Fox News host Bill O'Reilly claimed that "most Americans have no tolerance for what they call amnesty" in the Senate immigration bill, and Fox News political contributor Newt Gingrich called the bill "absurd" because "it will be very unpopular." But recent polling almost universally shows that Americans support a path to citizenship -- provided for in the Senate bill -- for some illegal immigrants currently in the United States.
In their coverage of the postponement of congressional negotiations on immigration reform, several major print media outlets failed to note that legislation passed by House Republicans would designate as felons the approximately 11 million illegal immigrants currently residing in the United States.
CNN's Wolf Blitzer failed to challenge Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman's false attacks on Democrats over the Iraq war and immigration policy.
On MSNBC's Hardball, Chris Matthews suggested that only "irregular Republicans" support patrols of the U.S.-Mexico border by the Minuteman Project, a group determined to stop what it calls "[t]he human flood breaching our Homeland Defense." But public-opinion polls suggest significant Republican support for the Minutemen and their activities.
On MSNBC's Hardball and Scarborough Country, Pat Buchanan claimed that the number of immigrants entering the United States will cause the "balkanization of America" and will create "a giant Kosovo in the Southwest." Buchanan's warning that the Southwest "is going to secede" echoed claims by other conservative commentators that some Hispanics want to "reconquer" parts of the United States that were lost during the Mexican-American war.
On his radio show, Glenn Beck accused "liberals" of wanting to "rape" illegal immigrants by "hav[ing] them pay into Social Security" without "allow[ing] them to get any of those funds back." In fact, when the Senate considered an amendment that would have prevented newly legalized immigrants from receiving credit for Social Security benefits for work done as illegal immigrants, Democrats overwhelmingly opposed the amendment, while Republicans strongly supported it.
On Fox News' Special Report, correspondent Major Garrett falsely claimed that Democratic congressional candidate Francine Busby "endorses providing" Social Security benefits to illegal immigrants. Garrett appeared to be distorting Busby's support for a recently passed Senate immigration bill in the same way Busby's Republican opponent, Brian Bilbray, did. In fact, the Senate's legislation would do nothing to change the current prohibition on illegal immigrants receiving Social Security benefits.
Just days after unveiling his "Nitwit of the Week" award, John Gibson asserted that there was no reason why Mexico should not be able to "support [its] own people" as well as Saudi Arabia since "Mexico is the second ... largest exporter of oil to the United States, outranking even Saudi Arabia." But Gibson's reasoning is contradicted by several facts.
On Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume, Roll Call executive editor Morton M. Kondracke falsely claimed that a "majority of the Republicans" voted for the recently passed Senate immigration bill. In fact, 23 Republicans voted for the legislation, while 32 voted against it.
On his radio show, Bill O'Reilly suggested that "farm workers" in Yakima, Washington, "throw tomatoes" at Mexican President Vicente Fox for being "an incompetent person."
On CBS Evening News, Capitol Hill correspondent Sharyl Attkisson uncritically reported Rep. Walter B. Jones's (R-NC) baseless claim that "call[ing] for no guest worker program" for immigrants is "much more in line with the desires of the American people" than an immigration bill that features such a provision. In fact, public opinion polls do not support Jones's assertion.
Despite a CNN spokeswoman's acknowledgement that the use of a graphic from the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC) -- an organization linked to white supremacists -- during an immigration report on CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight was "regettab[le]," the incident was not mentioned during the following edition of the show. As Media Matters has noted, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the CCC "has described blacks as 'a retrograde species of humanity,' compared singer Michael Jackson to an ape, and promoted neo-Nazi and Holocaust denial materials."
In reports on the Senate immigration bill, CNN's Lou Dobbs and Christian Science Monitor staff writer Gail Russell Chaddock cited a dubious immigration study conducted by Robert Rector of the conservative Heritage Foundation. However, neither Dobbs nor Chaddock noted that independent analysts have questioned the methodology and results of Rector's study, which has reportedly influenced the Senate immigration bill debate.
On CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, Lou Dobbs claimed that the Senate immigration bill, which includes numerous provisions targeting illegal immigration, does "absolutely nothing for border security." On the same show, correspondent Casey Wian characterized Mexican President Vicente Fox's trip to Salt Lake City, Utah, as a "Mexican military incursion," and claimed that "[y]ou could call" Fox's trip to the United States "the Vicente Fox Aztlan tour" -- drawing a baseless link between Fox and the reconquista movement, which maintains that portions of the American Southwest belong to Mexico.
While discussing immigration on CNN's Larry King Live, a group of the cable channel's political reporters and contributors, which host Larry King called "the best political team on television," touted President Bush's support for the bipartisan Senate bill that would provide a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants and suggested falsely that his position on immigration has been consistent. In fact, before Bush came out in support of the Senate bill, he had praised a competing House bill and, according to the House bill's author, Rep. James Sensenbrenner, pushed for the inclusion of some of its most controversial provisions, including one making it a felony to be in the United States illegally and another making it a felony to provide assistance to illegal immigrants.