Uma Pemmaraju

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  • Fox Talks Over Coverage of Obama's Speech To Veterans On Disability Claims

    Blog ››› ››› SAMANTHA WYATT

    Fox News aired only muted footage of President Obama's speech promising to help veterans and ease the backlog of veterans' disability claims, enabling Fox figures to criticize the claims backlog without actually listening to the president's efforts to correct the problem.

    Obama spoke before the Disabled American Veterans' convention in Orlando, Florida, on August 10, where he addressed the "unacceptable" backlog in applications to receive disability benefits at the Department of Veterans Affairs. The president promised veterans that although there remains much progress to be made, the backlog has been reduced by nearly 20 percent in the last several months. During the speech, Obama also discussed his proposals to give veterans greater access to education and job opportunities.

    On America's News HQ, host Uma Pemmaraju interrupted an on-going interview with Fox contributor and former senator Scott Brown in order "to take our viewers out to Florida, where President Obama is speaking to a crowd of veterans, disabled and other veterans there." However, rather than allowing viewers to hear Obama's actual address, the two spoke over the president in order to give their own opinion on veterans' benefits claims. Pemmaraju gave a summary of Obama's "expected" comments and offered Brown a platform to disagree, saying, "Now the administration is claiming that there's been a 20 percent reduction in the backlog, but as far as I understand it, Senator, you find fault with that." 

  • Fox Uses Newly Released Emails To Falsely Suggest CIA Never Linked Benghazi To Anti-Islam Video

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    Fox News figures are using newly released internal emails to falsely suggest that the intelligence community never connected the attack in Benghazi, Libya to protests against an anti-Islam video. In fact, every version of the talking points, including the CIA's original draft, linked the attack to protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, which were part of a series of global riots and protests that were partly in response to increased awareness of the video. 

    On May 15, the White House released more than 100 pages of emails about the September 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya. The Los Angeles Times noted of the emails: "Even the very first version of the talking points suggests that the attack was inspired by the protests in Cairo over the anti-Muslim video, a perfectly plausible supposition at the time. That undermines the Republican claim that administration officials concocted the notion of a Benghazi protest to protect the president from a perception that Al Qaeda was ascendant again." Indeed, the original version of the talking points produced by the CIA's Office of Terrorism Analysis stated:

    The currently available information suggests that the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the U.S. diplomatic post and subsequently its annex. There are indications that extremists participated in the violent demonstrations.

    But Fox News figures have ignored this to predictably use the emails to criticize the Obama administration for misleading Americans when officials publicly linked the Benghazi attacks to the anti-Islam video.

  • Fox News Finds Another Opportunity To Link Undocumented Immigrants With Higher Crime

    Blog ››› ››› SOLANGE UWIMANA

    umaFox News continued to stoke fears that immigrants are a threat to public safety by advancing Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's argument that granting undocumented immigrants driver's licenses might endanger American citizens. Fox has repeatedly sought to equate immigrants with an increase in crime, even as experts argue that crime drops as immigration rises.

    Discussing a lawsuit challenging Brewer's decision, Fox News anchor Uma Pemmaraju suggested on Happening Now that Brewer is right to deny undocumented immigrants driver's licenses because it could jeopardize public safety. Pemmaraju stated: "What about when she raises issues about the safety of the citizens -- the fact that we already have situations that threaten our people here? We don't need another added burden."

    In fact, experts contend that licensing undocumented immigrants will do the exact opposite -- increase public safety and promote the rule of law since it would encourage people who would otherwise be on the road anyway to get the training needed to obtain the license.

    In June 2012, the Obama administration announced it would grant "deferred action" to certain undocumented immigrants under 31, exempting them from deportation for a period renewable every two years. Those who qualify are eligible to obtain work permits and Social Security cards. Though they do not have full legal status, they are considered to be lawfully present in the United States under the program.

    Two months later, Brewer issued an executive order denying driver's licenses and IDs to the undocumented youths, claiming that state law barred these immigrants from obtaining driver's licenses.

    This action was unusual. According to the National Immigration Law Center, at least 38 states, including the District of Columbia, have announced they will issue or plan to issue licenses to undocumented immigrants who have deferred status. Only two -- Arizona and Nebraska -- have explicitly said they will deny them. A number of states have cited the benefit to public safety as reason to issue driver's licenses, saying it would promote the rule of law and cut down on traffic violations and unlicensed drivers.