In recent weeks, Fox hosts and guests have attacked the DREAM Act -- which would provide a path to legal status for certain immigrants who came to the United States as children -- with a barrage of inflammatory rhetoric.
On December 1, Fox News contributor Monica Crowley attacked Secretary State Hillary Clinton over an alleged diplomatic cable recently released by Wikileaks regarding human intelligence collection on the United Nations. Crowley was up in arms about the document and said it "seems to be crossing a line." But when given five minutes to explain, she could not come up with a rationale that held water and indeed repeatedly contradicted herself on what Clinton had allegedly done wrong.
The document in question provides guidance to State Department personnel on "the new National HUMINT [human intelligence] Collection Directive (NHCD) on the United Nations ... as well as a request for continued DOS reporting of biographic information relating to the United Nations."
Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, has said that Clinton "should resign if it can be shown that she was responsible for ordering U.S. diplomatic figures to engage in espionage in the United Nations, in violation of the international covenants to which the U.S. has signed up."
Appearing on Fox News' America Live to discuss Assange's statement, Crowley stated: "To enlist the diplomatic corps essentially as spooks when we have a real corps of spooks to do this job seems to be crossing a line." Seconds later however, Crowley largely undercut her own argument by stating: "Look, I have no doubt that other nations at the United Nations are doing this to us."
Before dissecting the rest of Crowley's disastrous attempt to attack Clinton, let's mention some crucial facts that Crowley neglected to mention during her appearance:
First, it is not a new policy for the State Department to gather human intelligence. The New York Times, which was given advanced access to the Wikileaks documents states that Bush administration Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had also ordered "more aggressive intelligence collection" in diplomatic cables.
Second, it is also not new for the United States to spy at the United Nations. The Times also reported: "While several treaties prohibit spying at the United Nations, it is an open secret that countries try nevertheless. In one 2004 episode, a British official revealed that the United States and Britain eavesdropped on Secretary General Kofi Annan in the weeks before the invasion of Iraq in 2003."
Third, it shouldn't surprise anyone in the international community that people introduced to them as diplomats are involved in espionage. CIA agents are often given an "official cover" as diplomats. Indeed, as Slate.com has reported: "Most CIA employees engaged in operations overseas are given official cover: a sham job in the U.S. embassy (or working for another government agency) that affords them diplomatic immunity." And this is far from secret. Indeed, there is a Wikipedia entry on official cover. The CIA article on HowStuffWorks.com also discusses official cover.
Fourth, as National Journal's Marc Ambinder reports, the document appears to be part of a government-wide effort to beef up human intelligence spearheaded by the CIA, not a State Department initiative.
Fox News' Megyn Kelly claimed that tax cuts "on the so-called rich" increase federal revenues. In fact, tax experts and economists note that tax rates are not high enough for a tax cut to increase revenues, and President Bush's own economic advisors have said the Bush tax cuts did not raise revenue.
On the November 30 edition of Fox & Friends, Fox Business' Charles Payne pushed the claim that federal worker compensation is about twice that of private sector workers. In fact, that claim is based on a discredited apples-to-oranges comparison.
Continuing its assault on the Dream Act, Fox News has repeatedly attacked and pushed falsehoods about the bill, which would provide a path to legal status for certain immigrants who came to the United States as children.
Greg Jarrett continued Fox News' distortion of the DREAM Act today on America Live -- one of Fox's "straight news" shows -- offering his own mischaracterizations and uncritically repeating GOP talking points.
After host Megyn Kelly introduced Jarrett, he began his segment by saying:
You know, for millions of illegals, the DREAM Act is a propitious title because it would fulfill their dream of jumping right to the front of the line and becoming U.S. citizens. Those who oppose it call it a veritable nightmare, granting amnesty right away to more than 2 million illegal immigrants, and in the end, maybe as many as 6 million or more illegals.
Jarrett is wrong that the DREAM Act would allow some immigrants to "jump right to the front of the line." In a document addressing myths about the DREAM Act, the Immigration Policy Center stated:
DREAM Act students do not compete for visas with other applicants for legal permanent residence. Instead, DREAM Act creates a separate program for students that requires them to earn legal permanent residence by attending college or serving in the military for two years while in a temporary legal status. DREAM will not affect the number of visas available or the time it takes to get a visa for those entering through traditional legal immigration."
Jarrett also falsely suggested that the bill would grant immigrants immediate citizenship. In fact, the versions of the DREAM Act pending in the House and Senate both state that eligible unauthorized immigrants could have their status adjusted to "conditional permanent resident status," which "shall be valid for a period of 6 years" and subject to termination should the immigrant cease to be eligible. Following the 6-year period, Dream Act immigrants would have to meet further requirements to gain permanent resident status and could only apply for citizenship (provided they meet further requirements) after they obtained such status.
Today, Megyn Kelly claimed that the national debt is "the number one problem now facing all of Americans." In the subsequent segment, Fox Business host Lou Dobbs agreed, calling deficit reduction "the number one issue in the minds and hearts of the American people":
Meanwhile, here in reality, the top priority by a landslide is rebuilding the economy and providing jobs, not deficit reduction.
From a CBS News poll conducted November 7-10:
Dobbs, of course, wants to achieve the deficit reduction he thinks the American people want by slashing Social Security and Medicare. Guess what? That's not popular either:
A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows Americans skeptical of deficit-cutting proposals laid out by the chairmen of a commission appointed by the White House. In the survey, 57% of respondents said they were uncomfortable with gradually raising the Social Security retirement age to 69 over the next 60 years. Some 41% said they were somewhat or very comfortable with the idea.
Roughly 70% were uncomfortable with making cuts to programs such as Medicare, Social Security and defense in order to reduce the deficit, with 27% saying they were comfortable.
From the November 22 edition of Fox News Channel's America Live:
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That wacky California is at it again! Or so Fox News would have us believe. In several segments on November 16, Fox News anchors distorted a recent California Supreme Court ruling that upholds a law allowing nonresidents who attended high school in California to pay in-state tuition. That group includes illegal aliens, and Fox was quick to paint the ruling as a step towards "immigration reform amnesty."
Fox & Friends kicked off this story on November 16, when Gretchen Carlson teased the story by saying, "A court says illegal immigrants should be allowed to pay in-state tuition. Should they really get a discount on an American education?" Text at the bottom of the screen read, "Illegal discount." Later in the episode, guest host Eric Bolling brought on Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson, Jr. to discuss the California ruling. At one point, Bolling asked, "Is this the path to some sort of immigration reform amnesty?"
Later that day, guest host Shannon Bream on Fox's America Live promoted the story by saying, "Some of your tax money could soon go to educating illegals instead of Americans, U.S. citizens. And it's all been approved by a very powerful court."
In fact, the law gives the same tuition benefits to U.S. citizens who meet its requirements, and in the nearly 10 years since it has passed, has largely benefited them, not illegal immigrants.
The 2001 law, AB 540, extends in-state tuition eligibility to any student who attended high school in California for three years and received a diploma there. Ten states now have similar laws. This week's ruling rejects plaintiffs' claims that the California provision violates federal law by providing educational benefits to undocumented aliens that citizens can't receive.
Not only does the law also apply to U.S. citizens and legal residents, those two groups are its largest beneficiaries. Students who attended boarding school in California, for example, or who have become residents of other states since graduating from Californian high schools, are the bulk of those able to take advantage of in-state rates. According to an October 2010 article in the San Francisco Chronicle, a judge in the California Supreme Court ruling "cited UC reports that more than 70 percent of the students paying lower fees because of the law are U.S. citizens or legal residents, not illegal immigrants." In fact, the official UC statement on the November 15 ruling explains:
The law applies to students who attend high school in California for at least three years and graduate. It has benefited both undocumented students and U.S. citizens. In 2008-09, for example, nearly 80 percent of the 2,019 students who qualified under the law for tuition exemptions at UC were U.S. citizens or legal residents. Documented students have accounted for over two-thirds of those benefiting from the exemption in every year since the program's introduction at UC in 2002-03.
Fox's Shannon Bream, while discussing the recent cancellation of President Obama's scheduled meeting with congressional Republicans, pushed the ridiculously untrue claim about the meeting between Obama and the House GOP in January.
Bream claims there was a "brouhaha" associated with the meeting, reporting that "a lot" of House Republicans said that they "didn't know he was coming."
But as Talking Points Memo has explained, this is clearly untrue. House Republicans knew in advance that Obama planned to attend the meeting, with Rep. Mike Pence (chairman of the House Republican Conference) issuing a press release thanking the President for "accept[ing] our invitation" to attend.
At the same time both Politico and The Hill, among others, reported on the planned visit. It wasn't a surprise to anyone. As far as people knowing about Obama's attendance in advance, there was no "brouhaha."
Bream's overarching premise - that the "brouhaha" over the previous meeting caused the current meeting's cancellation - also falls apart as the Senate GOP leadership's spokesman explained that "The meeting was scheduled for November 30th, because it didn't work this week and because that's the date that worked for everybody -- period." According to washingtonpost.com's Greg Sargent, "I have not been able to find a single GOP aide who actually subscribes to the 'ambush' myth, either on or off the record."
There was no ambush, there was no brouhaha, and the cancellation wasn't caused by worry over the nonexistent previous brouhaha. Everything Bream said about this was untrue.
Fox News advanced the misleading claim that the Dream Act would encourage further illegal immigration and grant in-state tuition for unauthorized immigrants. In fact, those not already living in the United States would not be eligible for legal status under the Dream Act, and the bill would affirm state authority to determine in-state tuition rules.
On November 9, Fox News hosted former Republican congressman J.D. Hayworth to discuss drug-related violence near the border with Mexico. Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade introduced Hayworth by stating: "Our next guest says this is America's third war and we're losing":
KILMEADE: One person's head found in a giftwrapped box. Seven gunned down at a birthday party and dozens more killed in gang-fueled shootouts in the city of Juarez. And that's just this weekend. Our next guest says this is America's third war and we're losing.
DOOCY: Former U.S. congressman and former candidate for US Senate, J.D. Hayworth joins us live from Phoenix. Good morning to you, J.D.
HAYWORTH: Morning Steve. Morning Brian. It's not so much that we're losing a war. We're failing to fight it.
A week after Hayworth's appearance, Fox News debuted a "new series" about the Southern border called "America's Third War." On November 15, Fox's "straight news" programs America's Newsroom, Happening Now, and America Live all featured reports from, in the words of anchor Martha MacCallum, "our new series called 'America's Third War.'" FoxNews.com also published an article titled, "America's Third War: National Guard's New Mission."
And they made graphics:
From the November 12 edition of Fox News' America Live:
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Fox News claimed that the Dream Act would give citizenship to certain unauthorized immigrants and that the legislation creates "an illegal alien student preference program." In fact, the proposal would provide conditional permanent residency status, not citizenship, to those eligible, and it does not give Dream Act students a "preference" over citizens and other legal permanent residents.
Fox News' Trace Gallagher uncritically reported the false claim that "the courts are increasingly consulting and using Sharia law," which he attributed to the sponsor of a ballot measure banning the use of international and Sharia law in Oklahoma. In fact, the sponsor himself has failed to identify a single case in which Sharia law was successfully used in any U.S. court decision.