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."
From the September 3 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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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' The O'Reilly Factor:
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From the September 2 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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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."
Despite the crowded field of Republican presidential candidates, conservative talk radio seem unified on their favorite: Donald Trump.
Thanks to talk radio, Buzzfeed News' Rosie Gray noted in her August 27 article "The Real Media Machine Behind Trump: Conservative Talk Radio," "you can almost listen to pro-Trump News all day." Gray pointed how "some of the biggest names in conservative talk radio -- Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, and Savage -- have praised Trump and his bashing of the politically correct left and Republican establishment":
Unlike cable news, conservative talk radio speaks directly to the disaffected conservative base fueling Trump's rise. Rush Limbaugh's is still the most-listened-to talk radio program in the country, pulling in 13 and a quarter million weekly listeners, according to estimates in Talkers magazine, an industry publication (Limbaugh himself has estimated it in the past at 20 million). Talkers puts Sean Hannity in second, with 12.5 million. Mark Levin ties with Glenn Beck (a Trump critic) for fourth, with 7 million. Savage has more than 5 million, according to Talkers' estimates.
And if you're someone who listens to a lot of talk radio, you can go from Ingraham to Limbaugh to Hannity or Savage to Levin in a day and hear nary a word of displeasure with Trump.
Though many hosts have avoided a formal endorsement, they've heaped praise on the candidate and signaled to their listeners that Trump is their guy.
Indeed, Limbaugh has spent the summer praising Trump for tapping into the base Republicans need to win and for his "ability to illuminate" issues. Hannity has lauded Trump as "impressive and refreshing," while Ingraham has claimed he resonates with voters because he's willing to say what "no one else is saying."
It's not mere compliments spewing from talk radio -- the conservative pundits are championing Trump's offensive and dangerous proposals. And as Gray noted, "[i]f Rush Limbaugh or Mark Levin or Sean Hannity or Laura Ingraham decide that birthright citizenship is going to be a big issue, then lo, it becomes the issue of the week, or month." She went on:
And right now, Trump's embrace of hardline immigration ideas like ending birthright citizenship matches up perfectly with the policies that some of these hosts have been promoting for some time. The Trump-inspired debate over immigration is allowing them to mainstream ideas that once didn't have much purchase, the birthright citizenship question being a notable recent example. Both Levin and Limbaugh have seized on a quote by Sen. Jacob Howard, the original sponsor of the Citizenship Clause, that they're using to bolster their case that the 14th amendment doesn't guarantee citizenship to the children of people in the country illegally. Laura Ingraham has also referenced it.
Limbaugh has bragged that Trump's smear of Mexican immigrants as "rapists" and criminals is similar to what he's been saying on the radio for years. On birthright citizenship, Limbaugh applauded Trump's call to end the constitutional right, saying Trump "has people standing up and cheering." Hannity and Levin joined forces to declare that "Trump was right" on the 14th Amendment.
The praise should come as no surprise, as Trump's call to end birthright citizenship is itself taken from right-wing talk radio talking points. For years, Ingraham and Levin have been demanding an end to birthright citizenship, which Levin dismissed as a "nut-job policy" and Ingraham attacked as "nonsense."
Iowa radio host Jan Mickelson, who is under fire for suggesting that undocumented immigrants should become "property of the state" unless they leave Iowa, applauded a decision by Texas' Department of State Health Services to deny birth certificates to American children of undocumented immigrants.
On his August 28 show, Mickelson criticized what he called "street hustler" civil rights groups who have filed a lawsuit against the Texas Department of State Health Services for refusing to issue birth certificates to U.S. citizen children born to undocumented immigrant parents. As Talking Points Memo explained, the plaintiff's complaint alleges that Texas stopped allowing "matricula consular" identifications -- official papers issued by the U.S.-based consulate of the immigrant parents' home country -- "to meet the requirements to acquire a birth certificate for their U.S.-born children" around two years ago.
Mickelson, who denies that the 14th Amendment's guarantee of birthright citizenship applies to the children of undocumented immigrants, said he thinks it is "cool" that Texas is refusing to issue these birth certificates and expressed his appreciation of Texas' approach as "Iowa passive-aggressive," which will prevent such children "to start this process of looting." Listen (emphasis added):
JAN MICKELSON: The Mexican government has now filed its amicus brief -- that's 'a friend of the court' -- supporting a coalition of undocumented parents who are suing the state of Texas because they were denied birth certificates for their kids. So all of the usual suspects, the ACLU, La Raza, and every street hustler organization that has its hooks in us, according to the Texas Civil Rights Project and the Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid Society and the Department of Health and Social Services and the Friends of Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala, have all decided to sue the state of Texas because they can't get documentation of the birth of their kids, that were illegitimately born here in the United States and they're not following form. Now Texas is doing the Iowa passive-aggressive thing, "Okay, you can be born here, just no record of your existence and you can't use anything from us to start this process of looting." That is cool.
Mickelson has come under fire recently for comments he made on his August 17 radio show advocating that undocumented immigrants who refuse to leave Iowa after being warned become "property of the state" and be forced into "compelled labor." It was the latest of Mickleson's many anti-immigrant remarks, which include his assumption that anyone with a Hispanic-sounding name who gets involved with the police is an undocumented immigrant, and his declaration that educating undocumented children in public schools is "a scam."
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White nationalist media figures are backing Donald Trump's presidential campaign and celebrating his stance on immigration. They have hailed Trump as "doing the Lord's work," someone who "represents our interests," "the best of the lot," and the "last hope for a president who would be good for white people."
CNN political commentator Jeffrey Lord attacked Univision anchor Jorge Ramos for playing the "race card" even though he is a "blue-eyed, light-skinned ... European Mexican." Lord also connected Ramos to Virginia shooter Vester Lee Flanagan II and alleged Charleston shooter Dylann Roof, claiming they all engaged in "dividing the country by race."
On August 25, Ramos, one of the country's top Hispanic journalists, was booted from Donald Trump's press conference while attempting to ask the Republican presidential candidate questions about his immigration policy. Ramos was later allowed to return. Conservative media subsequently cheered Trump for his treatment of Ramos.
In his August 27 column for The American Spectator, Lord criticized Ramos for being "in Iowa to score a blow for race card playing" by "rant[ing]" against Trump on immigration. Lord dismissed him as "a left-wing illegal immigration activist disguised as a journalist" who fulfills "every stereotype of the smarty-pants rude media type that millions of Americans have come to loathe."
Lord then transitioned to an attack on Ramos' ethnic background. He cited a 2011 column by Ruben Navarrette Jr. stating that in Mexico, many of the most important jobs go to those who "have the lightest skin." Lord then wrote, "Now let's get back to Jorge Ramos. The blue-eyed, light-skinned Ramos -- let's be candid he is a European Mexican -- is the epitome of what Navarrete is saying."
Lord proceeded to criticize the idea that America should be a "multiethnic, multi-racial and multicultural" nation, claiming:
Ramos also penned a 2002 column in which he revealed that he wants to turn America from the "melting pot" of historical fame into a North American version of Mexico -- divided by class and race. In the words of Ramos, "the challenge of the United States is that it recognize itself as it is--a multiethnic, multi-racial and multicultural nation."
This is exactly antithetical to the American Dream. America is not supposed to be an "ethnic" or "racial" nation let alone a "multiethnic, multi-racial and multicultural" nation. "All men are created equal" in the Declaration of Independence is about "all men." Period. Full stop. It says nothing about race or ethnicity. The nation is founded on principles of freedom and liberty -- ideas, not skin color or class structure.
Yet that is not what Ramos is seeking. He is playing the Mexican version of the race card and wanting to transfer the rigid class structure of his native country northward.
He continued by drawing a line from Ramos' advocacy to "slavery to segregation to lynching to the Ku Klux Klan":
It is no accident that his ideas get such a warm welcome on the American Left. As we note here so often, the political party that fuels the American Left is the Democrats -- the party that arose around the organizing principle of dividing Americans by skin color. From slavery to segregation to lynching to the Ku Klux Klan to illegal immigration, the beating heart of the American left is race -- race card-playing, outright racism.
It is no wonder that Ramos, coming from a Mexican society that is itself hopelessly divided by out and out racism thinks it would be terrific to import this way of life to America. And it is no wonder that millions of Americans -- yes, those supporters of Donald Trump -- are furiously resisting. Trump supporters come from a wide diversity of ethnicities -- and in a country that is 100% populated by the descendants of immigrants from all over the globe -- Trump supporters are demanding a colorblind society of American social mobility -- where race and class remain the foreign notions that so many millions came here to escape.
During an appearance today on CNN's New Day, Lord also connected Jorge Ramos to mass shooters in Virginia and Charleston.
When asked about potential solutions to shootings, Lord said that "when you read this guy's manifesto ... he was into a race war. A reaction, which he mentioned, of the Charleston shooting. And that guy was motivated by race." He then connected the mass-shooters to Ramos, stating: "I'm suggesting here that instead of dividing the country by race, which is what we seem to do, which is what, for instance, Jorge Ramos was all about in that press conference. It's all about the race of people. We shouldn't be going down that path." From CNN:
LORD: You know, two things that are not being discussed here at all when you read this guy's manifesto, one is race and the other is value of life. And what do we have here? We have this whole Planned Parenthood issue going on in which basically they're selling baby parts, devaluing life.
ALISYN CAMEROTA: But how is that connected to a man who's just, who feels slighted and decides that killing other people is the answer?
LORD: Right. In other words he's not valuing life. He didn't value the lives of the people that he killed. And aside from that, he was into a race war. A reaction, which he mentioned, of the Charleston shooting. And that guy was motivated by race. So I'm suggesting here that instead of dividing the country by race, which is what we seem to do, which is what, for instance, Jorge Ramos was all about in that press conference. It's all about the race of people. We shouldn't be going down that path. This is a color blind country, that was Dr. King's goal, that's where we should be headed, and I think that is something that we should be discussing as well as mental illness and guns.
Lord has a history of pushing fringe rhetoric and misinformation. He engaged in a "profoundly ahistorical" crusade to deny the lynching of a black man, has repeatedly defended Trump's false anti-Mexican immigrant rhetoric, and pushed bogus conspiracies about progressives and Democrats.
Despite his history, CNN hired Lord as a CNN political commentator earlier this month.
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