Right-wing blogs have seized on Sen. Jon Kyl's (R-AZ) claim that President Obama is refusing to "secure the border" in order to force the GOP to support comprehensive immigration reform -- a claim the White House has since flatly denied. Indeed, the Obama administration has already taken numerous steps to boost border security but argues that "truly securing the border will require a comprehensive solution," which is a view shared by immigration experts as well as several Republicans.
On Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy and guest Corey Stewart, chairman of the Prince William County, Virginia, board of supervisors, falsely claimed that the county's controversial immigration law reduced violent crime and has never been altered. In fact, Prince William County's violent crime rates actually increased in 2009; the law was modified in 2008 to avoid legal challenges; and a University of Virginia study of the law shows that it has not led to a reduction in crime.
From the June 19 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends Saturday:
Loading the player reg...
The progression of Fox's wildly misleading reporting about the closure of a small strip of land in an Arizona wildlife refuge has been quite impressive. First, "straight news" anchor Shannon Bream reported on June 15 that a "massive stretch of Arizona [is] now off limits to Americans. Critics say the administration is, in effect, giving a major strip of the Southwest back to Mexico." On June 16, Fox Nation followed by promoting her report with the laughable headline "Obama Gives Back Major Strip of AZ to Mexico." (As we noted, the closed area is about five miles square, it's been closed since 2006, and it's, uh, still U.S. territory.) A FoxNews.com article from the same day at least managed to correctly report the fact that the land has been closed since 2006.
On the evening of June 16, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service put out a statement attempting to clear up confusion surrounding the closure, which is in the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge. Part of the statement said that while the closure had been implemented "due to human safety concerns," "since 2006 the Refuge has experienced a significant decline in violent activity in the area thanks to ongoing cooperation between the US Fish and Wildlife Service and US Customs and Border Protection." Sounds like good news.
So, how did Fox do on June 17?
FoxNews.com posted an article that incorporates quotes from the Fish and Wildlife statement. Headline?
From the June 17 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier:
Loading the player reg...
As we pointed out, Fox Nation used the preposterous headline "Obama Gives Back Major Strip of AZ to Mexico" in trumpeting a Fox News report about a closure of land in a national wildlife refuge in Arizona:
In the June 15 report, America Live guest host Shannon Bream says, "A massive stretch of Arizona now off limits to Americans. Critics say the administration is, in effect, giving a major strip of the Southwest back to Mexico."
There are a few problems with this: A representative of the refuge told Media Matters that the "massive stretch" of land is about five miles square, it's been closed since 2006, and it obviously hasn't been given back to Mexico.
During a discussion of changes to immigration detention centers on the June 15 edition of Fox & Friends, the following on-screen graphic aired:
From the June 11 broadcast of Radio America's The G. Gordon Liddy Show:
Loading the player reg...
From the June 10 edition of Talk Radio Network's The Savage Nation:
Loading the player reg...
On June 10, The Cato Institute's Michael F. Cannon responded to a story about "illegal immigrants helping to clean up the oil" by joking "I hear they're very absorbent" on his Twitter page. The post appears to have since been deleted:
H/T Think Progress
Update: The Washington Post's Dave Weigel writes that Cannon was "joking about what he sees as craziness in Louisiana," in response to "a local Louisiana sheriff fretting that undocumented workers might bring a 'criminal element' to the gulf if brought in for oil spill cleanup."
From the June 3 edition of Fox News' Special Report:
Loading the player reg...
Yesterday we told you about the sick contest Columbus, Ohio's WTVN AM 610 (a Clear Channel station) held last week in reaction to Mayor Michael Coleman's decision to keep city employees from visiting Arizona on official business because of the state's new controversial immigration law.
The prize was a free trip to Phoenix, AZ for "a weekend chasing aliens and spending cash in the desert." The station's promotion of the contest also implored contestants to be "sure to bring your green card."
WTVN AM 610 station manager Brian Dytko is now apologizing saying in part, "We apologize for our actions here. We are always striving to engage our community on important issues of the day and sometimes we do a better job than others, but we always take the input of our community."
This is Brian Dytko, Station Manager of WTVN with a message regarding our station's recent "Win a Trip to Phoenix, Arizona" promotional contest. Our contest was meant as a humorous response to a City of Columbus ban on travel to Arizona by city employees. In fact, a key element of the promotion was that city employees were specifically invited to enter the contest. We regret that our promotional copy has been characterized as condoning violence. This was not our intent, and we do not condone violence of any kind. We apologize for our actions here. We are always striving to engage our community on important issues of the day and sometimes we do a better job than others, but we always take the input of our community seriously.
While addressing both Arizona's controversial new immigration law and national immigration reform, media outlets have reported that polls found widespread support for Arizona's law. But these reports ignored recent national polls finding that large majorities also support providing a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants in the United States.
Columbus, Ohio's WTVN AM 610 (a Clear Channel station) ran the following contest last week in reaction to Mayor Michael Coleman's decision to keep city employees from visiting Arizona on official business because of the state's new controversial immigration law:
In response, the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) is calling on WTVN and Clear Channel to apologize for the station's contest in which the winner received a free trip to Arizona "to spend a weekend chasing aliens and spending cash in the desert."
"The passage of SB 1070 has provoked a lot of reprehensible anti-Latino and anti-immigrant rhetoric but a radio station bankrolling someone to 'hunt' human beings for sport represents a new low," stated Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO. "The owners and directors of WTVN might think that this is all in good fun but what is happening to Latinos – citizen, legal, and undocumented alike – in Arizona is no joke. We are asking for an immediate and unequivocal apology from the station and its parent company."
Noting that the station's contest has triggered considerable outrage in Latino communities in Ohio, Arizona, and nationwide, Murguia concluded, "It is important to keep in mind that the American people own the airwaves over which WTVN broadcasts. As such, we will ask FCC Commissioners to ensure that threats against American citizens – such as the one encouraged and promoted by WTVN – are not taken lightly and dealt with in an appropriate manner as soon as possible."
You can share your thoughts about the contest with WTVN and Clear Channel by clicking here.
Ed Whelan and Volokh Conspiracy blogger Stewart Baker are attacking Elena Kagan for a brief the Solicitor General's office filed asking the Supreme Court to overturn one aspect of an Arizona law dealing with illegal immigration. (No, not the controversial SB 1070 that was passed earlier this year, but another law, which was passed in 2006 and punishes businesses for hiring undocumented immigrants.) Their attack is bizarre.
First, as Whelan and Baker acknowledge, the brief -- which was submitted by the Solicitor General's office on May 28 -- does not bear Kagan's name, because Kagan had recused herself before the brief was filed. Second, another blogger at the conserviative-leaning Volokh Conspiracy, Jonathan Adler has taken issue with the attacks on the Solicitor General's brief. And third, the overwrought is internally contradictory.
Baker, a former Bush administration official attacked the Solicitor General's office for filing a brief in Chamber of Commerce v. Candelaria that argues that the Supreme Court should strike down a portion of an Arizona law that imposes punishment on businesses that hire illegal immigrants. Baker states: "The brief takes positions that from a political and policy point of view are hard to square with, well, sanity. In leaving little room for states to address a problem the feds haven't solved, the brief gets to the left of the Ninth Circuit, which upheld this law." Later in the blog post, Baker states: "What does all this say about Elena Kagan, woman of mystery and Solicitor General until two weeks ago? Nothing good, I fear."
Whelan highlighted Baker's comments about Kagan, stating: "I'll highlight here Baker's harsh criticism of Elena Kagan's presumed role in the matter:
In fact, though, as Baker acknowledges in a portion of his post quoted by Whelan, Kagan "stopped acting as Solicitor General on May 17, and this brief was presumably filed on May 28, when it was released." Indeed, Kagan's name is not on the brief that Baker and Whelan attack. Baker's and Whelan's attack is based solely on pure speculation about how much work Kagan did on the brief before recusing herself from working as Solicitor General because of her Supreme Court nomination. Furthermore, even if they did have such evidence, it wouldn't be evidence of Kagan's personal views on the issue. As Kagan said in written questions regarding her Solicitor General nomination:
I understand that role [of the Solicitor General] as representing the interests of the United States, not my personal views. I indeed think that I would enjoy, as well as be deeply honored by, the Solicitor General's position if I am fortunate enough to be confirmed. The advocate's role is frequently to put aside any interests or positions other than those of her clients.