Fox News cherry-picked from President Obama's statements at a town hall event to falsely suggest Obama is illegally enforcing his immigration directives in violation of a court order temporarily blocking the directives from going into effect -- but the Obama administration has already suspended implementation of the executive action to comply with the ruling.
On February 25, Obama spoke "directly to the Latino community" at an MSNBC town hall. Speaking with Telemundo and MSNBC host José Díaz-Balart, the president discussed the implications of the recent halt on his immigration actions put in place by a federal judge in Texas, a ruling that is currently being appealed by the Department of Justice.
During the February 26 edition of Fox & Friends, Fox News anchor Heather Nauert played an out-of-context clip of the president's remarks at the town hall, suggesting he was illegally enforcing the immigration actions at issue in the Texas case. Nauert claimed that Obama was "warning" Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents who did not follow his executive action and aired a clip of Obama saying:
OBAMA: The bottom line is, is that, if somebody's working for ICE and there's a policy and they don't follow the policy, there're going to be consequences to it.
After airing the clip of Obama's remarks, Nauert alleged that "there's just one problem" with Obama saying ICE agents would have to follow his directives -- "a federal judge has issued a ruling halting the executive immigration order in its tracks":
Later in the program, host Steve Doocy again played the cropped clip of Obama's remarks and claimed that the president was "essentially threatening ICE agents." Doocy added that Obama's policy was to "let everybody stay, but the laws say, if you're in the country illegally, you should be deported":
But the full context of Obama's statements show the president was speaking broadly about ICE agents following policies that are in place, making clear that a federal judge has currently blocked his most recent executive order. In the portion of the town hall directly prior to the remarks Fox aired, Obama told Díaz-Balart that while the administration appeals the Texas ruling, agents are expected to prioritize deportations properly and consistently with existing directives provided by the Department of Homeland Security and the administration (emphasis added):
DIAZ-BALART (Reading question from social media): How do you guarantee that an immigrant who is in the middle of legalizing his status, that he or she is not going to be deported by ICE? Mr. President, my husband was deported during the process, and this, she says, happened just last week.
OBAMA: You know, I would have to know the details of exactly what happened. But what I can tell you is that, until we pass a law through Congress, the executive actions that we've taken are not going to be permanent. They're temporary. We are now implementing a new prioritization. There are going to be some jurisdictions, and there may be individual ICE officials, or border patrol, who aren't paying attention to our new directives. But they're going to be answerable to the head of the Department of Homeland Security, because he's been very clear about what our priorities should be. And I've been very clear about what our priorities should be.
And the -- I don't know what the particular circumstances here are. But what I can tell you is, people who have signed up, for example, under my executive action in DACA, there are seven, 800,000 people who have signed up. They haven't had problems. It's worked. So we know how to make this work. Right now we've got a judge who's blocking it from working. And in the interim, until we can actually process all these applications, then what we're going to do is do what we can in terms of making sure that we're prioritizing it properly.
But the challenge is still going to be that not only do we have to win this legal fight, which we are appealing very aggressively, but ultimately we're still going to have to pass a law through Congress. The bottom line is, Jose, that I'm using all of the legal power vested in me in order to solve this problem. And, you know, one of the things about living in a democracy is that we have separation of powers, we have Congress, we have the judicial branch. And, you know, right now, we've got some disagreements with some members of Congress, and some members of the judiciary in terms of what should be done. But what I'm confident about is ultimately this is going to get done. And the reason it's going to get done is it's the right thing to do. And it is who we are as a people.
DIAZ-BALART: But what are the consequences? Because, how do you -- how do you ensure that ICE agents or border patrol won't be deporting people like this? I mean, what are the consequences?
OBAMA: Look, the bottom line is that if somebody's working for ICE and there's a policy, and they don't follow the policy, there are going to be consequences to it. So I can't speak to a specific problem. What I can talk about is what's true in the government generally. In the U.S. military when you get an order, you're expected to follow it. It doesn't mean that everybody follows the order. If they don't, they've got a problem. And the same is going to be true with respect to the policies that we're putting forward.
The Obama administration has already delayed the implementation of their executive action on immigration in response to the court's ruling on the matter. As The New York Times explained, "administration officials ... postponed President Obama's sweeping executive actions on immigration indefinitely, saying they had no choice but to comply" with the judge's order to halt the policy.
Conservative media are reacting to a terrorist threat against Mall of America by calling for people to be allowed to carry concealed guns in more places even though no evidence exists that civilians with concealed carry permits stop mass attacks.
During a February 22 appearance on CNN, Department of Homeland Security secretary Jeh Johnson told visitors to Minnesota's Mall of America to be "particularly careful," citing a video released by Somalia-based terror group Al-Shabaab that called for an attack on the shopping center. Local law enforcement say there is "no credible threat" to the mall, but that Mall of America has "implemented extra security precautions."
Shoppers visiting Mall of America are not allowed to carry firearms, although one local lawmaker is attempting to change that policy in light of Al-Shabaab's threat. As a reaction to the September 11 terror attacks, Mall of America created its own 150-member counterterrorism security force that is "modeled after similar units in Israel." Local police also have a unit dedicated to the mall.
Conservatives have used the threat to question the mall's no guns policy for shoppers and to push the myth that places where guns are not allowed are particularly dangerous.
On February 24, Outnumbered co-hosts Andrea Tantaros, Stacey Dash, and Kennedy along with guest and Fox News contributor Bo Dietl all endorsed carrying concealed guns in Mall of America. Kennedy suggested that Mall of America is a "gun-free zone" and argued that such an area "really is an invitation" for terrorists. Tantaros falsely suggested that the gunman in the 2007 Virginia Tech mass shooting was "taken down" with a firearm to advance the carrying of guns. In fact, the shooter in that incident committed suicide.
Conservative media figures reacted with outrage to the February 22 Academy Awards ceremony, including one actress's call for gender pay equality.
From the February 23 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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From the February 23 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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Right-wing media are scandalizing President Obama's refusal to conflate terrorism with all of Islam, attacking the president for not focusing on "Islamic extremism" in the three-day White House summit to combat violent extremism. But the conservative outrage ignores the fact that conflating terrorism with an entire religion would harm U.S. national security and foreign policy interests by alienating allied Muslim nations and play into the hands of terrorists who claim the U.S. is at war with Islam.
Rudy Giuliani used a Fox & Friends appearance to explain his belief that President Obama does not love America, claiming that he rarely hears the president express love for America or discuss American exceptionalism -- an awkward claim given that just yesterday President Obama extolled America in a public speech.
"I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America," Giuliani said earlier this week during an event featuring Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. "He doesn't love you. And he doesn't love me. He wasn't brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country." Asked to explain that position during an appearance on Fox & Friends, Giuliani said:
GIULIANI: In his rhetoric, I very rarely hear him say the things that I used to hear Ronald Reagan say, the things I used to hear Bill Clinton say about how much he loves America. I do hear him criticize America much more often than other American presidents.
Giuliani's comments fit into a long term pattern of Fox News hosts and guests campaigning to smear Obama by portraying him as insufficiently proud of America. But his claim is particularly tone deaf today, coming just one day after Obama celebrated what he called America's unique strength and perseverance:
OBAMA: For more than 238 years, the United States of America has not just endured, but we have thrived and surmounted challenges that might have broken a lesser nation. After a terrible civil war, we repaired our union. We weathered a Great Depression, became the world's most dynamic economy. We fought fascism, liberated Europe. We faced down communism -- and won. American communities have been destroyed by earthquakes and tornadoes and fires and floods -- and each time we rebuild.
My point is this: As Americans, we are strong and we are resilient. And when tragedy strikes, when we take a hit, we pull together, and we draw on what's best in our character -- our optimism, our commitment to each other, our commitment to our values, our respect for one another. We stand up, and we rebuild, and we recover, and we emerge stronger than before. That's who we are. [Whitehouse.gov, 2/18/15]
Media Matters researcher Nicholas Rogers contributed research to this post.
Right-wing media are indignant that President Obama appeared in a BuzzFeed video taking a selfie and saying "YOLO" as part of a promotion for HealthCare.gov.
Fox & Friends ripped off the Republican National Committee's latest hit job on Hillary Clinton, building an entire segment around the GOP's specious "Where's Hillary?" campaign without disclosing the source.
"Where in the world is Hillary Clinton?" Fox & Friends co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck asked Thursday. "It's been 204 days since her last press conference and 186 days since her last interview," and according to Hasselbeck, "Hillary seems to be in hiding."
Hasselbeck's report is ripped straight from a Republican National Committee (RNC) memo announcing its "Hillary's Hiding" campaign. That campaign, launched two days before the Fox & Friends segment, purports to "keep asking, 'Where's Hillary?'" and focuses on the number of days since Clinton's last press conference and interview. At no point did Hasselbeck credit the RNC for the concept that framed her segment.
From the February 12 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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Right-wing media are using the suspension of NBC's Brian Williams to attack Hillary Clinton, fixating on a story she apologized for telling years ago about landing amid sniper fire in Bosnia when she was first lady.
The media has rightfully focused over the past week on Williams' apparent pattern of falsely claiming that he rode on a military helicopter that was forced to land after being hit by a rocket-propelled grenade during a reporting trip to Iraq in 2003. Williams apologized during the February 4 broadcast of Nightly News and has since been suspended for six months without pay.
But the right-wing media have sought to use Williams' tall tales for political advantage, pointing to Clinton's Bosnia story to ask, "If Brian Williams can no longer be the face of NBC then can Hillary no longer be the face of the Democratic Party?" In a segment representative of such discussions on Fox News,Fox & Friends' Steve Doocy asked this morning, "Brian Williams has been held to this standard because he told these lies about Iraq. But what about Hillary Clinton?" Invoking Clinton's Bosnia story which "turned out not to be true," the hosts aired a clip of a Fox News contributor declaring Clinton's story to be worse than Williams', while on-screen text asked "Why Isn't Hillary Held Accountable For Lies?" and "Did Mainstream Media Give Clinton A Pass?"
But Clinton acknowledged nearly seven years ago that she had misspoken in describing the events that occurred in Bosnia. And contrary to conservative claims, Clinton was heavily criticized by media outlets at the time, including by NBC News. As Bloomberg News reported in March 2008:
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her staff said she misspoke when saying she landed under sniper fire during a March 1996 trip to Bosnia as first lady.
"I did make a mistake in talking about it the last time, and recently," Clinton told reporters in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. "I made a mistake. I have a different memory. That happens. I'm human. For some people that's a revelation."
During a speech last week in Washington, she said, "I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base."
Moreover, in seeking to use Williams' story for partisan benefit, conservatives are ignoring numerous Republican politicians who have embellished their stories of military service to burnish their political careers, dating back to Sen. Joe McCarthy's self-aggrandized war record. As Joe Conason noted in a 2010 piece on how "mythmaking is indeed characteristic of the politicians most revered by the GOP," both Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush greatly exaggerated their service:
Take George W. Bush, whose controversial service as a Texas Air National Guard pilot was shrouded in mystery, evidently because he wanted to conceal the basic facts of his privileged admission to the TANG and his strange departure from its ranks. In his 2000 campaign autobiography, ghosted by Karen Hughes, Bush claimed that after completing his training in the F-102 fighter plane, "I continued flying with my unit for the next several years." That simple sentence was entirely untrue, according to records eventually released by the Bush campaign, which showed that he had never flown in uniform again after his suspension from active duty in August 1972 for failing to show up for a mandatory physical examination.
In the same book Bush also suggests that he tried to volunteer for service in Vietnam "to relieve active duty pilots" fighting the war. But, of course, the entire purpose of his privileged (and questionable) enlistment in the TANG was to avoid the Vietnam draft, as he hinted in a 1998 newspaper interview when he said: "I don't want to play like I was somebody out there marching [to war] when I wasn't. It was either Canada or the service and I was headed into the service." Two years later, under the tutelage of Hughes, that momentary candor evaporated.
Yet Bush's self-serving revisions cannot compare with the fantastic recollections of the late Ronald Reagan, whose veneration by Republicans was never diminished by his bizarre utterances. In November 1983, he told Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir during a White House visit that while serving in the U. S. Army film corps, his unit had shot footage of the Nazi concentration camps as they were liberated. He repeated the same tale to Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal and other witnesses. Reagan had indeed served in the Army and worked on morale-boosting movies for the War Department. But he had done so without ever leaving Hollywood for the entire duration of the war.
Conservative media lashed out at President Obama for mentioning the Crusades and Inquisition at the National Prayer Breakfast after condemning the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) as a "death cult" that distorts Islam.
After the release of the Labor Department's monthly jobs report showing robust job growth and a significant increase in hourly wages, Fox News framed the numbers negatively and suggested the headline was the fact that the unemployment rate ticked up.
The U.S. added 257,000 jobs last month and has seen a significant increase in hourly wages, according to a February 6 report from the Labor Department. The last three months combined have resulted in the biggest gain in jobs in the past 17 years.
Immediately after the numbers were released, Fox News' Fox & Friends hosts portrayed the news in a negative light. Host Elisabeth Hasselbeck introduced the segment saying, "Nicole Petallides from our sister network Fox Business has the numbers for you, beginning with an increase in the unemployment rate." After listening to Petallides run through the positive numbers -- including her explanation that the increase in the unemployment rate is "great news" because it means more people are entering the workforce -- host Steve Doocy closed the segment saying, "So the headline is unemployment rate ticks up to 5.7" percent.
Conservative media revived their Solyndra scandal-mongering to attack the proposed clean energy funding in President Obama's budget. But contrary to their claims, Solyndra did not receive the clean energy tax credits included in the President's budget, and the budget doesn't increase funding for the largely successful loan guarantee program that did support Solyndra.
From the February 4 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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