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Alexandrea Boguhn

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  • Washington Post's Glenn Kessler Stands By Discredited Immigration Fact Check

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    Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler is standing by his blog claiming that the White House had erred in citing President George H.W. Bush's immigration data -- despite evidence discrediting his conclusions.

    In his November 24 piece for The Washington Post's Fact Checker blog, Glenn Kessler examined claims that President George H.W. Bush used an executive action to protect 1.5 million undocumented immigrants. Kessler described the figure as a "round-ed up estimate" that the media adopted because many of the applicants included people who were not eligible to be legalized at the time due to pending applications or appeals. Kessler concluded that the White House had "seized on a single news report" to take the opportunity to highlight higher numbers and that even the Federal Immigration Commissioner, Gene McNary, claimed not to be factual.

    Huffington Post politics and immigration reporter Elise Foley responded to Kessler's blog by pointing to congressional testimony from McNary from 1989 in which McNary affirmed that 1.5 million undocumented immigrants were covered by the policy.

    Kessler updated his blog to note the discovery of McNary's testimony but failed to offer an apology or retraction for his oversights, instead doubling-down on his conclusions:

    Update: in light of the discovery of McNary's testimony, we will assess whether this should be reduced to Three Pinocchios. In any case, the actual impact was far less than suggested in administration statements

    Media outlets have since latched onto Kessler's piece as evidence that the Obama administration's citation of the number was inaccurate. The Washington Post's Charles Lane described the post's conclusions as "devastating," and Fox News' Chris Stirewalt used it to claim that President Obama was wrong in using the numbers as "a centerpiece" of his argument for an executive action on immigration.

  • MSNBC's Joe Scarborough Pushes Keystone Jobs Myth

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    Scarborough on Keystone

    MSNBC host Joe Scarborough peddled the myth that building the Keystone XL pipeline would "create 50,000 new jobs," even though independent fact checkers have called that figure false. The pipeline is projected to create as few as 50 permanent jobs.

    The House of Representatives passed a bill to fast-track approval of the Keystone XL pipeline for the ninth time on Friday. A parallel measure will be considered in the Senate on Tuesday. The administration has indicated that it plans to delay approval of the pipeline while a legal challenge to the proposed route proceeds and suggested that President Obama would veto the effort to accelerate the process.

    Scarborough questioned any decision to delay the pipeline on the November 17 edition of Morning Joe and wrongly claimed that the project would "create 50,000 new jobs."

    The implication that building the pipeline would create 50,000 jobs that don't currently exist is not true. As PolitiFact noted in calling similar job creation estimates false, many of the jobs that would be supported by the pipeline already exist, and the majority of the construction jobs that would be supported are short term.

    "A State Department review found the project could support -- not create -- 42,100 jobs. But that number needs considerable explanation and does not amount to tens of thousands of full-time jobs in the most common sense of employment," PolitiFact noted. "The figure represents the project's estimated direct, indirect and induced jobs over two years of construction, and all but 50 are temporary."

  • Fox News: Prison Reform Supporters Must Have Been Tricked


    Scott and Nauert

    Fox News hosts Jon Scott and Heather Nauert suggested that California voters did not know what they were doing when they passed a ballot measure that will reduce criminal penalties and address unconstitutional overcrowding in the state's prisons.

    On November 4, Californians voted to pass Proposition 47, known as the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act. As the Huffington Post reported, the measure would downgrade "nonviolent felonies like shoplifting and drug possession" to misdemeanors, an act that would lead to about "40,000 fewer felony convictions" and save the state "hundreds of millions of dollars on prisons" annually.

    On the November 6 edition of Happening Now, hosts Heather Nauert and Jon Scott hosted a panel that included the author of Proposition 47 to discuss what the legislation would mean for California. Nauert suggested that those who voted for measure may not have known what they were doing. Asking "if the people who voted for that proposition knew what it was really all about," Nauert called its title "misleading" while Scott mused that "you do have to wonder" about it since "everybody wants safe schools and neighborhoods... but do they know what they were really voting for?":

    But Fox's assessment of voters' inability to grasp what they were voting for ignores the wide-margin by which the measure passed. Capturing 58 percent of the vote, Proposition 47 proved widely popular with Californians at the ballot box.

    Moreover, the new law will bring the California justice system in compliance with its constitutional obligations. In 2011, the Supreme Court ordered California officials to reduce its prison population, which had grown to unconstitutionally high levels after the state enacted a "three-strikes law" in 1994 that forces judges to sentence repeat offenders to prison for life. Writing for the majority, conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy determined that California's prison system resulted in "needless suffering and death" as a result of "serious constitutional violations." Kennedy continued:

    Overcrowding has overtaken the limited resources of prison staff; imposed demands well beyond the capacity of medical and mental health facilities; and created unsanitary and unsafe conditions that make progress in the provision of care difficult or impossible to achieve. The overcrowding is the "primary cause of the violation of a Federal right," specifically the severe and unlawful mistreatment of prisoners through grossly inadequate provision of medical and mental health care.

    California lawmakers were still struggling to address "severe overcrowding" in the state's prison system earlier this year, but Proposition 47 is one step towards getting the state in line with the Supreme Court's order while still ensuring that violent offenders remain in prison.

    Nauert and Scott's comments are just the latest Fox attack on voters. The network has previously suggested that young women shouldn't vote, that young people should stay away from polls "if they don't know the issues," and that Americans should have to pass citizenship tests before gaining the right to vote.

  • CNN Contributor Ignores GOP Obstructionism To Blame Obama For Delays On Immigration Reform

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    CNN political contributor Ana Navarro suggested President Obama is to blame for not delivering on "promises on immigration" without noting the GOP's efforts to obstruct any action on the issue.

    On the November 5 edition of CNN's Wolf, Navarro pointed to Obama's 2007 campaign promises on the issue and claimed that the president had not acted for "political reasons":

    NAVARRO: I do think that President Obama and Republicans both are between a rock and a hard place when it comes to this executive immigration action, particularly President Obama. He's under tremendous pressure from Latinos, from immigration advocates, from his progressive base. He has been making promises on immigration since he was campaigning as Senator Barack Obama in 2007, and time and time again, these groups have had to hear from him, "Wait. It's not your turn yet. For political reasons, you have to wait." And a lot of them are done waiting. But on the other hand, you've got Republicans, some of whom I think have a genuine desire to work on immigration, but it will poison the well. When you've got people like Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio, and John McCain, authors of the bipartisan agreement in the Senate on immigration, sending him a letter saying, "You know, really think about it," and, "This is going to have consequences," I think it's a very difficult place.

    But Navarro's assessment of who is to blame for lack of reform ignores Republican efforts to delay action on immigration by any means necessary, including threats of impeachment.

    In 2013, after the Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill that included a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, House Republicans steadfastly refused to act on it for over a year. This led President Obama to announce in June that he would take executive action on the issue if Republicans continued to refuse to vote on the bill.

  • Right-Wing Media Defend Street Harassment With Their Own Catcalls


    Right-wing media responded to a recent public service announcement depicting a woman's experiences with street harassment by questioning whether the encounters amounted to harassment at all and adding their own catcalls to the chorus of abuse.

    On October 27, Hollaback, a national organization whose mission is to "end street harassment" released a PSA featuring the catcalling and harassment one woman faced over the course of 10 hours while walking around New York City as recorded by a hidden video camera concealed in the bag of somebody walking ahead of her. 

    Conservative media figures responded to the video's depictions of over 100 instances of harassment with disbelief, claiming that the men featured in the video were "simply being polite," that there was "nothing disrespectful" about street harassment, and even commenting themselves on the woman's appearance with proclamations like, "Damn, baby, you're a piece of woman." 

  • Leading Hispanic Civil Rights Group To Fox News: Encouraging Americans To Vote Is Not "Voter Fraud"

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    Fox & Friends still

    National Council of La Raza (NCLR), a leading Hispanic civil rights group, issued a statement responding to Fox News' baseless claim that the organization had encouraged voter fraud.

    After NCLR retweeted a link to an October 27 article from the Washington Post which features an infographic of the different levels of identification required to vote in each state, the hosts of Fox & Friends responded by suggesting the organization was promoting voter fraud.

    On October 30, NCLR responded to Fox's suggestion that the organization may be promoting fraudulent voting in a statement on its blog. Pointing to the "fact-free" Fox & Friends segment, the organization explained that its mission is nonpartisan and "works to promote the civic and political participation of the Hispanic community" by helping qualified voters to perform their civic duty. Countering Fox's claim, NCLR asserted that calling its sharing of the article "fraud" was "not only woefully incorrect" but also "irresponsible and deliberately deceptive":

    NCLR is a nonpartisan organization that works to promote the civic and political participation of the Hispanic community. Informing eligible Latino voters about whether their state has a voter ID requirement is a way to educate them about what they need to do to vote on Election Day--no different than sharing information about their polling locations. To suggest that sharing basic information about voting requirements is an attempt at fraud is not only woefully incorrect, it is irresponsible and deliberately deceptive.

    Like the vast majority of Americans, we believe in fair elections, which is why we will continue to work hard to ensure that every eligible Latino voter makes it to the voting booth this November.

    Fox's claim that NCLR had promoted voter fraud by attempting to explain voting requirements to Latinos ignored the already significant obstacles presented by voter ID laws to this demographic group. According to a 2012 report by the NALEO Educational Fund, although Latino voter turnout has "reach[ed] historic highs," the demographic is still "likely to lag behind comparable participation rates of Americans of other races and ethnicities" due to lack of outreach, language accessibility, and "knowledge of voting procedures and requirements." The organization explained that in particular, "restrictive changes enacted to voting policy" such as requiring government-issued photo identification cards, "will have a worse effect on the Latino electorate than on all voters in the aggregate."

  • As Gender Pay Inequality In The U.S. Persists, Fox News Still Thinks It's A "Myth"

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    A new report that ranked the United States 65th in the world on gender pay equality discredits Fox News' continuing campaign to dismiss the gender pay gap.

    According to a recently released report by the World Economic Forum examining gender equality across the world, the United States ranks 65th in their survey of 142 countries and earns a wage equality score of only 66 percent -- meaning women earn only two-thirds of what men earn for similar work. The report, which drew from nine years of data, found that there has been "only a small improvement in equality for women in the workplace" since they began surveying the issue, and predicted that women won't see full gender equality in the workplace until at least the year 2095.

    Despite the persistence of pay inequality in the United States, Fox News has continuously rejected the gender wage gap as a myth and a "meme," denied its existence entirely, and falsely attempted to attribute the gap to women's personal choices and "emotional difference[s]."

    Just weeks ahead of the upcoming midterm elections, the network has even downplayed pay inequality as an issue not important enough to "drive voters to the polls," but polling data shows the issue matters to women. A September poll from Gallup found that "nearly four in 10 Americans say equal pay is the top issue facing working women in the United States today." That number was even higher for working women themselves, a majority of whom cited it as the most important issue they faced.