News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch, a proponent of comprehensive immigration reform, said at a House subcommittee hearing recently that Fox News, which News Corp. owns, is not “anti-immigrant.” In fact, Fox News routinely polarizes and degrades the debate over immigration issues with outright falsehoods, fearmongering, and outrageous rhetoric that is hostile to immigrants.
Murdoch -- with a straight face -- tells Congress Fox News is “not anti-immigrant”
Murdoch: “We are not anti-immigrant on Fox News.” At a September 30 House subcommittee hearing on the Role of Immigration in Strengthening America's Economy, Murdoch testified in support of comprehensive immigration reform, endorsing a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants. Rep. Maxine Waters noted the disconnect between Murdoch's “basically descent proposal talking about the advantage of immigrants to our economy” and “what I hear on Fox.” Murdoch replied: “We are home to all views on Fox. If you wish to come and state these views, we'd love to have you on Fox News,” and insisted, “We don't censor that or take any particular line at all. We are not anti-immigrant on Fox News.”
The reality: Fox News coverage of immigration issues is reliably hostile to immigrants
Fox News attacked Labor Department efforts to prevent exploitation of unauthorized workers. Fox News denounced Labor Secretary Hilda Solis' campaign informing vulnerable workers, including the undocumented, about the wage standards to which they are entitled. The Labor Department's policy of enforcing labor laws without regard to immigration status long predates the Obama administration; moreover, the enforcement of labor laws is widely seen -- even by those who advocate for greater restrictions on immigration -- as a key to discouraging employers from hiring unauthorized workers. Among the Fox News hosts who attacked the program were Brian Kilmeade, Steve Doocy, Megyn Kelly, Sean Hannity, and Greta Van Susteren.
Fox joined assault on 14th Amendment. Fox News has repeatedly used the derogatory term “anchor babies” to refer to children born in the United States to immigrants who are in the country illegally. Following discussions among Republicans of altering birthright citizenship to exclude the children of unauthorized immigrants, Fox & Friends' Doocy said, “Maybe it's time to go ahead and re-examine” the 14th Amendment, which co-host Clayton Morris called the “anchor baby amendment.” Co-host Gretchen Carlson has also described the 14th Amendment as the one that allows “illegals” born in the United States to become citizens. Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor hosted conservative pundit Ann Coulter to falsely claim that the 14th Amendment was intended solely for African-Americans and not for the children of immigrants. In fact, the Senate debate from 1866 shows that Congress explicitly recognized that the citizenship clause would apply to the children of Chinese immigrants, who at the time were excluded from naturalization.
Fox News hosts routinely describe unauthorized immigrants using the loaded term “illegals.” In multiple instances, including on its purportedly objective news programs, Fox has described unauthorized immigrants using the term “illegals,” which has been denounced by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the Asian American Journalists Association, and the National Association of Black Journalists as a term that can “skew the debate.” On the May 21 edition of Fox & Friends, Carlson even went as far as to equate all Mexicans living in the United States with “illegals.”
Fox defended Arizona's immigration law with litany of falsehoods. Numerous Fox News figures misrepresented the Arizona immigration law to make it seem less controversial or distorted the situation in Arizona in defense of the law. These falsehoods included the claim that the law prohibits officers from considering race when enforcing the law; the claim that the law only applies to those who are committing a crime; the claim that prior to the law, police in Arizona could not ask about the immigration status of those committing crimes; the claim that crime has risen in Phoenix; and the claim that Phoenix has the second-highest number of kidnappings in the world. Fox News also repeatedly reported that the federal government was boycotting Arizona. In fact, none of these claims was true.
Fox brings members of extremist anti-immigrant groups into mainstream. Fox News has repeatedly played host to Michelle Dallacroce, founder of Mothers Against Illegal Aliens. On the May 19, 2006, edition of Your World, Dallacroce claimed that the children of unauthorized immigrants “dumb down the American children and overpopulate our schools.” On May 14, 2010, Fox & Friends also featured Phil Kent of the American Immigration Control Foundation. The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League have flagged the organization as a group with ties to white supremacists that “sells, at a low cost, publications authored by racists and anti-immigrant figures who routinely demonize immigrants.”
Fox News attacks Hispanic civil rights group NCLR. On the February 26, 2009, edition of his Fox News show, Hannity falsely claimed that the National Council of La Raza “has called for Mexico to annex southwestern states.” In response, the president of NCLR demanded an “immediate on-air correction.” Glenn Beck has also equated NCLR to “neo-Nazis” and said the group is “a danger to society.”
Fox host claimed “illegals” in U.S. have “that sense of entitlement” that murderous drug lords have in Mexico. On July 8, Fox & Friends hosted Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu who stated that Mexican drug lords “kill police chiefs or police officers in broad daylight -- mayors, judges.” Carlson stated in response: “Right. Well, some would say that a lot of the illegals have that sense of entitlement here because they've been allowed to have that sense of entitlement here.”
Fox aired absurd estimate that “2,158 killed by illegals every year.” On May 6, Fox & Friends displayed an on-screen graphic promoting an estimate that “2,158 killed by illegals every year,” from Family Security Matters, an organization with a long history of attacking immigrants. That statistic was derived from the completely baseless assumption that the rate at which “illegal aliens” murder in the United States is consistent with murder rates from the immigrant's home country. Actual studies have found that immigrants in general are less likely to be incarcerated and that there is no evidence that undocumented immigrants commit a disproportionate amount of crime. On the May 14 edition of Fox News' On the Record, contributor Sarah Palin also pushed the myth that “border states” are being “inundated” by violent immigrants.
Fox hosted Republican sheriff who supports AZ immigration law 18 separate times. Between mid-April and July 15, Fox News hosted Babeu, who also appears in several campaign ads for Sen. John McCain, for 18 separate live interviews. During his appearances, Babeu touted the harsh Arizona immigration law, criticized the Obama administration, and decried the border-related crime and violence that he says is overwhelming the state. In fact, crime in Arizona has been falling for a decade, with a significant drop in 2009. Two other Arizona sheriffs, Tony Estrada and Ralph Ogden, who had expressed concerns about the new law in Arizona, told Media Matters that Fox had not invited them on to comment during the same period.
Fox News frequently calls immigration reform “amnesty.” Fox News figures and the Fox Nation website often refer to immigration reform proposals as “amnesty.” For instance, after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged Catholic leaders to support immigration reform, Fox News claimed that Pelosi had told clergy to “preach amnesty.” Purportedly straight news figures William La Jeunesse and Megyn Kelly have also referred to immigration reform as “amnesty.” A Pew research poll has shown that a proposal described as “providing amnesty” draws less support than an identical proposal that is described as “providing a way for citizenship” for unlawful immigrants.
O'Reilly: Immigration's reform “unintended consequences” include making America less white. On the May 17, 2007, edition of The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly said he reluctantly supported an immigration bill then under debate, but added that there would be “unintended consequences.” "[T]he landscape of America will absolutely change," he said, citing a Census report which found that "[a]bout 1-in-every-3 U.S. residents was part of a group other than single-race non-Hispanic white." O'Reilly had previously voiced concerns over shifting racial demographics in the United States, suggesting, on April 12, 2006, that the “hidden agenda” of the immigrant rights movement was to bring about “the browning of America.”
O'Reilly: “Most Americans” don't want “poor Mexican people ... changing the tempo of the whole neighborhood.” On the July 30, 2007, edition of his Fox News show, O'Reilly asserted that, “despite the heated rhetoric” regarding immigration, “most Americans ... don't want to hurt any poor Mexican people. ... [T]hey want to know who they are. They want to know where they are, what they're doing. They don't want them clustering in neighborhoods and changing the tempo of the whole neighborhood.”
John Gibson told viewers to “make more babies” in response to high Hispanic birth rate. On the April 4, 2006, edition of Fox News' The Big Story, John Gibson said he was suspicious that “open immigration groups” like the NCLR favor “the so-called reconquista,” which Gibson described as the “retaking of old Mexico territories, which are now part of the United States, by pure birth rate.” On the May 11, 2006, edition of The Big Story, Gibson said that “half of the kids in this country under five years old are minorities” and exhorted viewers to "[do] your duty. Make more babies":
GIBSON: Now, it's time for “My Word.” Do your duty. Make more babies. That's a lesson drawn out of two interesting stories over the last couple of days.
First, a story yesterday that half of the kids in this country under five years old are minorities. By far, the greatest number are Hispanic. You know what that means? Twenty-five years and the majority of the population is Hispanic. Why is that? Well, Hispanics are having more kids than others. Notably, the ones Hispanics call “gabachos” -- white people -- are having fewer.
Now, in this country, European ancestry people, white people, are having kids at the rate that does sustain the population. It grows a bit. That compares to Europe where the birth rate is in the negative zone. They are not having enough babies to sustain their population. Consequently, they are inviting in more and more immigrants every year to take care of things and those immigrants are having way more babies than the native population, hence Eurabia.
Malkin: "[T]he vast majority of mainstream Hispanic politicians" believe that “the American Southwest belongs to Mexico.” Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin claimed on the March 30, 2006, edition of The O'Reilly Factor that Latinos protesting a bill aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration believe in “reconquista,” or the theory that “the American Southwest belongs to Mexico.” Malkin added that “the intellectual underpinnings of reconquista are embraced by the vast majority of mainstream Hispanic politicians.”
Asman on immigration protests: "[I]s this the perfect time to round up these lawbreakers and ship them out?" On the April 10, 2006, edition of Your World, guest host David Asman teased an upcoming segment on protests against proposed immigration reform by wondering aloud: “With so many illegals hitting the streets, is this the perfect time to round up these lawbreakers and ship them out?” On the April 3, 2006, edition of Fox & Friends, guest Erich Muller mocked the protests by pretending he was going to have a “pro-illegal murder and illegal car thieves rally.” He said, "[H]opefully, none of the cops will come arrest us." Doocy replied: “Yeah, you wouldn't want to round them up right then, when they're saying, 'Hey, I'm right here.' ”