Fox Attacks Yet Another Effort To End Discrimination

A Fox News report on efforts to ban employers from discriminating against the jobless is just the latest example of Fox figures attacking anti-discrimination efforts as being burdensome or creating a “protected class,” or even defending the right of businesses to discriminate against customers based on race.

Fox: “Critics” Say Banning Discrimination Against Unemployed “Create[s] Another Protected Class”

Fox Correspondent: “Critics Say The End Result Could Be More Government Regulation, This Time Influencing The Hiring Decisions Of Private Companies.” From a report on Fox News' America's Newsroom on proposed legislation to ban employers from limiting the pool of prospective employees to those already employed:

MIKE TOBIN (Fox News correspondent): There is also the claim that unemployment is higher among minorities, so this would hit blacks and Hispanics harder. And therefore, it wasn't hard to get legislators to jump into action. Chicago is proposing a city law. New Jersey passed a law. Illinois is proposing a law. The U.S. House and Senate jumped into action, and the president is including unemployment discrimination in his American Jobs Act, Bill.

BILL HEMMER (co-host): A lot of legislation, a lot of hoops. Is that really necessary, Mike?

TOBIN: You know, that's where you get another set of critics who come and look at this, and they say that the -- the National Employment Law Project looked at all the ads on the Internet, and could only produce 150 examples of such legislation [sic]. You get more regulations on the books, and really, what they say you do is create another protected class.

MICHAEL SALTSMAN (Employment Policies Institute): If the legislation is passed like this, it actually ends up preventing employers from hiring because they're scared if they don't give someone the job, they'll be sued for discrimination against the unemployed.

TOBIN: So critics say the end result could be more government regulation, this time influencing the hiring decisions of private companies. [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 10/7/11]

On-Screen Text: “Lawmakers Consider Making The Jobless A Protected Class.” Throughout Tobin's segment, on-screen text read, “Lawmakers Consider Making The Jobless A Protected Class.”


[Fox News, America's Newsroom, 10/7/11]

Fox Misrepresented Findings Of NELP Survey. Contrary to Tobin's statement that “the National Employment Law Project looked at all the ads on the Internet, and could only produce 150 examples” of discrimination against the unemployed, NELP actually conducted a “relatively limited” survey examining only four “prominent online job listing websites” and stated that the sample suggests that the practice “could be far more extensive.” From the NELP survey:

NELP conducted its review over the four-week period that commenced on March 9, 2011 and ended on April 5, 2011. A NELP researcher reviewed job postings during that period that appeared on four of the nation's most prominent online job listing websites:,,, and The online research sought information on both employers and staffing firms that were specifically identified by name (often, job listings are posted anonymously), while also seeking a diverse sample from across the United States.

NELP's snapshot of jobs postings identified more than 150 ads that included exclusions based on current employment status, including 125 ads that identified specific companies by name. The overwhelming majority of the offending ads required that applicants “must be currently employed.” and accounted for more than 75 percent of the exclusionary ads NELP identified. Staffing firms were prominently represented among those companies identified with the practice of excluding unemployed job seekers, accounting for about half of all the postings.

Significantly, the fact that NELP's relatively limited research yielded such a broad cross-section of exclusionary ads -- with postings for jobs throughout the United States, by small, medium and large employers, for white collar, blue collar, and service sector jobs, at virtually every skill level -- suggests that the practice of excluding unemployed job seekers could be far more extensive than depicted in this limited sample. [“Hiring Discrimination Against the Unemployed,” NELP, 7/12/11]

Fox Regularly Attacks Anti-Discrimination Efforts

Fox Guest Peter Schiff: Anti-Discrimination Laws “Hurting The Minorities That The Rules Are There To Protect.” From Fox & Friends:

BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): Peter, repeal federal workplace anti-discrimination laws? You think that is hindering -- it becomes a very litigious workplace?

SCHIFF (author and businessman): Well, I think it's particularly hurting the minorities that the rules are there to protect. I think the government has made it so much more expensive and risky to hire minorities because you have a much higher chance of getting tangled up in a lawsuit that I think small-business owners go out of their way not to hire minorities. And so it's not because they're racist, it's because they're realistic. They don't want to get sued. You know, take a look at the Americans with Disabilities Act. The worst thing to happened to the disabled was that act. I mean, before the act, people would be willing to hire somebody in a wheelchair and take a chance. Now, I mean, there's no way they're going to do it. It's just too much risk. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 9/21/11]

Special Report Included Civil Rights Act Among Those That “Adversely Impact ... Small Business Owners.” A segment of Special Report listed “jobs regulations” that supposedly “adversely impact ... small business owners in a real-time way.” Among them were provisions of the Civil Rights Act. [Fox News, Special Report, 9/16/11, via Media Matters]

Stossel: ADA Proves That Prohibiting Discriminatory Firing Reduces Employment. Fox Business host John Stossel said on the March 8 edition of The O'Reilly Factor:

STOSSEL: The libertarian point that we most often make is that what makes capitalism successful is that you ought to be able to fire people. Jack Welch, when GE was a good company, rather than a ward of the government, and it grew so fast, he fired 10 percent of the workers every year. He said the bottom 10 percent have to go. And to have an enterprise grow, you've got to be able to fire people.

When they passed this law protecting disabled people, fewer disabled people were hired. So all these laws meant to protect workers make it harder to fire them, makes it harder for them to get hired, it hurts workers. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 3/8/11, via Media Matters]

Stossel Attacked ADA For Treating Disabled As A “Protected Class” Who Can't Be Fired “Without Risking An Expensive ADA Lawsuit.” Criticizing the Americans With Disabilities Act on his Fox Business show, Stossel said:

STOSSEL: And what does the ADA teach the disabled? The message from all the lawyering is, you need special help, accommodations. It makes me wonder what if the ADA had been law when I started out in TV news as a stutterer? Would I have been accommodated, putting jobs that required no public speaker?

That wouldn't have been good for me. Maybe I would have spent my time and energy worrying about being accommodated instead of trying to become a more fluent speaker. Or most likely at NBC or CBS where I got my first jobs, the bosses would have said, Stossel is a stutterer?

That's a disability. He's a protected class. What if he is terrible on air and we want to fire him? We can't without risking an expensive ADA lawsuit. Let's just not hire him in the first place.

So goodbye to my career. Goodbye to the STOSSEL show.

The bottom line is the grand schemes of the social engineers almost always go wrong. How the ADA's failure doesn't make this obvious to people is a mystery to me. Before the law 59 percent of disabled men had jobs. The main purpose of the law was to increase that number but after the ADA passed the percentage of disabled men with jobs fell to 48 percent.

The law accomplished the opposite of what Congress intended. And yet they don't even say sorry. [Fox Business, Stossel, 9/2/10, via Nexis]

  • Study: “Strong Evidence” That Prohibiting Firing On Basis Of Disability Was Not Responsible For Reduced Disabled Employment. A study examining the state-by-state effects of the Americans with Disabilities Act found “strong evidence” that the potential cost to an employer of firing an employee with disabilities was not responsible for lower employment of persons with disabilities during the 1990s. [National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper No. 10740, September 2004]

Fox's Briggs: Enforcement of Voting Rights Act “Not A Proper Use Of Funds.” During the August 31, 2010, edition of Fox & Friends, guest host Dave Briggs claimed that the Department of Justice “is demanding” that election officials in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, “print ballots in Spanish,” and said, “The cost, again, $500,000 estimated, for what some say is 6,000 voters, which does sound like not a proper use of funds.” He then asked a guest, “But, beyond that, I mean, do you think this is something that is absolutely required, is necessary, in our country?” According to media reports, at issue is a provision of federal law originally enacted in the Voting Rights Act explicitly protecting the right to vote of Puerto Rican voters educated in U.S. schools regardless of their ability to understand English. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 8/31/10 via Media Matters; Cleveland Plain Dealer, 8/10/10]

Peter Johnson Jr.: New York Muslims Should “Give Up Their Rights” In Order To Be “Good Neighbors.” Johnson stated on the August 20, 2010, edition of Fox & Friends that the issue of the Park51 Islamic center is “about neighbors becoming good neighbors.” He added: “Any American can assert a right. Great Americans give up their rights to help those they share nothing else with but a love of this country.” On September 3, 2010, Johnson repeated that those building the Islamic center should “give up their First Amendment rights.” [Fox News' Fox & Friends, 8/20/10; 9/03/10]

Fox's Stossel Has Repeatedly Asserted That Employers Deserve The Right To Discriminate

Stossel Called For Repeal Of Public Accommodations Section Of Civil Rights Act. From Fox News' America Live:

MEGYN KELLY (host): Rand Paul is a libertarian. You are a libertarian. He is getting excoriated for suggesting that the Civil Rights Act -- what he said was, “Look it's got 10 parts, essentially; I favor nine. It's the last part that mandated no discrimination in places of public accommodation that I have a problem with, because you should let businesses decide for themselves whether they are going to be racist or not racist. Because once the government gets involved, it's a slippery slope.” Do you agree with that?

STOSSEL: Totally. I'm in total agreement with Rand Paul. You can call it public accommodation, and it is, but it's a private business. And if a private business wants to say, “We don't want any blond anchorwomen or mustached guys,” it ought to be their right. Are we going to say to the black students' association they have to take white people, or the gay softball association they have to take straight people? We should have freedom of association in America.

KELLY: OK. When you put it like that it sounds fine, right? So who cares if a blond anchorwoman and a mustached anchorman can't go into the lunchroom. But as you know, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 came around because it was needed. Blacks weren't allowed to sit at the lunch counter with whites. They couldn't, as they traveled from state to state in this country, they couldn't go in and use a restroom. They couldn't get severed meals and so on, and therefore, unfortunately in this country a law was necessary to get them equal rights.

STOSSEL: Absolutely. But those -- Jim Crow -- those were government rules. Government was saying we have white and black drinking fountains. That's very different from saying private people can't discriminate.

KELLY: How do you know? How do you know that these private business owners, who owned restaurants and so on, would have said, “You know what? Yes. We will take blacks.

STOSSEL: Some wouldn't.

KELLY: We'll take gays. We'll take lesbians,” if they hadn't been forced to do it.

STOSSEL: Because eventually they would have lost business. The free market competition would have cleaned the clocks of the people who didn't serve most customers.

KELLY: How do you know that, John?

STOSSEL: I don't. You can't know for sure.

KELLY: I mean that, back then was a different time. Racism and discrimination was rampant. I'm not saying it's been eliminated. But it was rampant. It was before my time, before I was born, but obviously I've read history, and I know that there is something wrong when a person of color can't get from state to state without stopping at a public restroom or a public lunchroom to have a sandwich.

STOSSEL: But the public restroom was run by the government, and maybe at the time that was necessary.

KELLY: But that's not what Rand Paul said. Rand Paul agreed that if it's run by the government, yes intervention is fine. He took issue with the public accommodations, with private businesses being forced to pony up under the discrimination laws.

STOSSEL: And I would go further than he was willing to go, as he just issued the statement, and say it's time now to repeal that part of the law --

KELLY: What?

STOSSEL: -- because private businesses ought to get to discriminate. And I won't won't ever go to a place that's racist and I will tell everybody else not to and I'll speak against them. But it should be their right to be racist. [Fox News, America Live, 5/20/10, emphasis added]

Stossel Opposed Government Efforts To Prevent Cab Drivers From Discriminating Based On Race. During an appearance on The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly stated that one function of government is to "[p]rotect us against people who would deny us freedoms. So, for example, if I can't get a cab because I'm white and nobody will pick me up, I have to walk everywhere. That violates my freedoms. OK?" Stossel responded:

STOSSEL: So you want government to step in and police those cabs?

O'REILLY: I want laws and rules that protect if -- look, what kind of quality of life is it for any American if they can't go to a ballgame? Or if they can't go to a restaurant as we -- Paul was mentioning. I want the government to basically give or try to give everybody the same amount of freedom. Go.

STOSSEL: Well, I'm a libertarian. And we're pretty consistent about this. We want government to keep us safe from people who would physically hurt us. I'd go further. I would say someone who would steal from me.

O'REILLY: Criminals?

STOSSEL: Or stab me. Criminals. But we want government out of our private lives. We want the individual free to behave as he sees fit. And government is a clumsy instrument. And if you invite government in to all parts of life to make life fair, we libertarians think that's an awful idea. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 5/25/10]

Stossel: “Provisions Which Ban Private Companies From Discriminating Are A Mistake.” On his Fox Business blog, Stossel wrote that “two other provisions -- which ban private companies from discriminating -- are a mistake. They violate individuals' freedom to decide with whom to associate, and what to do with one's own property.” He further stated, “Instead of just eliminating segregation, the Civil Rights Act imposed mandatory association. Rand Paul had it right. Neither mandatory segregation, nor mandatory association, is appropriate in a free society.” [John Stossel's Take,, 5/25/10]

Stossel: “The Free Market, As Usual, Will Address The Problem.” In another post on his Fox Business blog, Stossel wrote: “But the clumsy fist of government cannot attack racism without stomping on the rights of individuals. The free market, as usual, will address the problem. It punishes racists. A business that doesn't hire blacks will lose customers and good employees. It will atrophy while its more inclusive competitors thrive.” [John Stossel's Take,, 5/21/10]

Stossel Criticized USDA's “Groveling Apology” For Its Widespread Discrimination Against Black Farmers. In a Fox News special called Freeloaders, Stossel did a segment reporting that “billions of your tax dollars” are being “eat[en]” because of the government's settlement of Pigford v. Glickman, a race discrimination case against the U.S. Department of Agriculture brought by black farmers. Stossel claimed that, after an attorney brought a lawsuit against USDA, "[t]he government issued a groveling apology." But Stossel ignored the widespread evidence that USDA did in fact discriminate against black people on a large scale. [Fox News, Freeloaders, 3/25/11 via Media Matters; Media Matters, 3/27/11]