him and/or Republicans with voters, we'd expect to see them faring worse after the June/July period in which the comments became public -- and Trump rose in the polls.
A follow-up Post piece on August 26 headlined, "No, Donald Trump isn't hurting Republicans with Latinos," relied on a Gallup Poll to conclude that Trump's "strongly negative image" among U.S. Hispanics hasn't "damaged other Republicans." The article failed to mention the poll's finding that most Hispanics are "still getting to know most of the Republican contenders for president," which means Trump's effect on the GOP-Latino voter dynamic can't be accurately measured yet.
The Post reached its conclusions despite a high-profile incident a few days earlier, when Trump kicked out Univision and Fusion anchor Jorge Ramos, the country's most prominent Hispanic journalist, from a press conference he was holding in Iowa. The Post addressed the incident's potential effect on Hispanic voters by questioning the supposed "guilt by association" theory, which holds that Hispanics will connect Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric to the entire GOP brand.
A Univision poll bolsters Gallup's findings that Latinos have yet to make up their minds about many GOP candidates, providing more evidence that suggesting Trump's effect on the GOP brand is benign is premature at best, and flat wrong at worst.
Many media outlets, including Politico, have suggested that Trump and his anti-Latino platform positions may actually be "setting the GOP agenda," noting that "practically every candidate in the race is now engaging in and losing a war of insults, aping Trump's issue agenda and in some instances pilfering his best lines." As evidence of Trump's ability to "influence" other Republicans, NPR ran a segment that featured several conservative Latinos who said they feel alienated by Trump's rhetoric.
And Spanish-language newspaper El Nuevo Herald reposted an analysis by Spanish-language news agency EFE that places Trump well within the Republican camp, suggesting that at least some Hispanic media outlets doesn't consider Trump all that different from his Republican competitors:
Unfortunately for the other candidates like Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio, Donald Trump has captured the protagonist's spotlight within the Republican party since he called immigrants "rapists and drug traffickers," defended the deportation of 11 million undocumented immigrants and proposed building a wall along the Mexican border.
Additionally, journalists who use the lens of Trump's candidacy to examine the GOP's troubles with Hispanic voters should remember that there has long been a divide between the party and the Latino community. In other words, Trump isn't causing a new Republican rift with this voting bloc, he's exacerbating an existing one.
That rift was closely examined from within the party itself in a 2012 GOP autopsy report, which concluded that Republicans needed to rebrand themselves with Latinos and "put significant effort and resources into reaching out to Hispanic media and news outlets" as part of a Hispanic outreach effort, after a disastrous loss to Democrats in the general election:
The RNC must put significant effort and resources into reaching out to Hispanic media and news outlets. This needs to be a high-level presence on all Latino media. The RNC must rebuild an updated, working list of Hispanic surrogates, not just RNC staff, to help carry and sell our message to the Hispanic community.
We need to campaign among Hispanic, black, Asian, and gay Americans and demonstrate we care about them, too. We must recruit more candidates who come from minority communities. But it is not just tone that counts. Policy always matters.
If we believe our policies are the best ones to improve the lives of the American people, all the American people, our candidates and office holders need to do a better job talking in normal, people-oriented terms and we need to go to communities where Republicans do not normally go to listen and make our case. We need to campaign among Hispanic, black, Asian, and gay Americans and demonstrate that we care about them, too.
If Hispanic Americans perceive that a GOP nominee or candidate does not want them in the United States (i.e. self-deportation), they will not pay attention to our next sentence. It does not matter what we say about education, jobs or the economy; if Hispanics think we do not want them here, they will close their ears to our policies. In the last election, Governor Romney received just 27 percent of the Hispanic vote. Other minority communities, including Asian and Pacific Islander Americans, also view the Party as unwelcoming. President Bush got 44 percent of the Asian vote in 2004; our presidential nominee received only 26 percent in 2012.
Fox News host and resident media critic Howard Kurtz questioned Jorge Ramos' journalistic integrity in the wake of the Univision anchor's contentious press conference questioning of Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, concluding that Ramos was little more than "a heckler."
During an August 25 press conference in Dubuque, Iowa, Ramos pressed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on his promise to forcibly remove millions of undocumented immigrants, and presumably in some cases their American-born children, from the United States as part of a sweeping and expensive redesign of the American immigration system. Trump's initial reaction was to have his security team escort Ramos from the room, before eventually engaging in a minutes-long argument with the journalist over the feasibility and legality of his plan.
Ramos' actions during the press conference have been widely criticized at Fox News. On August 26, Fox contributor and Daily Caller editor-in-chief Tucker Carlson claimed that Ramos is "not a reporter," but rather "an editorialist" and "an activist" whose questioning of Trump was not protected by the First Amendment. Fox host Bill O'Reilly complained that media were not "report[ing] this story honestly" before proceeding to lecture Ramos on journalistic etiquette and concluding that the Univision anchor was not "an objective purveyor" of the news. During an interview with Ramos, Fox host Megyn Kelly asked if he could "understand Trump's side" of the dispute, citing a seemingly unrelated legal battle between Univision and Trump's Miss USA beauty pageant.
On the August 30 edition of Fox News' Media Buzz, host Howard Kurtz used his program as a platform to continue Fox's campaign against Ramos as well as its defense of the Republican frontrunner. Kurtz allowed conservative columnist Mercedes Schlapp to forward the unsubstantiated claim that conservative and mainstream media "both agree that Jorge Ramos was out of line." Washington Examiner correspondent Susan Ferrechio accused Ramos of interrupting other reporters to get his point across, before Kurtz concluded that Ramos was acting like more like "a heckler" than a journalist:
KURTZ: Jorge Ramos is the chief anchor of Univision, chief news anchor, which is the largest Spanish-language network in the country. And so, he clearly has opinions on this issue, but he's not paid to go and disrupt events. I mean, I thought at times he seemed like a heckler -- like a heckler.
The ejection of Ramos from Trump's August 25 press conference garnered national headlines and was roundly condemned by Spanish-language media, but the reaction among right-wing media personalities has been to instead attack Ramos for speaking out of turn. Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh denigrated Ramos as a "shill" and "activist" who was merely attempting to elevate the profile of his network, and Erick Erickson called Ramos a "thug" and dismissed him as "a self-absorbed, self-righteous leftwing activist."
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Iowa radio host Jan Mickelson, who recently suggested enslaving undocumented immigrants who don't leave his state, misrepresented a comment made in 1866 by one of the authors of the 14th Amendment to argue that the U.S. Constitution doesn't grant automatic citizenship to American-born children of undocumented immigrants, a wildly revisionist misreading of both American history and legal precedent
After falling for right-wing media talking points about ending birthright citizenship and "anchor babies," Republican presidential candidates Gov. Scott Walker (WI) and former Gov. Jeb Bush (FL) are scrambling to justify and backtrack their offensive rhetoric.
Conservative media have spent years complaining about "anchor babies" and "birth tourism," and calling for an end to birthright citizenship -- a constitutional guarantee -- and recently they've found a sympathetic ear with Republican presidential hopefuls. Donald Trump called for dismantling the 14th Amendment as part of his immigration plan, a platform that quickly won him acclaim from right-wing pundits and outlets.
In turn, contenders Jeb Bush and Scott Walker offered their opinions on the matter. Walker told NBC's Kasie Hunt on August 17 that we should "absolutely, going forward" end birthright citizenship, and in an interview just two days later, Bush called for better enforcement to prevent "'anchor babies', as they're described, coming into the country" -- Remarks the two men are now frantically walking back.
Bush received heavy criticism for his use of the slur "anchor babies," and despite initially defending his remarks and telling reporters he didn't believe the slur was offensive, Bush has since changed his tune. During an August 24 news conference, Bush claimed that when he was talking about "anchor babies," he wasn't referring to Latinos, but instead, the term is "more related to Asian people." Bush's attempt to backtrack landed him in the midst of yet another right-wing media talking point, birth tourism.
Bush is trying to have it both ways here. He's trying to use the phrase "anchor babies" to reassure the base that Donald Trump isn't the only one who knows the downsides of birthright citizenship. But he's trying to tie it to a policy issue that actually does exist, rather than one that (to all appearances) does not.
What's more, it's clear Bush was referring to Hispanic immigrants with his initial remarks about "anchor babies." As MSNBC's Steve Benen explained:
Bush simply isn't telling the truth. We've heard the recording - when the Florida Republican used the term "anchor babies" last week, he wasn't talking about Asians and "birth tourism." He very specifically referred to Mexico, border enforcement, and "our relationship with our third largest trading partner."
Similarly, Walker received widespread media attention for his week-long effort to explain his call to end birthright citizenship. Three days after parroting the right-wing media talking point, Walker moved to refusing to take a position on birthright citizenship, arguing that until the border is secure, "any discussion about anything else is really looking past" what we need to do. By August 23, Walker had completely backtracked, stating he was not seeking to repeal or alter the 14th Amendment. As The Washington Post's Dana Milbank summarized the week's events, "Walker has spun himself into a triple axel -- and landed on his face."
And while Bush and Walker may be trying their best to sweep their initial condemnation of the 14th Amendment under the rug, it's not hard to see where they initially got their talking points.
Conservative media figures going back to Glenn Beck in his Fox News days have railed against so-called "anchor babies" and "birth tourism," the former a derogatory slur and debunked myth used against U.S. born children of non-citizens, the latter of which represents a sliver of births that experts have repeatedly pointed out are "extraordinarily rare" and an insignificant immigration problem. As Salon's Simon Maloy wrote, this "grossly nativist and legally dubious" rhetoric has nevertheless found a receptive audience among conservatives.