Wall Street Journal

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  • Fox Scandalizes Report Claiming US Leveraged Payment To Iran To Ensure Prisoner Release

    Blog ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY

    Fox News host Stuart Varney mischaracterized new details about the United States’ $400 million payment to the Iranian government, claiming that the State Department admitted that the money was a “ransom payment” for American prisoners. In reality the payment, stemming from a “decades-old” agreement, was “conducted separately from the prisoner talks” and was withheld as “leverage until the US citizens had left Iran.”

    The Wall Street Journal reported on August 3 that the Obama administration “organized an airlift of $400 million worth of cash to Iran that coincided with the January release of four Americans detained in Tehran.”

    Right-wing media distorted news of the cash transfer -- which related to a settlement reached in 1979 “over a failed arms deal” that was resolved in The Hague -- to falsely claim the transfer had been done in secret and that the payment was ransom.

    The Journal then reported on August 18 that the cash exchange was “specifically timed to the release of several American prisoners held in Iran.”

    State Department spokesman John Kirby reportedly said that although “the US withheld delivery of the cash as leverage until the US citizens had left Iran,” the negotiations over transferring the money were “conducted separately from the prisoner talks.”

    Fox host Stuart Varney seized upon Kirby’s statement to falsely claim that the State Department “basically admitted that the Journal story is correct,” and that “this is a ransom payment.” Varney also said, “[it’s] very difficult to say that’s not ransom.”

    But the payment indeed was not ransom, as Kirby explained in an August 18 State Department press briefing. Kirby noted that the money was given to Iran after the prisoners had been released in an effort to “retain maximum leverage,” not before, as a ransom payment typically happens.

    Kirby also noted that the payment was timed with the prisoner release because “We were able to conclude multiple strands of diplomacy within a 24 hour period, including implementation of the nuclear deal, the prisoner talks, and the settlement” in question. Kirby made clear that “we deliberately leveraged that moment to finalize these outstanding issues nearly simultaneously” because of “concerns that Iran may renege on the prisoner release” and “mutual mistrust” between the two countries.

  • Media: Meet Donald Trump’s New Campaign Manager Kellyanne Conway

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ & LIS POWER

    Donald Trump’s new campaign manager Kellyanne Conway has long been a fixture in right-wing media and has a history of inflammatory statements, including claiming that “revulsion towards men” is “part and parcel of the feminist movement,” asserting that people “don’t want their kids looking at a cartoon with a bunch of lesbians,” and using false statistics on live television to claim sex-selection abortion is pervasive in the United States.

  • Running With Judicial Watch’s Storyline, Media Manufacture Another False Clinton Email Scandal

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Media are rushing to promote a new email dump from the conservative group Judicial Watch that they suggest, in the words of The New York Times, shows that the Clinton Foundation “worked to reward its donors with access and influence at the State Department” under Hillary Clinton. But a closer look at the Judicial Watch emails suggests there is far less to the story than it appears and brings into question the conclusions the Times and other outlets have inferred from the newly released emails. Indeed, the very details that undermine those conclusions are frequently included in the reports themselves.

    Judicial Watch’s press release framed the emails as showing “Clinton Foundation Donor Demands on State Department,” and focused on two email exchanges in particular:

    The new documents reveal that in April 2009 controversial Clinton Foundation official Doug Band pushed for a job for an associate. In the email Band tells Hillary Clinton’s former aides at the State Department Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin that it is “important to take care of [Redacted]. Band is reassured by Abedin that “Personnel has been sending him options.” Band was co-founder of Teneo Strategy with Bill Clinton and a top official of the Clinton Foundation, including its Clinton Global Initiative.

    Included in the new document production is a 2009 email in which Band, directs Abedin and Mills to put Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire and Clinton Foundation donor Gilbert Chagoury in touch with the State Department’s “substance person” on Lebanon. Band notes that Chagoury is “key guy there [Lebanon] and to us,” and insists that Abedin call Amb. Jeffrey Feltman to connect him to Chagoury.

    Media outlets across the spectrum immediately ran with the story, speculating the emails may, as the Times put it, raise “questions about whether [the Clinton Foundation] worked to reward its donors with access and influence at the State Department.” The Wall Street Journal ran the headline “Newly Released Emails Highlight Clinton Foundation’s Ties to State Department.” A CNN.com article stated, “Newly released Clinton emails shed light on relationship between State Dept. and Clinton Foundation.”

    On New Day, CNN’s Brianna Keilar called the Times’ allegations “unseemly at best,” suggesting the emails may have been inappropriate. Co-host Chris Cuomo said the Times’ report “show[s] pretty clear overlapping between what was going on at the Clinton Global Initiative and what was going on with Secretary Clinton.”

    Joe Scarborough, co-host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, called the emails “fairly significant” and said they show at least “one example of the Clinton Foundation getting probably millions of dollars … and then having the foundation pick up the phone and say ‘help our donor over here.’”

    Co-host of Fox News’ Fox & Friends Steve Doocy said, “when you look at these particular email that you have released, it's pretty clear, if you want access to the State Department officials, big top government people, or even jobs, just give the Clinton family foundation a lot of money.”

    These accounts adopt Judicial Watch’s frame that Band, acting as an agent of the Clinton Foundation on behalf of Clinton Foundation donors, was wielding influence in the State Department. But Band was also a personal aide to President Clinton during this time period, and, as the Times noted, the Clinton campaign says he was acting in that capacity in these emails, which they say do not “involve the secretary or relate to the foundation’s work.” A fact sheet distributed to surrogates by the Clinton campaign and obtained by Media Matters states that Band sent the emails “on behalf of President Clinton from his presidentclinton.org email, not on behalf of the Foundation.”

    Moreover, neither the emails nor the news reports provide any evidence that Clinton Foundation donors impacted decisions Clinton made at the State Department. According to the Times, Band attempted to “connect” Chagoury with someone at the State Department to discuss “his interests in Lebanon.” But the actual email exchange provides no support for this claim -- Band gives no explanation for why Chagoury wants to speak to a “substance person re Lebanon.” The Clinton surrogates fact sheet states that Chagoury, who is of Lebanese descent, “was simply seeking to share his insights on the upcoming Lebanese election with the right person at the Department of State for whom this information might be helpful. In seeking to provide information, he was not seeking action by the Department.”

    Nor does the Times explain what Chagoury’s “interests in Lebanon” are -- while the language suggests he has business interests in the country, the paper provides no evidence that is the case. Chagoury has engaged in philanthropic ventures in Lebanon. In 2008, Chagoury made a $10 million donation “to fund the medical school” at the Lebanese American University and has been involved with a charity called In Defense Of Christians, which, according to its mission statement, seeks “to ensure the protection and preservation of Christianity and Christian culture in the Middle East.”

    Likewise, the Times report and other similar accounts also allege that “the foundation” attempted to influence Clinton aides to “help find a job for a foundation associate,” based on a Band email highlighted by Judicial Watch. But the email exchange these reports are pointing to clearly shows the “foundation associate” the Times refers to was never employed by the Clinton Foundation, according to the Clinton campaign, and the email exchanges themselves indicate that the State Department aides were already intending to offer the candidate a position. In comments to ABC News, State Department spokesman Elizabeth Trudeau also noted that the State Department “hires political appointees through a ‘variety of avenues’ and suggested there was nothing unusual about this exchange,” adding “State Department officials are regularly in touch with a range of outside individuals and organizations including non-profits, NGOs, think tanks, and others.”

    Judicial Watch is a right-wing organization with a history of duping the press on Clinton email stories. The media should not be so quick to adopt their framing as the truth.

  • Conservative Media Attack Clinton Child Care Plan As Wasteful Spending, Ignoring Economic Boost For Working Families

    ››› ››› PAM VOGEL

    Conservative media have mischaracterized Hillary Clinton’s policy plan to expand funding and support for child care and early education programs, suggesting the presidential nominee is offering voters “goodies,” fearmongering about government overreach in preschool programs, and ignoring the economic boost that quality early learning programs can offer. Here are the facts about the short- and long-term economic benefits of supporting greater access to quality early education programs, particularly for single mothers and low-income families. 

  • Another Day, Another Dodgy Defense Of Exxon In The Wall Street Journal

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW SEIFTER

    If it’s a day that ends in “y,” then The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board is probably carrying ExxonMobil’s oily water.

    In yet another misleading defense of Exxon’s documented deception about climate change, a July 7 Journal editorial asserted that it’s “hard to prove” that Exxon “defrauded shareholders by hiding the truth about global warming … when the company’s climate-change research was published in peer-reviewed journals.”

    Exxon’s research confirmed that fossil fuels were causing global warming, but the Journal’s focus on the fact that Exxon published its research in scientific journals is a distraction. The issue at hand in the investigations of Exxon launched by the attorneys general of New York and Massachusetts is whether Exxon officials violated the law by intentionally misleading investors and the public about climate change in order to achieve financial gain, regardless of whether its scientists published their findings elsewhere.

    Indeed, The New York Times reported that New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s investigation seeks to “determine whether the company lied to the public about the risks of climate change or to investors about how such risks might hurt the oil business,” and “whether statements the company made to investors about climate risks as recently as [2015] were consistent with the company’s own long-running scientific research.” Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey has similarly indicated that her investigation “seeks information regarding whether Exxon may have misled consumers and/or investors with respect to the impact of fossil fuels on climate change, and climate change-driven risks to Exxon's business.”

    In other words, publishing research showing that fossil fuels are causing global warming but withholding that information from your shareholders  -- or even telling them that the science of human-induced climate change is uncertain -- could fairly be described as “hiding the truth.” And simply having published its scientific findings in journals wouldn’t get Exxon off the hook.

    If the Journal’s defense of Exxon sounds familiar, it’s probably because you heard it straight from Exxon itself. When the New York investigation was announced last November, one of the claims put forth by Exxon’s then-vice president for public affairs, Kenneth Cohen, was that Exxon had “published dozens of scientific papers” on climate change.

    That may be true, but time will tell if Exxon also committed fraud.

  • Conservatives Lose Their Excuse To Question The Results Of The Clinton Email Investigation

    ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY, CYDNEY HARGIS & NICK FERNANDEZ

    Conservatives have just lost their excuse to question the results of the investigation relating to Hillary Clinton’s email server, which legal experts say lacks a “legitimate basis” to charge Clinton with crimes. Right-wing media figures have ignored those experts to suggest that if the investigation does not result in a Clinton indictment, it must be politically tainted. But Attorney General Loretta Lynch affirmed that she will “be accepting the recommendations” made by “career agents and investigators” and FBI Director James Comey in the case, and conservative media have spent months lauding Comey’s “impeccable integrity” and ability to impartially conduct the investigation.

  • WSJ's Kimberley Strassel Pushes Illogical Conspiracy Theory About Exxon Climate Investigations

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW SEIFTER

    The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board has tried every trick in the book to wrongly defend ExxonMobil against allegations that the company intentionally misled shareholders and the public about the science of climate change. Now one member of the editorial board is pushing yet another defense of Exxon so riddled with errors that it completely falls apart upon a basic review of the facts.

    In a June 16 column, the Journals Kimberley Strassel alleged that Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey’s recent subpoena of ExxonMobil shows that the attorneys general investigating Exxon aren’t really concerned with whether the company’s climate science denial constitutes fraud. Rather, Strassel declared, “The real target is a broad array of conservative activist groups that are highly effective at mobilizing the grass-roots and countering liberal talking points.”

    As supposed proof, Strassel pointed to Healey’s request for Exxon’s communications with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Strassel asserted that Healey targeted ALEC because it is “one of the most powerful forces in the country for free-market legislation,” an argument she based on the false premise that “ALEC doesn’t now, and hasn’t ever, taken a position on the climate.”

    The truth is that ALEC has crafted model legislation that misrepresents the science of climate change and hosted prominent climate science deniers at its conferences, and ALEC officials – including CEO Lisa Nelson – have refused to acknowledge or outright denied the scientific consensus that burning fossil fuels and other human activities are causing climate change. ALEC, a corporate front group that connects fossil fuel industry executives with legislators to serve industry interests, has also pushed model bills that would mandate teaching climate science denial in public schools. So it’s not hard to understand why Healey would want to know whether Exxon and ALEC have teamed up to undermine climate science.

    Strassel similarly claimed that Healey targeted the oil billionaire Koch brothers’ front group Americans for Prosperity (AFP) because “its 2.3 million activists nationwide are highly effective in elections.” This must be true, Strassel argued, because “AFP confirms it has never received a dime from Exxon.”

    However, as Climate Hawks explained in response to a Daily Caller article that made the same claim, “Americans for Prosperity's predecessor Citizens for A Sound Economy got hundreds of thousands from ExxonMobil,” meaning that “the group in question simply went by another name when it was funded by ExxonMobil.”

    Moreover, it remains an open question whether Exxon is continuing to funnel money to AFP via DonorsTrust and the Donors Capital Fund, dark money groups largely backed by the Koch brothers. In October, InsideClimate News reported that a group of Democratic senators wrote a letter to Exxon “questioning Exxon's contributions to Donors Trust and the Donors Capital Fund, which provide a conduit between well-heeled contributors and various conservative public policy organizations, including many at the forefront of climate science denial.” InsideClimate News further noted that the senators cited research from Robert Brulle of Drexel University, who provided evidence that Exxon may have engaged in an effort to “simply reroute its support” of climate denial organizations:

    Brulle is a leading sociologist who has been published extensively in the peer-reviewed literature on the climate denial movement.

    In material supplementing one of his studies, Brulle documented Exxon donations directly to climate denial groups such as the Heartland Institute, up until about 2008. At about the time Exxon scaled back its giving to those groups, Donors Trust and the Donors Capital Fund stepped up their donations to them.

    Americans for Prosperity “frequently provides a platform for climate contrarian statements,” as the Union of Concerned Scientists has noted. The Americans for Prosperity Foundation has received approximately $23 million in combined contributions from Donors Trust and the Donors Capital Fund since 2008.

  • How The Media Helped Donald Trump Boost His Candidacy

    Harvard Professor Gives Insight Into New Shorenstein Report About How The Media Helped Trump And Hurt Clinton

    Blog ››› ››› JOE STRUPP

    The author of a new Harvard study on the media’s coverage of the presidential primary says the press clearly helped Donald Trump on his path to becoming the presumptive Republican nominee.

    This week, Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy released a detailed report on the media’s coverage of the presidential race in 2015, the year leading up to the first primaries. The study found that “Trump is arguably the first bona fide media-created presidential nominee. Although he subsequently tapped a political nerve, journalists fueled his launch."

    The study’s author, Harvard professor Thomas E. Patterson, told Media Matters in an interview that the massive amount of Trump coverage -- as well as its largely positive tone -- predated Trump’s rise in the polls and “helped position him to make a stronger run.”

    “In the past, to get a lot of coverage pre-Iowa you had to be pretty high in the polls, and they started to give him heavy coverage when he was way down there, in the single digits,” Patterson said in an interview. “It is virtually impossible when you go back through all the races before 2016 when you were in a multi-candidate field and you were down where he was you are almost an afterthought to journalists.”

    The study looked at coverage of the candidates prior to the caucus and primary votes by Fox News, CBS, NBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today.

    Equating the Trump coverage to advertising dollars, Patterson’s report found that Trump received about $55 million worth of positive and neutral coverage in the eight outlets studied, well ahead of the second place candidate, Jeb Bush, at $36 million.

    “It’s gold, it works in every way in [his] favor,” Patterson said. “As you start to go up in the polls, there is a circular pattern, you can raise money and it becomes easier to pull voters into your column. What was abnormal was this extraordinary amount of attention Trump got early on even though he did not appear on paper to be a credible candidate. He was far down in the polls, but he made statements that made for great stories.”

    The study found that all eight of the news outlets studied gave Trump predominantly positive or neutral coverage, from The New York Times, where 63% of stories about Trump were positive or neutral, to USA Today, which led the way with 74%.

    By the same token, Clinton received largely negative coverage across the eight news outlets during 2015. The report argues of this disparity, "Whereas media coverage helped build up Trump, it helped tear down Clinton. Trump’s positive coverage was the equivalent of millions of dollars in ad-buys in his favor, whereas Clinton’s negative coverage can be equated to millions of dollars in attack ads, with her on the receiving end." 

    Patterson pointed to reporting on Clinton's use of a private email account while secretary of state and Republicans' ongoing focus on the 2012 Benghazi attacks as two of the most negatives stories.

    “In her case, the emails and the questions about the emails, how big an issue is this actually, that was a big part of her coverage,” Patterson said. “Benghazi was a bigger part of the news early on and then she had that day-long session with Congress that a lot of people thought she did quite well with. Of all the candidates of recent decades who have been front-runners, she has had the strongest headwinds of negative coverage.”

    But Patterson said the press may have over-covered the email issue and failed to put it in proper context.

    “How big an issue is the email controversy in the context of the candidate’s preparedness and ability to be president of the states?” he asked. “I think you would get some who say it is a molehill into a mountain. My own sense is that as a standalone issue the emails are pretty small potatoes in the realm of presidential preparedness. It has been a common practice in Congress and among cabinet officers to combine them one way or another. She is not an outlier on this and you could ask why the press has not brought that part of the story into it.”

    Patterson added that even apart from those controversies, Clinton’s “substantive issue coverage was more negative than the other candidates.”

    Despite the helping hand the media gave Trump during the primaries, Patterson notes that “in the past few weeks, Trump has gotten the kind of press scrutiny that if it had come earlier it would have been a drag of some kind on his candidacy, perhaps enough to make it hard for him to go into the convention with a majority.”

  • Right-Wing Media Assail Expansion Of Overtime Pay Protections To Millions Of Workers

    ››› ››› CRAIG HARRINGTON & ALEX MORASH

    Right-wing media assailed new overtime rules released by the Department of Labor (DOL) on May 17, which expand overtime pay protections to 4.2 million American workers previously exempt from compensation under outdated provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The new rule updates the minimum salary threshold to qualify for guaranteed overtime pay from $23,660 per year to $47,476 per year, and pegs the threshold to inflation going forward.

  • WSJ Publishes Pro-Trump Op-Ed Without Disclosing Its Author Works For Trump Campaign

    Blog ››› ››› BRENNAN SUEN

    The Wall Street Journal published a pro-Donald Trump op-ed without disclosing that its author, Anthony Scaramucci, works as part of the Trump campaign’s national finance committee. 

    The Journal wrote that Scaramucci is “the founder and co-managing partner of SkyBridge Capital,” failing to mention that he joined  the Trump campaign  as part of Trump’s “nascent national finance committee.” According to The Washington Post, Scaramucci was “one of the first traditional bundlers to join the Trump campaign.”

    In his May 15 op-ed, titled, “The Entrepreneur’s Case For Trump,” Scaramucci hyped Trump as a “pragmatic entrepreneur,” “team builder,” and a candidate with “empathy” who can win. Scaramucci concluded his piece urging his “fellow Republicans to listen to the will of people” and “unite not only for the good of the party, but for the good of the nation”.

    Trump responded to Scaramucci’s op-ed, tweeting, “Thank you, Anthony Scaramucci”:

    During the 2012 presidential campaign, the Journal repeatedly failed to disclose op-eds written by advisers to then-GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. A Media Matters study found that 70 percent of the Journal’s op-eds written by Romney advisers lacked disclosure.

  • An Extensive Guide To The Fact Checks, Debunks, And Criticisms Of Trump’s Various Problematic Policy Proposals

    ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY & JARED HOLT

    Over the course of the 2016 presidential primary, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has laid forth a series of problematic policy proposals and statements -- ranging from his plan to ban Muslims from entering the United States to his suggestion that the United States default on debt -- that media have warned to be “dangerous,” “fact-free,” “unconstitutional,” “contradictory,” “racist,” and “xenophobic.” Media Matters compiled an extensive list of Trump’s widely panned policy plans thus far along with the debunks and criticism from media figures, experts and fact-checkers that go along with them.

  • El Wall Street Journal Pinta Erróneamente A Los Puertorriqueños Como "Refugiados" En Su Propio País

    Los Puertorriqueños Son Enteramente Ciudadanos Americanos

    Blog ››› ››› CRAIG HARRINGTON English language version

    El Wall Street Journal advirtió que la crisis de deuda desplegada en Puerto Rico podría crear un "éxodo" de "refugiados puertorriqueños” a los Estados Unidos que votarían por los Demócratas y se aprovecharían de los beneficios públicos – completamente ignorando su estatus como ciudadanos americanos, con todo el derecho de vivir y trabajar en cualquier parte del país según deseen.

    El 2 de mayo, el New York Times informó que el gobierno de Puerto Rico no cumplió con el pago de $399 millones de dólares de una deuda total de $422 millones de dólares que tiene el país ante acreedores y tenedores de bonos. Según el Times, el gobierno de San Juan ya hizo cortes severos a los servicios públicos para millones de residentes de la isla, pero todavía no es capaz de reconciliar el déficit de los ingresos creado por una recesión prolongada que ha debilitado la economía puertorriqueña. Puerto Rico no será capaz de pagar sus obligaciones sin una intervención del Congreso que le permita reestructurar su deuda.

    En una columna del 2 de mayo, el Wall Street Journal hizo un llamado al Congreso a que ayude a Puerto Rico a cancelar y reestructurar su deuda, pero solo para evitar “una anarquía y un rescate financiero clandestino” que resultaría en “miles de puertorriqueños huyéndo a los Estados Unidos", donde dependerían de la "limosna de los servicios gubernamentales". El Journal dijo que la crisis de deuda podría resultar en un “éxodo” de “refugiados puertorriqueños” mudándose a otra parte de los EE. UU. y votando en las elecciones federales. El periódico especuló que si el Congreso actualmente controlado por los Republicanos no ayuda a la isla, se le otorgaría el voto puertorriqueño “a los Demócratas en los años venideros”. Traducido del Wall Street Journal (énfasis agregado):

    Un nuevo informe del Instituto de Estadísticas de Puerto Rico muestra que el éxodo de la población de la isla está acelerando con una cifra neta de 64,000 puertorriqueños mudándose a los EE. UU. en 2014. La mayoría son jóvenes – la media es 29 años y el sueldo $13,000 – buscando una vida mejor. Mientras muchos encontrarán empleo eventualmente en los EE. UU., sus sueldos inicialmente serán suficientemente bajos para calificar para Medicaid, vales de comida y vivienda pública. Sus hijos asistirán a escuelas públicas.

    Los refugiados puertorriqueños también podrán votar. En 2014, Florida (23,297) fue el destino más popular para los puertorriqueños seguido por Texas (5,019) y Pennsylvania (4,304). Virginia (1,664) y Ohio (1,553) se clasificaron como noveno y décimo. El Presidente Obama ganó Florida con un margen de aproximadamente 74,000 votos en 2012 – hay más de un millón de puertorriqueños viviendo en ese estado – y 537 votos decidieron la elección presidencial de 2000.

    Inactividad por parte del Congreso relegaría la isla a una parálisis económica, y le relegaría los votantes de Florida y Puerto Rico a los Demócratas en los años venideros. 

    La decisión de la junta editorial de desprestigiar a millones de ciudadanos americanos llamándoles "refugiados" es irresponsable.

    Puertorriqueños mudándose a otra parte de los Estados Unidos no son “refugiados”; son ciudadanos americanos, y se les otorgó de manera oficial la ciudadanía americana el 2 de marzo de 1917. Los derechos completos de ciudadanía se extendieron más tarde a “todas las personas que nacieron en Puerto Rico el día 11 de abril de 1899 o después de esta fecha.” Si algunos residentes de Puerto Rico eligen mudarse a través de los Estados Unidos en búsqueda de mejores oportunidades económicas, tienen todo el derecho de hacerlo.

    Millones de puertorriqueños están sufriendo de la confluencia entre la codicia corporativa y la mala gestión burocrática en la isla, como explica el Huffington Post. El programa de HBO Last Week Tonight también ha expuesto las circunstancias precarias creadas por el estatus de Puerto Rico como territorio estadounidense, en vez de un estado completamente incorporado, y destacó la importancia de ayudar a Puerto Rico a reestructurar su deuda.

    El Journal inspirando temores sobre los llamados ““refugiados” puertorriqueños” se ajusta al discurso que los medios de derecha impulsan sobre la supuesta amenaza que representan inmigrantes y refugiados. Las cadenas noticiosas de derecha suelen preocuparse de que los refugiados absorberán los recursos del gobierno, y de que los Demócratas usarán programas de beneficios del gobierno para inclinar las preferencias de los inmigrantes hispanohablantes hacia su lado. Pero la decisión del Journal de pintar a los puertorriqueños como “refugiados” – en vez de los ciudadanos americanos que son – está estableciendo un nuevo estándar de bajeza para los conservadores.

  • WSJ Falsely Labels Puerto Ricans As “Refugees” In Their Own Country

    Puerto Ricans Are Full American Citizens

    Blog ››› ››› CRAIG HARRINGTON Versión en español

    The Wall Street Journal issued a dire warning that the unfolding debt crisis in Puerto Rico could create an “exodus” of “Puerto Rican refugees” to the United States who would vote for Democrats and soak up public benefits -- completely ignoring their status as American citizens, with every right to live and work in whatever part of the country they wish.

    On May 2, The New York Times reported that the government of Puerto Rico defaulted on $399 million of a scheduled debt payment of $422 million owed to creditors and bondholders. According to the Times, the government in San Juan has already severely cut public services for millions of the island’s residents, but it is still unable to make up the revenue shortfall created by a prolonged recession that has sapped the Puerto Rican economy. Puerto Rico will be unable to repay its obligations without an act of Congress allowing the island to restructure its debt.

    In a May 2 editorial, The Wall Street Journal urged necessary congressional action to help Puerto Rico write-down and restructure its debt obligations, but it did so only to avoid “anarchy and a back-door bailout” that would result in “tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans flee[ing] to the mainland where they will land on the U.S. public dole.” The Journal said the debt crisis could result in an “exodus” of “Puerto Rican refugees” moving to another part of the United States and voting in federal elections. The paper speculated that if the Republican-controlled Congress did not assist the island, Puerto Rican votes would go “to the Democrats for years to come” (emphasis added):

    A new report by the Instituto de Estadísticas de Puerto Rico shows the island’s population exodus is accelerating with a net 64,000 Puerto Ricans moving to the U.S. in 2014. Most are young people—the median age is 29 and income is $13,000—seeking a better life. While many will eventually find jobs in the U.S., their incomes will at least initially be low enough to qualify for Medicaid, food stamps and public housing. Their kids will attend public schools.

    The Puerto Rican refugees will also be able to vote. In 2014, Florida (23,297) was the top destination for Puerto Ricans followed by Texas (5,019) and Pennsylvania (4,304). Virginia (1,664) and Ohio (1,553) ranked ninth and tenth. President Obama won Florida by about 74,000 votes in 2012—there are more than one million Puerto Ricans living in the state—and 537 votes decided the 2000 presidential election.

    A congressional default would relegate the island to economic paralysis, and Florida and Puerto Rican voters to the Democrats for years to come.

    The editorial board’s decision to slur millions of American citizens as “refugees” is irresponsible.

    Puerto Ricans moving to another part of the United States are not “refugees”; they are American citizens, and have been granted formal American citizenship since March 2, 1917. The full rights of citizenship were later extended to “All persons born in Puerto Rico on or after April 11, 1899.” If some residents of Puerto Rico choose to move throughout the United States in search of better economic opportunities for themselves and their families, they have every right to do so.

    Millions of Puerto Ricans are suffering from the island's confluence of corporate greed and bureaucratic mismanagement, as explained by the Huffington Post. HBO's Last Week Tonight has also exposed the precarious circumstances created by Puerto Rico’s status as a U.S. territory, rather than a fully incorporated state, and highlighted the importance of helping Puerto Rico restructure its debt.

    The Journal’s fearmongering about so-called “Puerto Rican refugees” fits the standard right-wing media trope about the supposed threat presented by immigrants and refugees. Right-wing outlets often worry that refugees will soak up government resources, and that Democrats will use government entitlement programs to curry favor with Spanish-speaking immigrants. But the Journal’s decision to paint Puerto Ricans as refugees -- rather than the American citizens they are -- may set a new low for conservatives.