Fox News and Fox News Latino are reporting on the Obama administration's enforcement record differently in a perceived effort to cater to their respective audience. At Fox News, the emphasis is on hosting extreme voices to discredit the Obama administration's record. At Fox News Latino, however, there is no equivocation that the Obama administration is nearing its 2 million deportation threshold.
The most recent example of this divide between Fox News and Fox News Latino includes how they treated a flawed report by the Center for Immigration Studies that cast doubt on President Obama's deportation record. Fox News used it to attack Obama and push the narrative that the administration isn't deporting enough immigrants that warrant deportation. This followed weeks in which the network repeatedly tried to discredit the administration's deportation record, claiming that administration officials are "fudging" the numbers on deportations.
The network misled its audience, telling them that the Obama administration was “destabilizing the nation” with its enforcement policies by releasing undocumented immigrants who had committed crimes. It led to one contributor calling Obama the “releaser-in-chief.” Hosts on Fox News' daytime programming went even further, accusing the administration of releasing immigrants who had committed rape and murder. Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy commented after one segment: “That's crazy.”
This sentiment continued at FoxNews.com. One story about the administration's immigration enforcement policies included this image with a headline asking: “Are America's Streets Threatened by a Criminal Alien 'Crisis'?”:
Though Fox Business host Lou Dobbs was the only Fox host to question the accuracy of CIS' report, he nevertheless agreed that “some” of the immigrants not deported by the Obama administration were convicted of rape and murder.
In stark contrast to other Fox News outlets, Fox News Latino provided far more balance in its reporting on the Obama administration's enforcement policies -- and without any of the alarmist or derogatory language that is popular on Fox News.
In an article about the flawed CIS report, Fox News Latino noted that CIS, which “favors strict immigration enforcement,” is “known for producing numerous studies and reports criticizing liberal immigration policies.”
The article went on to report that the Obama administration is nearing 2 million deportations -- a number that is supported by data from U.S. Immigration and Customs Services (ICE) but that Fox News has repeatedly tried to discredit:
The Obama administration, which came under fire by proponents of more lenient immigration policies for its record number of deportations - nearly 2 million now - during his tenure, announced that it would reprioritize whom to detain.
The administration said it would implement “prosecutorial discretion” - putting at the top of the list for deportation and other enforcement measures those immigrants who pose a serious threat to public safety and national security, violent criminals such as murderers.
The term for criminal, as used by immigration, ranges from murder and rape to re-entering after deportation and using bogus identification documents.
The CIS analysis does not provide a breakdown of the criminal offenses.
The article also included a quote from ICE disputing the CIS report and from the American Immigration Council, which analyzed the CIS data and similarly found it flawed.
While Fox News was pandering to its hardline anti-immigrant audience, Fox News Latino has published a number of pieces on immigration issues that accurately depict the Obama administration's enforcement policies and note Republican intransigence on immigration reform:
- An April 2 article reported: “House Republicans are continuing to avoid submitting the text of an immigration reform bill to a vote, despite the fact that the Senate approved bipartisan legislation on the matter last June.”
- An April 1 article about the increased advocacy for immigration reform from GOP-leaning agriculture industry groups explained that “the dynamics may be changing for agriculture business owners, who are struggling to find American workers willing to do the physically demanding work, and struggling to find even undocumented workers amid stricter immigration enforcement along the border and inside the United States.”
- A March 26 article about a 10-year-old Southern California girl who traveled to Rome to meet the pope and press him to talk to President Obama about her father (who was then in deportation proceedings but has since been released) reported that immigration reform “stalled in the House, where Republicans have a majority and where there is resistance to any measure that would provide a path to legalize for undocumented immigrants.”
- A March 14 article on Obama's directive that Homeland Security review its deportation policies to make them more humane reported:
It was unexpected, coming from a president who said as recently as last week that when it came to deportations, he's already stretched his presidential powers to the max.
Preferring a lasting legislative solution for one of Obama's top priorities, the White House had wanted to avoid this course, knowing that any steps Obama takes that are perceive as overreaching will only give Republicans excuses to avoid dealing with immigration. After all, the GOP has already cast Obama as a president gone wild, citing endless changes to his health care law and his move to allow children brought to the U.S. illegally to stay here.
Fox News and Fox News Latino have repeatedly diverged on the tone and substance of coverage of the same issues in what seems to be an effort to pander to their respective audiences.