From the September 7 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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Last year, the Daily Show mocked Fox News' "vaunted news-opinion equator" and noted that the news shows make stories out of attacks launched "by the guy whose show was on right before you." Today, Fox News' Stuart Varney provided a perfect example.
On Fox and Friends, one of Fox News' opinion shows, Varney attacked the $50 billion infrastructure plan announced by President Obama over the weekend as a "stimulus plan for the unions" and claimed "the president essentially is scrambling" because of bad poll numbers:
DOOCY: We were just telling you about this: the president has a big idea to spend 50 billion dollars. Another 50 billion to revamp America's infrastructure. He says it's going to create jobs but Stuart Varney says it is a payoff to the unions.
VARNEY: It's a stimulus plan. They don't want to call it a stimulus plan but it is a stimulus plan for the unions. Ok? The president essentially is scrambling. All the polls say that he's very unpopular where the economy is concerned. I think we have a new Fox News poll out.
VARNEY: 47% say that the economy has gotten worse under President Obama. It was only 36% who said that in January. So you got a big swing against the president on economic policy. So this pressure -- do something. So he gets out there in Milwaukee. He's in full campaign mode. He's taking money from the wicked energy companies, giving it in a stimulus plan to the unions. It is all about the unions.
A few hours later, on America's Newsroom -- a show Fox categorizes as straight and objective news -- Varney reported on "criticism" that the infrastructure plan is "essentially a pay-off to the unions" and said that "some say" Obama is "scrambling because his polls on the economy are looking very, very bad":
VARNEY: Okay, first off, the fifty billion dollar infrastructure program would rebuild or build fresh 150,000 miles of road, 4,000 miles of railroad track, 150 miles of airport runways. Essentially, that would be paid for with taxes on the oil and gas industries. It's a six-year program. No new jobs created immediately. Much of the criticism is that it's essentially a pay-off to the unions.
There is a second plan, to be unveiled tomorrow. The Wall Street Journal is saying that this is a two-hundred billion dollar plan, two hundred billion dollars worth of tax breaks for businesses. It would speed up the write-off. For example, Bill, you spend ten thousand dollars on a computer right now, and immediately that ten thousand dollars comes off your business income, taxable business income. Overall, no new jobs created immediately. Some say that this is the president scrambling because his polls on the economy are looking very, very bad. And, both of those plans would require a vote in Congress which is not likely.
See, the difference between Fox's opinion and news programs is the phrase, "some say." The "criticism" on which Varney reported was his own, from another Fox News segment, three hours prior. On Fox, this cycle is familiar.
From the September 2 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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Conservatives have criticized Judge Susan Bolton for ruling that a provision of Arizona's immigration statute requiring law enforcement personnel to determine the immigration status of all arrestees is likely unconstitutional. They have argued that Bolton should have ignored the plain language of the statute in favor of a contorted reading of the provision requiring Arizona law enforcement to check the immigration status of "any person who is arrested."
This suggests that conservatives are willing to toss aside their professed concern over judicial activism in order to win a case about an issue that matters deeply to them.
In a post on National Review's The Corner blog, conservative activist Heather Mac Donald claimed that Bolton participated in "the Obama administration's carefully cultivated fiction" that the concerns over the Arizona immigration law dealt with the treatment of lawfully present immigrants. According to Mac Donald, what the Obama administration really wanted was to maintain a "de facto amnesty" for undocumented immigrants. Mac Donald claimed that in order to support the Obama administration's supposed cover story about the effects on lawful immigrants, Bolton misinterpreted a provision of the law that "required that 'any person who is arrested shall have the person's immigration status determined before the person is released.' " According to Mac Donald, "any person who is arrested" did not mean "any person" but rather only people for whom reasonable suspicion exists that they are here illegally.
On Fox News, host Arthel Neville allowed Kris Kobach, who helped draft the Arizona law and is running for Kansas Secretary of State, to make similar claims without challenge. Kobach stated:
KOBACH: The judge actually made a rather startling mistake. She misinterpreted the intent of a critical provision of the bill. And the reason that's a mistake is there's a longstanding Supreme Court rule that says when you have a law that's not been implemented yet, the court must give the best possible reading to the bill. In other words, give the bill a reading that would not be in violation of any other law. And instead, what the judge did is give the worst possible reading. I think that's going to make her opinion very difficult to sustain on appeal.
NEVILLE: Let me see if I understood what you said. You said that the judge misinterpreted -- she misread the -- your SB 1070?
KOBACH: Yeah. There was the word arrest is used in Section 2, and what she did is there are multiple interpretations of that word arrest. And she picked the interpretation that would be most problematic, but on a facial challenge, a judge is bound to give the bill the best possible reading to give the state the opportunity to implement it in a constitutional manner. She failed to do this, and I think her opinion is very weak because of that and will probably be flipped on appeal.
In fact, as Bolton made clear in her opinion, the statute unambiguously requires law enforcement officials to verify the immigration status of every person who is arrested and that arguments to the contrary simply do not have any support in the statute's text.
Today on Fox News, an Arizona sheriff's deputy, who will be enforcing Arizona's new immigration law starting tomorrow, revealed that he does not know what the law actually says.
When asked by America's Newsroom host Bill Hemmer about how the law will be enforced, deputy Steve Henry stated that "the crime is trespassing. And we book on state crimes. So if the crime is trespassing in the state of Arizona, then we're going to book you on that state charge. And eventually you'll go through the system and ICE will get involved and it will go through the deportation process after whatever the court decides to do for that person for that state crime."
But the crime isn't "trespassing." As the Arizona Capitol Times reported back in March, the Arizona legislature removed the trespass provisions from the bill:
In its original form, the bill would have allowed trespassing charges to be brought against anyone on any public or private land in Arizona who is in violation of their federal immigration status. The amendment, though, changes the language so that illegal immigrants could be charged with "willful failure to complete or carry an alien registration document," rather than trespassing. It also removes the part about being on any public or private property.
Hemmer did not correct Henry, who is the chief deputy at the Pinal County Sheriff's Office.
Throughout the debate over the Arizona law, Fox News has attached itself to the Pinal County Sheriff's Office, which supports the new law, and privileged its views over other Arizona law enforcement representatives who oppose it. In fact, last week Fox correspondent William La Jeunesse worked with PCSO to produce a role playing bit purporting to show how the law will be enforced without racial profiling. And this week, La Jeunesse tagged along with Pinal deputies on patrol and reported that Pinal Sheriff Paul Babeu "says the Obama Administration needs to help the state of Arizona, not sue it." We noted on July 15 that Fox News had hosted Babeu for 18 separate live interviews since mid-April while ignoring Arizona Sheriffs Tony Estrada and Ralph Ogden, who have raised concerns about the new law.
From the July 20 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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When a news outlet doesn't do their research, it's easy to get duped. And that's just what happened yesterday, when the Center for Immigration Studies got Fox News to repeatedly promote its "mini-documentary," "Hidden Cameras on the Arizona Border 2: Drugs, Guns, and 850 Illegal Aliens."
The video features footage from hidden cameras placed in the Tucson sector of Arizona, along trails frequently used by people who entered the country illegally. According to the video, the cameras captured "about 850 illegal aliens" in "60 days between February and March 2010." CIS says of its production: "At minimum, the inescapable conclusion is that hidden cameras reveal a reality that illegal-alien activity is escalating."
Well if CIS says such a conclusion is, "at minimum," "inescapable," Fox News shouldn't waste their time verifying the claim, right? How I wish it weren't so.
If you've tuned in to the immigration coverage on "Fair and Balanced" Fox News over the past few months, chances are you've seen this face:
His name is Paul Babeu (pronounced bab-you) and he is the Sheriff of Pinal County, Arizona, a critic of the Obama administration, and an ardent supporter of the new Arizona immigration law.
Two Arizona border sheriffs who spoke out against that law said they have not recieved any invitations to appear on Fox News. By contrast, Fox has interviewed Sheriff Babeu live at least 18 times since mid-April:
Stuart Varney falsely claimed that the insurance industry and credit-rating agencies are "not part at all of this new financial regulation bill -- not part of it at all." In fact, the bill would establish new regulatory structures to oversee the insurance industry and credit-rating agencies.
Right-wing media have seized on an opportunity for race-baiting with the manufactured scandal surrounding J. Christian Adams' accusations that President Obama's Department of Justice engaged in racially charged "corruption" in the New Black Panther Party case.
Fox News correspondent Shannon Bream falsely claimed that the Justice Department withdrew all charges against members of the New Black Panther Party for voter intimidation and deceptively quoted Thomas Perez's, assistant attorney general for the civil rights division, testimony before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights to support her falsehood. Bream's report -- the second time in a week that Fox News has dishonestly presented Perez's testimony -- fits Fox News' alarming pattern of omitting facts and falsifying the record while promoting J. Christian Adams' political advocacy.
Once again promoting Adams' accusations, Bream claimed:
BREAM: This all stems from that incident in November of 2008 when some members of the Black Panther Party were accused of intimidating voters and poll workers at a Philadelphia polling place. The Department of Justice got involved, there was an investigation that was launched. They did win a default judgment against several of the members when they didn't show up in April 2009 at a court hearing.
Since that time, other attorneys from within the department have said -- you know the Justice Department ultimately dropped the cases, dismissed the charges against those individuals, and some within the department, including Christian Adams, say there are politics at play.
Bream's report is just false. The Justice Department obtained default judgment in May against Minister King Samir Shabazz, who was carrying a nightstick outside a Philadelphia polling station. The fact that the DOJ successfully pursued default judgment against Shabazz for his role in the incident effectively ends the discussion as to whether the Obama administration is hostile to prosecuting black defendants, as Adams has claimed.
But Bream's deception was not limited to omission. More after the Jump.
Fox News continues to omit evidence while advancing GOP activist J. Christian Adams' accusations that the Justice Department engaged in unprecedented and racially charged corruption by not pursuing additional charges of voter intimidation against members of the New Black Panther Party. In fact, no voters have said they were intimidated, and the Bush-era DOJ chose not to pursue charges in a similar case.
From the July 5 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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Both America's Newsroom and On the Record falsely suggested that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said the health care reform law worsens the long-term budget outlook. In fact, CBO said that since the law reduces deficits, it slightly improves the budget outlook.
During its' June 29 coverage of Elena Kagan's Supreme Court confirmation hearings, Fox News decided to skip over the questions of Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) -- questions that Fox correspondent Carl Cameron deemed "couldn't have been bigger softballs." And rather than show Leahy's questioning, Cameron spread myths about Kagan.
Fox however, cut back to the hearing when the top Republican on the committee questioned Kagan. Fox News aired the vast majority of questions by the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee Jeff Sessions (AL) and the second-ranking Republican Orrin Hatch (UT), but did not show any questioning by the top two Democrats, Leahy and Herb Kohl (D-WI).
While talking over Leahy's questions, Cameron falsely claimed that Kagan "was around when the campus tried to ban" a "wartime military recruitment" while she was dean at Harvard. He also suggested that Republicans can demand that Kagan answer questions about cases that may appear before her as a Supreme Court justice without noting that Republicans have previously said that nominees should not answer such questions.
Lest you think that Fox News really was making its decision on the basis of Leahy's supposed "softball" questions, when roles were reversed and Republican nominee Samuel Alito was facing the Judiciary Committee, Fox News took a different approach. On the first day of questioning, January 10, 2006, Fox News showed all 30 minutes of the questioning by the top Republican, then-Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (PA) (who was a Republican at a time).
After showing all 30 minutes of the questions from Leahy (who was then the top-ranking minority member), Fox then showed all 30 minutes of the questioning from Hatch, who was, as now, the second-ranking Republican on the committee.
And Hatch's questions for Alito were not all exactly hardballs. Here's an example of one hard-hitting Hatch question that Fox aired from the Alito hearing:
HATCH: Well, some have suggested, as my friend from Massachusetts did yesterday, that by your membership in this organization, you were somehow against the rights of women and minorities attending colleges.
So let me just ask you directly, on the record, are you against women and minorities attending colleges?
ALITO: Absolutely not, Senator. No.
So to sum up:
When covering the hearings on Kagan, a Democratic nominee, Fox totally ignored the top two Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats' questions, saying they were softballs. When covering the hearings on Alito, a Republican nominee, Fox aired all of the questions by the top two committee Republicans including real softballs. That's "fair and balanced," Fox-style.