Just a few days after President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning U.S. entry for refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries, CNN and Fox News both hosted anti-immigrant extremists or members of designated hate groups to discuss the president’s move, effectively legitimizing and normalizing these groups. Neither CNN nor Fox correctly labeled any of the guests as belonging to groups that pursue fiercely anti-Muslim, anti-refugee agendas.
Trump’s Immigration Ban Sparks Protests And Chaos
CNN: Trump Signs Executive Order Banning U.S. Entry For Refugees From Muslim-Majority Countries. On January 27, President Trump signed an executive order “that indefinitely suspends admissions for Syrian refugees and limits the flow of other refugees into the United States by instituting what the President has called ‘extreme vetting’ of immigrants.” CNN stated, “The order bars all persons from certain terror-prone countries” -- Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen -- “from entering the United States for 90 days and suspends the US Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days until it is reinstated ‘only for nationals of countries for whom’ members of Trump's Cabinet deem can be properly vetted.” [CNN.com, 1/27/17; Media Matters, 1/27/17]
NY Times: Trump’s Executive Order Barring Refugees From Entering The U.S. “Provoked A Crisis.” The New York Times reported that as a result of Trump’s ban on refugees into the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority countries, “Travelers were stranded around the world, protests escalated in the United States and anxiety rose within President Trump’s party.” From the January 29 report:
Travelers were stranded around the world, protests escalated in the United States and anxiety rose within President Trump’s party on Sunday as his order closing the nation to refugees and people from certain predominantly Muslim countries provoked a crisis just days into his administration.
European leaders denounced the order, and some Republican lawmakers called on Mr. Trump to back down. As of Sunday evening, officials said no one was being held at American airports, although lawyers said they believed that dozens were still being detained.
More than any of the myriad moves Mr. Trump has made in his frenetic opening days in office, the immigration order has quickly come to define his emerging presidency as one driven by a desire for decisive action even at the expense of deliberate process or coalition building. It has thrust the nine-day-old administration into its first constitutional conflict, as multiple courts have intervened to block aspects of the order, and into its broadest diplomatic incident, with overseas allies objecting. [The New York Times, 1/29/17]
CNN And Fox News Hosted Five Anti-Immigrant Extremists To Discuss Trump’s Widely Criticized Executive Order
1. CNN’s Carol Costello Hosted CIS Executive Director Mark Krikorian.
On the January 30 edition of CNN Newsroom, host Carol Costello hosted Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) executive director Mark Krikorian without disclosing his anti-immigrant history. CIS is part of what the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has designated “the nativist Lobby” for its ties to white nationalists and its discredited research meant to demonize immigrants. In addition to spearheading CIS’ mission of limiting both legal and undocumented immigration, Krikorian has openly suggested that Washington Mutual’s hiring of Latinos could have led to the bank’s demise, participated in a speakers series with Holocaust deniers and white supremacists, and written for the racist journal The Social Contract, founded by eugenics adherent John Tanton. He is also one of the “alt-right”’s favorite sources for immigration misinformation.
2. Costello Also Hosted FAIR President Dan Stein.
On the January 30 edition of CNN Newsroom, Costello hosted Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) president Dan Stein without labeling FAIR as a hate group or revealing Stein’s history of baselessly fearmongering about immigrants. FAIR is an SPLC-designated hate group notorious for pushing anti-immigrant misinformation and for its ties to white supremacists, but it has been making its way back into mainstream media as of late. Like CIS, FAIR presents itself as a reputable immigration think tank even though its “studies” have been repeatedly debunked. Stein has strongly voiced his opposition to the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which ended racial immigration quotas that SPLC said “largely restricted immigration to northern Europeans.” Stein said in an interview with John Tanton in 1994 that the act aimed to “retaliate against Anglo-Saxon dominance.”
3. Fox News Hosted Jim Hanson Of The Center For Security Policy.
On the January 30 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade interviewed Jim Hanson of the Center for Security Policy (CSP), an SPLC-designated anti-Muslim hate group, to defend Trump’s executive order. The founder and president of CSP, Frank Gaffney, is a “notorious Islamophobe” and conspiracy theorist who advised Trump during the campaign and into the transition. In his December 2015 statement announcing his intention to institute a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” Trump cited a misleading poll conducted by CSP that, according to experts, used “unreliable methodology” and drew false conclusions. Kilmeade did not mention that Hanson’s organization has been deemed a hate group.
4. Fox Hosted American Islamic Forum For Democracy President Zuhdi Jasser.
After Trump’s travel ban drew a flurry of criticism, Fox News hosted Dr. Zuhdi Jasser of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and the Muslim Reform Movement, who has routinely appeared on Fox to smear Muslims, mosques and Islam. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights organization, has pointed out that the American Islamic Forum has received funding from anti-Islam groups such as Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy and Jihad Watch. The SPLC has described Jasser as “one of the few Muslim spokespersons within the anti-Muslim movement.” On the January 30 edition of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom, Jasser opined that “we need to evolve into an ideological strategy on how to keep the homeland safe, and that’s only going to be done when we have a countering-violent-Islamism strategy rather than countering violent extremism.” Host Bill Hemmer mentioned the organizations that Jasser belongs to without explaining their missions or ideologies.
5. Fox Hosted Kris Kobach Without Disclosing His Ties To FAIR.
On the January 30 edition of Fox News’ Happening Now, co-host Jenna Lee brought on Trump immigration adviser Kris Kobach without pointing out that he is “of counsel” at the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), which is the legal arm of the anti-immigrant hate group FAIR. Kobach has played a prominent role in the anti-immigrant movement: He delivered a speech to a group of white nationalists and routinely uses his Kansas radio show to demonize immigrants and spread misinformation about immigration.