Fox Snubs Pro-Immigration Rallies In Favor Of Amplifying Heritage Claims


Fox News devoted significantly more airtime to the Heritage Foundation's claims that providing legal status to undocumented immigrants will have negative fiscal impact, but mostly ignored pro-immigration rallies during the same period.

Fox News Spent More Than 25 Minutes Promoting Heritage's Flawed Immigration Claims

Fox News Covered The Heritage Immigration Claims For 25 Minutes, Only Covered Pro-Immigration Rallies For One Minute And A Half.  Fox News covered the Heritage Foundation's immigration claims for 25 minutes and six seconds which included coverage of their flawed study, but only covered two immigration rallies for one minute and 30 seconds in the period between April 1 and May 6, 2013. [Fox News, 4/1/13-5/6/13] (click to enlarge)

Fox News Covered Heritage's Faulty Immigration Claims Leading Up To Heritage Study Release

Fox News Covered Heritage's Immigration Claims Several Times In April Leading Up To Heritage Immigration Study Release. Fox News devoted seven segments to covering the Heritage Foundation's claims that immigration reform would be expensive leading up to the release of the Heritage Foundation's study. One of these segments included an interview with Heritage President Jim DeMint to claim that immigration reform would be very expensive for taxpayers. [Fox News, Fox and Friends, 4/1/13, Happening Now, 4/9/13, Special Report with Bret Baier, 4/9/13, 5/2/13 Your World with Neil Cavuto, 4/11/13, 4/22/13, On The Record with Greta Van Susteren, 4/30/13]

Fox News Covered Heritage's Flawed Immigration Study Multiple Times On The Day It Was Released

Fox News Covered Heritage's Immigration Study Four Times On The Day The Study Was Released. Fox News devoted four segments to covering the Heritage study on May 6, the day the study was released. Two of those segments included interviews with Heritage President Jim DeMint to push the flawed study's merits. [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 5/6/13, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 5/6/13, Special Report with Bret Baier, 5/6/13]

Fox News Provided Little Coverage To Pro-Immigration Rallies

Fox News Segments On Pro-Immigration May Day Rally Often Coupled With Negative Coverage Of May Day Violence. Fox News covered the May Day immigration rallies for a total of 14 seconds but only during segments and discussions about violent anarchist protests in Seattle, albeit noting the two events were not related. [Fox News, Happening Now, 5/2/13, The Fox Report, 5/2/13]

Fox News Covered Historic April 10 Pro-Immigration Rally For 39 Seconds. Fox News covered the historic April 10 rally for immigration reform on the National Mall for 39 seconds during one segment on Happening Now. [Fox News, Happening Now, 4/11/13]

Major Newspapers Devoted Massive Print And Online Coverage To Both Pro-Immigration Rallies. The top newspapers in the country devoted several pieces -- including online video and photo galleries -- to covering the historic immigration rallies. The New York Times devoted at least two print stories and one opinion piece to the rallies. USAToday had at least one online photo gallery, a video, and a print story on the April 10 rally. The Washington Post devoted coverage to the April 10 rally both before and after it took place and published an online photo gallery. The Los Angeles Times devoted several news stories to both the April 10 rally and the May Day Rally. The Wall Street Journal covered the April 10 rally in a blog post and an online video. [New York Times, 5/1/13, 4/10/13, 4/10/13, USA Today, 4/10/13, 4/11/13, 4/11/13, The Washington Post, 4/10/13, 4/10/13, 4/6/13, Los Angeles Times, 5/2/13, 5/1/13, 4/10/13, Wall Street Journal, 4/11/13, 4/10/13]

Heritage Study Has Been Criticized And Debunked As Flawed

WonkBlog's Dylan Matthews: "The Heritage Numbers Simply Are Not Credible." According to a post on The Washington Post's WonkBlog by Dylan Matthews, Heritage's estimate leaves out several important factors in determining the cost of immigration reform:

[The Heritage Foundation's Robert] Rector and [Jason] Richwine are certainly correct that making currently ineligible immigrants eligible for means-tested benefits and retirement entitlements has a real budgetary cost. But in the long run, we know that immigration is a net economic boon, and in particular for immigrants, which reduces their fiscal cost and increases our ability to pay for what benefits they do receive. And the best study we have on the fiscal effects of immigration reform, from the CBO, finds the impact to be minimal or positive.

Pay attention to that study. Pay attention to whatever score the CBO puts out of the Gang of 8 bill. But the Heritage numbers simply are not credible. [The Washington Post, 5/6/13]

Cato Institute's Alex Nowrasteh: Heritage Report Leads To "A Massive Underestimation Of The Economic Benefits Of Immigration And Diminishing Estimated Tax Revenue." According to the Cato Institute's Alex Nowrasteh, the Heritage Foundation underestimates the positive impact of immigration reform on the economy and doesn't even score the specific immigration proposal in the Senate:

The new Heritage report is still depressingly static, leading to a massive underestimation of the economic benefits of immigration and diminishing estimated tax revenue.  It explicitly refuses to consider the GDP growth and economic productivity gains from immigration reform--factors that increase native-born American incomes. An overlooked flaw is that the study doesn't even score the specific immigration reform proposal in the Senate.  Its flawed methodology and lack of relevancy to the current immigration reform proposal relegate this study to irrelevancy. [Cato Institute, 5/7/13]

Fox Contributor Stephen Moore: "Almost All Economists Disagree" With Heritage's Claim That Immigrants Harm Economy. On Fox's America's Newsroom, Wall Street Journal editorial board member and Fox News contributor Stephen Moore said the study "leaves the impression" that "immigrants are a cost to the economy. That is one thing almost all economists disagree with, that we are very much benefitted by being a nation of immigrants." [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 5/6/13]

AEI's James Pethokoukis: Heritage Study "Fails To Capture Indirect But Important Economic Impacts Of Immigration." According to a blog post by American Enterprise Institute columnist James Pethokoukis, the Heritage study fails to take into account the economic benefits of immigration:

The study, however, fails to capture indirect but important economic impacts of immigration such as increasing economic activity or positively affecting American employment. Both of those would lead to higher tax revenues and reduced transfer payments. Surely every effort should be given to factoring in such dynamic impacts of immigration reform. The Heritage study says, for instance, that "taxes and benefits must be viewed holistically." So, too, immigration overall. Big policy changes don't exist in a vacuum, isolated from the rest of the economy.

Not making these added calculations raises red flags as to the study's completeness. What about studies of US states that find economic contributions of low-skill immigrants "dwarf their fiscal costs." Another example: Heritage claims "that unlawful immigration appears to depress the wages of low-skill US-born and lawful immigrant workers by 10 percent, or $2,300, per year." Yet other highly regarded research finds wage gains at all education levels for US-born workers.

Is immigration reform that potentially expands the population of less-skilled individuals a smart economic policy or not? It's impossible to draw a reasonable conclusion based only on the Heritage study. [American Enterprise Institute, 5/6/13]


Media Matters searched news transcripts provided by a Media Matters internal research database for the terms "rally," "march," and "Heritage" between April 1 and May 6, 2013. Show reruns in non-primetime slots were excluded as well as mentions during Saturday and Sunday Fox News shows. 

We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.