On April 11, radio host Michael Savage responded to a Media Matters for America item posted earlier that day by claiming that he had not referred to illegal immigrants as "vermin" as Media Matters contended, but rather "the leadership behind" the illegal immigrants. Savage declared: "[Y]eah, I would say that vermin is an accurate description, Mr. Media Matters." But on his April 10 show, Savage used the pronoun "they" -- who are "not even entitled to vote or be here" -- whose antecedent was unmistakably "vermin. In the same broadcast, he also said that politicians who continue to support the "vermin" may be "picking the vegetables."
On his daily BreakPoint radio commentary, convicted Watergate felon and Prison Fellowship Ministries founder Charles W. Colson claimed that legalized abortion created a labor shortage, forcing the United States to solicit undocumented workers from other countries to fill jobs that might have otherwise been occupied by the "40 million sacrificed since 1973" to abortion.
Fox News' David Asman suggested that the use of U.S. flags and signs written in English at recent pro-immigration demonstrations was "just a cover" by the demonstrators to conceal their "real intention, which is to keep things as normal among illegal immigrants in the country." Similarly, Neil Cavuto suggested that the demonstrators' U.S. flags were "just a prop," and "just a ploy to win America's support."
Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed that the Senate immigration bill "does not address border security in any meaningful way" because it would "add 2,500 border patrol [agents] a year and that's it." In fact, in addition to doubling the number of border patrol agents over the next five years, the bill would also increase interior enforcement and electronic surveillance and provide for construction of additional barriers and fences along the border.
On Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, Michelle Dallacroce, founder of Mothers Against Illegal Aliens, suggested that -- contrary to most polling on the question -- the American public opposes proposals to provide a legal status for illegal immigrants in the United States.
On MSNBC's Scarborough Country, Michael Smerconish suggested that "maybe law enforcement ought to step in" at pro-immigration demonstrations and consider "gathering ... up" illegal immigrants.
Loading the player leg...
Fox News guest host David Asman discussed nationwide protests of proposed immigration reform and wondered: "With so many illegals hitting the streets, is this the perfect time to round up these lawbreakers and ship them out?" As Asman spoke, the onscreen text read "Round 'Em Up?" Later, the text read: "Perfect Chance to Arrest Illegal Immigrants?"
Loading the player leg...
On American Family Radio's Today's Issues, Joseph Farah, founder and editor of the right-wing news website WorldNetDaily, asserted without evidence that there are 20 million to 30 million "illegals" in the U.S. Farah also claimed that the "one-worlders" of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) have a plan to merge the United States, Mexico, and Canada by 2010 and suggested that President Bush's proposed guest worker program is part of this plan.
CNN's Lou Dobbs falsely suggested that a Colorado middle school's ban on flags -- in the wake of protests at the school over proposed immigration reform legislation -- applied only to the American flag. In fact, the ban encompassed clothing depicting all flags and other "patriotic" symbols, and was not limited to American flags. Dobbs also said a California school district "ban[ned] flags and patriotic symbols"; in fact, both the Mexican and American flags are prohibited there.
In articles about the immigration reform debate on Capitol Hill, The New York Times and the Associated Press presented two Senate immigration reform proposals -- a comprehensive bipartisan bill and a compromise measure recently put forth by Republicans -- as the full scope of the current debate on the issue in Congress. But the Times and the AP ignored entirely the more severe reform proposal the House passed in December 2005.
CNN host Lou Dobbs falsely claimed that "there have been more advocates of open borders and illegal immigration" on Lou Dobbs Tonight "than there have been opponents." In fact, a Media Matters review of the first three months of 2006 found that among guests who held positions on immigration reform, Lou Dobbs Tonight featured 26 appearances by guests who largely agreed with Dobbs's positions on immigration reform, compared with only 16 guests whom he might describe as "advocates of open borders and illegal immigration."
Several media figures have misrepresented public opinion polling on immigration issues in order to falsely suggest that the public opposes providing a temporary work program and a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. In fact, polling has consistently shown that most Americans favor some form of temporary guest worker program or path to citizenship for the illegal immigrants already in the United States.
While saying that he was citing an internal e-mail from The National Council of La Raza (NCLR), Fox News' John Gibson claimed he was suspicious that "open immigration groups" like the NCLR favor "the so-called reconquista," which Gibson described as the "retaking of old Mexico territories, which are now part of the United States, by pure birth rate." Gibson also asserted that the NCLR "is a group dedicated to the betterment of the race," adding, "good, but try being American while you are at it, guys."
Following recent demonstrations in which protesters marched against proposed legislation that would criminalize undocumented workers, some in the media have criticized the demonstrators for carrying Mexican flags. But these same media figures have not complained about people waving other nations' flags, such as Irish flags at St. Patrick's Day events, Italian flags at Columbus Day events, or Israeli flags at Israel Day events.