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  • Fox & Friends airs images that paint a picture of border chaos to help Trump build wall support 

    Co-host says Trump wants Americans to see such images

    Blog ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    In the third week of President Donald Trump’s government shutdown over his insistence that a border wall be funded, Fox News’ Fox & Friends is filling the airwaves with seemingly chaotic images of migrant caravans to build support for the wall, which, according to co-host Steve Doocy, is just what the president wants. 

    On January 9, Doocy claimed that Trump is “trying to get the people in the middle, the independents, who have not taken a side yet, to look at images like that and think, ‘OK, is that a bad thing for the country?’” 

    Accordingly, the January 10 edition of Fox & Friends aired a lot of b-roll footage of what appear to be migrant caravans. The clips showed migrants: 

    Clashing with law enforcement:

    Climbing or attacking fences and walls:

    Gathering in large groups:

    Walking:

    Fox & Friends has apparently influenced immigration policy with its b-roll choices before: On October 26, Doocy said that “images of the caravan breaking through the gate and the fence in Guatemala into Mexico” -- images that aired heavily on the show and elsewhere on the network -- “so alarmed the White House that they're trying to figure out some way to do something about the caravan in spite of the law.” Three days later, the Defense Department announced that it was sending 5,200 troops to the border to stop the caravan.

  • Tucker Carlson says studies don’t exist showing undocumented immigrants commit less crime - he’s wrong

    Carlson: “We do this topic a lot and we’re pretty conversant with the social science on it. I’ve never seen that study”

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    In an interview with former Border Patrol chief Mark Morgan, Fox News host Tucker Carlson claimed he’s “never seen” a study that shows immigrants commit crimes at a lower rate than native born citizens.

    During the segment, Carlson said, “We do this topic a lot and we’re pretty conversant with the social science on it. I’ve never seen that study.” Perhaps Carlson should become more conversant with search engines, as a Google search returns numerous studies and articles published on this subject.

    A 2018 Cato Institute study shows that “there were 50 percent fewer criminal convictions of illegal immigrants than of native-born Americans in Texas in 2015.” A Washington Post write-up of the study included this chart visualizing Cato’s data:

    In August 2017, Politifact looked into a claim made by Antonio Villaraigosa that “undocumented immigrants commit less crimes than the native born,” a claim rated “mostly true.” In its ruling, Politifact quoted assistant professor and director of the Criminology and Criminal Justice Program at the University of Massachusetts in Boston as saying “the rhetoric of the ‘criminal immigrant’ does not align with the bulk of empirical research.”

    Furthermore, a study completed by research scientists from four universities shows that while immigrant populations have increased in size during the last few decades, the crime rate has gone down in those same communities. According to The New York Times’ review, “In general, the study’s data suggests either that immigration has the effect of reducing average crime, or that there is simply no relationship between the two.”

    Tucker Carlson’s refusal to acknowledge the reality of the academic literature on this subject is no accident. He has a well-documented history of embracing white supremacy and demonizing immigrants on his show, and white supremacists love him back. Tucker Carlson’s extremist views and fact-free demonization of immigrants has been one factor contributing to the loss of at least 24 advertisers in the last month.

  • CBS and NBC embrace both sides-ism in coverage of Trump’s dishonest address 

    Blog ››› ››› GRACE BENNETT


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    CBS This Morning and NBC’s Today Show embraced “both sides-ism” in their reporting on President Donald Trump’s misleading Oval Office address and the Democratic rebuttal. The networks attempted to paint Trump and Democratic leaders as equally responsible for the prolonged government shutdown and implied that both sides were lying to the American people.

    On January 9, CBS This Morning host Norah O’Donnell lamented that while Trump “did not offer any new proposals last night, … neither did the Democratic leaders.” She also complained to her co-hosts that “all that time that was spent preparing for these speeches, if they had actually spent time talking to each other and working out a deal, that would have served the people that put them in office a lot better.”

    This framing suggests that Democrats and Republicans are equally at fault for the shutdown and that both sides should be condemned for failing to reach a compromise. In reality, however, the shutdown is a direct result of Trump’s insistence that Democrats offer up billions of dollars to build a structure that even some Republicans say would be useless. Democrats have repeatedly demonstrated their desire to reopen the government and discuss funding for border security, and they even agreed to a deal that would have kept the government open until February 8 and provided more than $1 billion for border security -- a compromise the president walked away from. Trump, not Democratic leaders, is responsible for holding the government hostage over a border wall -- a role he embraced happily just last month when he said, "I am proud to shut down the government for border security.”

    NBC’s Today Show began its coverage of Trump’s speech and the Democratic response by promising to “fact-check the claims on both sides” suggesting the possibility of similar dishonesty by Trump, a famous and prolific liar, and Democratic leaders. But while NBC’s Peter Alexander listed several specific lies in Trump’s address, NBC’s Kristen Welker mentioned only two points: that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and other Democrats voted for a bill in 2006 that authorized fencing at the border, and that Democrats “were well aware”  that the recent spending bill passed by the Democratic House had no chance in the Senate without border wall funding. Directly and repeatedly lying to the country is clearly not the same thing as voting for a bill more than a decade ago -- nor is it comparable to pushing legislation without wall funds -- yet NBC’s framing suggested that both sides’ claims were similarly dishonest.

    Welker also commented that, “like the president, [Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi] offered no new ideas, instead making it clear they’re still deeply dug in.” This suggested, like CBS’ report did, that Democrats are at fault for a lack of compromise -- even as Trump continues to stonewall negotiations over his unpopular and unrealistic proposal.

    While CBS and NBC dropped the ball, ABC’s Good Morning America did a better job covering Trump’s address without giving in to the temptation to present both sides “equally.”

    Both sides-ism has been a plague on political news and analysis for years, and it played an especially sinister role in the 2016 election. News outlets pretending that both sides have equally legitimate points and faults in every disagreement is both intellectually and morally dishonest -- and that dishonesty is bad for journalism and the country.

  • Video: Fox News figures claim the government shutdown is no big deal. It actually hurts millions of people.

    Blog ››› ››› MILES LE

    As the government shutdown over President Donald Trump’s border wall funding continues in its third week, around 800,000 federal workers are furloughed or working without pay. National parks are largely unsupervised, creating safety concerns and sanitary problems for visitors. Many Native American tribes have been affected as they rely heavily on federal funds to operate, and “a shutdown can cripple their most basic functions.” The shutdown has also impacted the international community.

    But Fox News figures have repeatedly downplayed the impacts of the government shutdown, insisting few people are really being affected. Fox & Friends’ Steve Doocy said, “A lot of people across the country don’t even notice that part of the federal government is shut down.” Fox contributor Charlie Hurt argued, "You could shut down half of the government agencies and literally it would be years" before "the normal average working American would even know.” Fox host Greg Gutfeld claimed that “it’s not a shutdown” unless “we actually start feeling it,” suggesting that people weren’t being affected. Sean Hannity took multiple opportunities to characterize the “so-called big government shutdown” as “not really a shutdown.”

    Here are several instances where good reporting proved that Fox News is lying about what the government shutdown actually means:

  • Video: Fox urges Trump to declare a national emergency over border wall funding

    Blog ››› ››› JOHN KERR

    After Fox News figures spent much of December urging President Donald Trump to shut down the government unless Congress agreed to fund his $5 billion demand for a border wall, the federal government began a partial shutdown on December 22. Nearly three weeks later -- with the shutdown ongoing and hundreds of thousands of federal workers furloughed or working without pay -- Fox figures are describing the border situation as an urgent crisis and pushing Trump to declare a national emergency to acquire funding for his wall.