A few days ago, Fox News contributor Karl Rove went on Hannity and promptly dropped four lies in four minutes, one of which was that President Obama promised to introduce comprehensive legislation in August 2009, but "nothing has happened." Writing in The Wall Street Journal yesterday, columnist Kimberley Strassel put forth the same argument in trying to disprove Obama's statement that his administration's recent policy shift on immigration had to be done in "the absence of any immigration action from Congress to fix our broken immigration system."
The president's claim that he had to do this because Congress wouldn't act -- a statement made in the face of Mr. Rubio's efforts toward a deal and the president's own lack of interest in compromise over his more than three years in office -- was particularly galling.
In fact, Obama and the Democrats did try to address immigration reform but were rebuffed by Senate Republicans -- something right-wing media have been trying to erase from the historical record. Moreover, when it became clear that immigration reform would not be attainable, Obama focused his administration's efforts into ramping up enforcement and fortifying the border -- which many Republicans demanded as a condition for supporting reform.
On MSNBC today, contributor Ari Melber and political analyst Michael Eric Dyson pointed some of this out following a speech by Mitt Romney to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, during which he adopted the right-wing frame. Romney claimed that Obama "failed to address immigration reform" after he promised to do so in 2008.
But as Dyson and Melber noted, that's not true.
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.
On The Daily Show, Jon Stewart mocked Fox News for falsely accusing President Obama of hypocrisy regarding recent administration changes to immigration policy.
Stewart pointed out that Fox had deceptively edited comments by Obama. As a result, Fox left the false impression that the president didn't believe his administration could use its discretion to allow certain young immigrants to stay in the country.
Stewart pointed out that Fox's edited video cut Obama off "just before he very clearly says he can do the exact thing he just did."
|The Daily Show with Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Democalypse 2012 - Pander Express Edition - Obama's Immigration Reform|
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:
Loading the player reg...
Right-wing media have misrepresented President Obama's remarks to falsely accuse him of hypocrisy on immigration policy.
On June 15, Obama announced a change in the Department of Homeland Security's immigration policy that will allow certain young immigrants to remain in the country.
Right-wing media have since pointed to three Obama remarks to claim the president himself believes the immigration policy change is illegitimate. In fact, each of Obama's statements is consistent with the new policy.
In all of the statements the right-wing media highlighted, Obama stated that while he can't unilaterally change the law, his administration can use its prosecutorial discretion to focus on criminals rather than law-abiding immigrants, and that is just what the DHS policy change does.
Right Wing Media Misrepresent Remarks Obama Made At Univision Town Hall Meeting
Right-wing media, such as MichelleMalkin.com, The Blaze and the Daily Caller, seized on remarks made by Obama during a March 28, 2011, Univision town hall meeting. Each of these websites highlighted Obama's comment that he could not "suspend deportations through executive order." The Blaze concluded that Obama was acknowledging that the immigration policy change "would be a rank violation of the separation of powers."
Obama's comments during the Univision event were actually perfectly consistent with the DHS policy change. On Friday, Obama did not announce an executive order on immigration; rather DHS said it will use its discretion to allow certain young immigrants to remain in the country on a "case by case basis."
And at the Univision event, Obama said that the administration is using and will continue to use its discretion to focus on deporting immigrants "who've engaged in criminal activity" rather than non-criminals. Obama also highlighted the fact that while deportations of criminal immigrants are up under his administration, "deportation of non-criminals are down."
This is consistent with the DHS policy, which states that criminals are not eligible to remain in the country while certain young non-criminals will be allowed to stay.
Bill O'Reilly brought Karl Rove onto his Fox News show for a dizzying spin session about the Obama administration's announcement that it will allow some young undocumented immigrants to remain in the U.S. In a short span, Rove managed put forward numerous falsehoods about the new policy and the recent history of the immigration debate.
Here are four facts about immigration -- and how Rove tried to jam them up:
1. The change in deportation policy for young people is legal. The Department of Homeland Security announced that it will exercise its prosecutorial discretion and consider exempting some young immigrants from deportation. This is consistent with current law and has decades of precedent. But on The O'Reilly Factor, Rove claimed that President Obama is saying that "we will selectively apply the laws of the United States" and that "[w]e will exempt a class of people from the statutes. There's no authority, I think, to do that."
2. The new policy will be applied case by case. The DHS press release describing the policy change says, "Under this directive, individuals who demonstrate that they meet [certain] criteria will be eligible for an exercise of discretion ... on a case by case basis." On The O'Reilly Factor, Rove falsely asserted that Obama is saying that "we will selectively apply the laws of the United States, not individual, case by case by case, but by class."
3. Comprehensive reform legislation was introduced in Congress under Obama. In December 2009, Democrats introduced a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the House of Representatives. On The O'Reilly Factor, Rove falsely claimed that in August 2009, Obama promised to introduce comprehensive legislation, but "nothing has happened."
4. Republicans led the way in killing 2007 reform legislation. In June 2007, Senate Republicans played a dominant role in killing comprehensive reform legislation, which was backed by President Bush. A majority of the Democrats in the body voted to advance the legislation, while a majority of the Republicans voted to block it. Rove dubiously claimed that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid "was the guy who screwed up comprehensive immigration reform in 2007. He really is not a fan of comprehensive immigration reform."
From the June 18 edition of The O'Reilly Factor:
Following the announcement that the Department of Homeland Security will stop deporting certain undocumented immigrants, Lou Dobbs incorrectly claimed on his Fox Business show that "a good portion" of those affected were "adults when they came here." In fact, the policy change applies only to immigrants who were brought to the U.S. before they were 16.
Today, the Fox "straight news" program America Live hosted Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), to discuss the legality of President Obama's new immigration policy, which will potentially exempt certain young undocumented immigrants from deportation and allow them to work here legally.
As Media Matters has previously documented, FAIR is an anti-immigrant organization considered a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Not only does it have a history of using extreme, violent, and offensive language aimed at undocumented immigrants, but it has extremist ties as well.
Unsurprisingly, Stein spent the interview, which also included immigration attorney Francisco Hernandez, falsely suggesting the change in immigration policy is lawless. Stein characterized the change as an "outrageous power grab" and said that "the president's responsibility is to faithfully execute the laws of the United States. He does not have the right to completely rewrite the immigration law, give out these kinds of benefits."
However, as Hernandez pointed out, the policy shift is an exercise of prosecutorial discretion that is consistent with current law. Indeed, American Immigration Lawyers Association president David Leopold explained in a report that "[a]ll law enforcement agencies" have prosecutorial discretion, "including those that enforce immigration laws." As Penn State law professor Shaba Sivaprasad Wadhia noted in a 2009 article, immigration authorities have been using prosecutorial discretion to stop deportation proceedings for more than 30 years.
Furthermore, the new policy is consistent with decades of immigration law.
This is not the first time Fox has given a platform to Stein. In August 2011, America's Newsroom hosted him to attack Obama's immigration policy and defend Alabama's controversial immigration law. In March 2011, Fox & Friends hosted him to push the myth that women come to the U.S. solely to give birth.
From the June 16 edition of Sirius XM's Media Matters Radio:
Loading the player reg...
From the June 16 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends Saturday:
Loading the player reg...
From the June 15 edition of MSNBC's The Ed Show:
Loading the player reg...
Following the Obama administration's announcement that it will grant certain undocumented immigrants the chance to be exempted from deportation, Fox News claimed President Obama had issued the decision as an executive order, implying he did so to circumvent Congress. In fact, the change is an exercise of prosecutorial discretion that is consistent with the current law and has decades of precedent.
From the June 15 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
Loading the player reg...
In response to a Time magazine cover story by journalist Jose Antonio Vargas about how life changes after he and others revealed his or her status as an undocumented immigrant, Fox News hosted a member of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
Vargas, who has previously been the subject of Fox's scorn after he wrote an article last year revealing himself as an undocumented immigrant, wrote an article updating his status in a newly published issue of Time. The article details current struggles by people in Vargas' same situation -- where there is no available path to legal documentation. Vargas also details that "the long-stalled Dream Act is the best hope" for young people to gain a path to U.S. citizenship.
Rather than host a measured discussion on the issues Vargas brought up, Fox & Friends turned to FAIR for a "fair and balanced" debate with immigration attorney Francisco Hernandez. According to the SPLC, "FAIR leaders have ties to white supremacist groups and eugenicists and have made many racist statements. Its advertisements have been rejected because of racist content." FAIR has even promoted people who make violent threats and vicious smears against immigrants.
Today, FAIR media director Ira Mehlman kicked off the debate by saying "I think we've seen this in-your-face attitude before. Back in 2005 and 2006, you had hundreds of thousands of people marching in the streets of every major city in the United States demanding to be rewarded as a result of having broken the law." Attacks on undocumented immigrants such as these were a staple of the 2006 right-wing campaign against immigration reform.