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.
Bill O'Reilly distorted editorials on immigration from five major newspapers and accused the "left-wing print media" of not having "any solution at all" to the problem of illegal immigration.
On Fox News' Fox & Friends, radio host Erich "Mancow" Muller announced that he was "having a big rally here in Chicago" for a "group" that he said was "pro-illegal murder and illegal car thieves." Muller added: "We're just getting together, and we're going to be out on the street. We're for illegal murder and illegal car thievery. So, we just like illegal stuff. All of us going to get together, have a big riot."
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On The O'Reilly Factor, Michelle Malkin declared that Latinos protesting the recent House bill aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration believe in "reconquista," or the theory that "the American Southwest belongs to Mexico." Malkin added that "the intellectual underpinnings of reconquista are embraced by the vast majority of mainstream Hispanic politicians."
Citing comments recently documented by Media Matters for America, Keith Olbermann named Bill O'Reilly the runner-up and winner of March 30's "Worst person in the World" award.
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Chris Matthews claimed that House Republicans who recently passed a bill that would apparently criminalize undocumented immigrants, their employers, and those who provide aid to them "have a right to fear" a "cultural change" that would result in their home states and towns "becom[ing] overwhelmingly Mexican."
Michael Savage repeatedly called on his listeners to "burn the Mexican flag" in opposition to illegal immigrants. Savage claimed that the only way to combat the onslaught of illegal immigrants is through protest and asked his audience to "[b]urn a Mexican flag for America, burn a Mexican flag for those who died that you should have a nationality and a sovereignty, go out in the street and show you're a man, burn 10 Mexican flags, if I could recommend it. Put one in the window upside down and tell them to go back where they came from!"
Bill O'Reilly accused Cardinal Roger Mahony and other opponents of a recently passed House immigration bill of "demagoguing the issue -- not telling the folks the truth." O'Reilly purported to "make [i]t clear to everybody" that the proposed legislation would not affect people like Mahony, but rather "the priests who would establish an underground railroad from Tijuana to L.A." In fact, the House bill specifically threatens up to five years of imprisonment to anyone who "assists, encourages, directs, or induces a person to reside in or remain in the United States."
On the March 29 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, NPR senior correspondent Juan Williams roundly dismissed student protestors in Los Angeles who were among the hundreds of thousands of protesters in cities nationwide demonstrating against legislation set to impose harsher penalties on illegal immigrants. Williams said: "These kids don't know anything."
A Washington Times editorial accused Latinos who took to the streets in recent days to protest a House immigration bill of either supporting or having given "tacit approval" to the "reconquista" agenda of "Hispanic radicals," which the editorial said was the "reconquering of Mexican land lost during the Mexican-American war."
A New York Times editorial stated that President Bush "talks a good game on immigration," despite describing immigration proposals mirroring those Bush has publicly backed as "a recipe for indentured servitude."
On MSNBC's Hardball, host Chris Matthews falsely claimed that "71 percent of the country say" that illegal immigration is "their number one concern." In fact, polls have repeatedly found that less than 10 percent of Americans believe illegal immigration is the most important issue facing the country.
While discussing immigration, Bill O'Reilly claimed that Cardinal Roger Mahony opposes a recently passed House immigration bill because he "knows he'll get those people in church when he doesn't have anybody in church anymore." O'Reilly also attacked Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, saying that "the Ted Kennedys of the world" favor immigration "because they know they'll get the lion's share of those votes."