Roger Ailes' Latino Outreach At Odds With Fox News' Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric

Fox News continues to use offensive terms to refer to undocumented immigrants despite recent comments from CEO Roger Ailes agreeing that Fox needs a new message on immigration. A Media Matters analysis found that Fox News figures and guests have used slurs such as “illegals,” “illegal aliens,”  and “anchor babies” at least 90 times since the 2012 election -- terms that are banned on Fox News' online site for Latinos.

Fox News' Ailes Agrees That Fox Needs A New Message On Immigration

Roger Ailes: “Republicans Haven't Used The Right Language” On Immigration. In an interview with The New Republic, Ailes also stated that the word “illegal immigrant” is a false name:

Ailes knows Fox needs a new message on immigration, even as Fox News Latino draws attention to other issues. “Republicans haven't used the right language,” Ailes says. “They keep talking about illegal immigration.”

 “I think the word 'illegal immigration' is a false name,” he continues. “You are talking about two separate issues. One is sovereignty. . . . The media trying to make America feel guilty because we want borders--that, to me, is complete bullshit. Immigration is a separate issue. . . . We should all defend sovereignty, then take a Judeo-Christian approach to immigration. I don't have any problem with a path to citizenship.” [The New Republic, 2/11/13, emphasis added]

Ailes: “It's Ridiculous” To Claim That “Fox News Latino Is Softer On Latinos Than Fox News.” Ailes also discussed Fox News Latino, the network's news site aimed at the Latino community, saying:

“The contributions being made by Latinos are extraordinary, and we need to talk about them,” Ailes says. The Fox News Latino stylebook uses “undocumented immigrant,” and the site downplays immigration stories compared with some of its rivals. “Fox News Latino has a mission to point out the positives of the Latino population, operating within the framework of making America great,” Ailes says.

That's not as blandly neutral as it sounds. “Hispanics who get on government programs are doing only a little better than they were in the old country,” Ailes elaborates. “Fox News Latino will show people how opportunities exist, that whenever we are overregulated, or there is too much government, we lose freedom. We lose power. That is, historically, one hundred percent true.”


“There's an assumption that Fox News Latino is softer on Latinos than Fox News in general,” Ailes says. “That's ridiculous.” Whether Fox's Hispanic audience will note a difference remains to be seen. [The New Republic, 2/11/13]

Analysis: Fox News Prime-Time Hosts Continue To Use Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric

Fox News Prime-Time Hosts And Their Guests Use Terms “Illegals,” “Illegal Aliens,” And “Anchor Babies” 99 Times After Election. According to a Media Matters analysis, between November 7, 2012 and February 15, 2013, Fox News prime-time hosts and their guests continually used anti-immigrant language:

Fox News Latino Avoids Anti-Immigrant Terms

Former Fox News Latino Managing Editor: “The Word Illegal Is An Accurate Description For Actions, But Not Individuals.” In an article discussing the use of the terms “illegal” and “illegal immigrant,” Fox News Latino reported:

Fox News Latino, along with other Latino-centered websites, choose [sic] to use the word undocumented immigrant.

“The word illegal is an accurate description for actions, but not individuals,” former Fox News Latino Managing Editor Alberto Vourvoulias-Bush said earlier this year. “We don't use it to describe people who commit other crimes. We write about unlicensed drivers, for example, not illegal drivers.” [Fox News Latino, 9/25/12]


Media Matters searched news transcripts provided by Nexis and Chronicle for the terms “illegals” and “anchor bab!” between November 7, 2012 (the day after the election) and February 15, 2013 (four days after New Republic article). Those searches were also duplicated in Media Matters internal research databases. Show reruns in non-prime time slots were excluded. Rebroadcasts of segments as well as previously taped interviews were included.