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  • STUDY: Mainstream Media Use Anti-Immigrant Slur In Discussions Of Undocumented Immigrants

    ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    Media Matters study counted the number of instances in which cable and broadcast news programs used, without pushback, the anti-immigrant slur "illegal immigrant" or variations of the term to describe undocumented immigrants, a practice that has been increasingly rejected by journalistic organizations, style critics, and other institutions. Starting from then-presidential candidate Donald Trump's September 2016 speech on immigration that used the slur through his election and into the transition, Media Matters found variations of "illegal immigrant" used on both evening and Sunday cable and broadcast news shows: ABC was the only network to avoid using such terminology entirely, while Fox News was by far the worst offender.

  • Ethics Clearances For Trump's Nominees Won't Be Completed Before Hearings, Most Sunday Shows Don't Care

    ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    Most Sunday news shows gave little attention to reports detailing the Office of Government Ethics’ (OGE) concerns that it will not be able to complete background checks on all of President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees in time for their confirmation hearings. Despite the confirmation hearings beginning this week, CBS’ Face the Nation was the only show to devote significant time to the story.  

  • How The Media Elevated Anti-Immigrant Nativist Groups

    ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    Throughout 2016, media outlets were complicit in mainstreaming the “nativist lobby,” made up of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), and NumbersUSA, groups with ties to white supremacists whose mission is to drastically limit both legal and illegal immigration. Even though these groups have a record of producing shoddy research and pushing misinformation about immigrants, their agenda has now inspired many of President-elect Donald Trump’s immigration policies. Many mainstream media outlets contributed to the normalization of these nativist groups by repeatedly referencing them under the pretense of balance while failing to acknowledge their insidious anti-immigrant agenda or provide context about their nativist origins.

  • Cable News Reports On DACA Ignored Its Economic Benefits

    Blog ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    After President-elect Donald Trump pledged during his presidential run to rescind an executive action on immigration that protects from deportation thousands of undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as minors, cable news outlets routinely discussed the program as a political tool without explaining how it benefits Americans and the American economy.

    The 2012 executive action known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, allows almost 800,000 people to study, work, and live their lives in the United States without fear of deportation. As a result of not being forced to live in the shadows, DACA recipients have generated more government revenue in the form of sales and property taxes, and created new jobs through increased consumer spending and boosted wages. The program has benefited the entire economy, but cable news coverage of DACA depicts the program as if it impacts only those who it protects from deportation.

    Media Matters reviewed how evening news programs on Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC covered DACA from August 31 -- when Trump announced he would put an end to the program -- to December 15. Of the 20 qualifying segments on DACA during that time period, its economic impact was mentioned only once. Even then, the discussion failed to provide many facts on the scope of the program’s benefits.

    Meanwhile, new reports investigating the effect of rescinding DACA conclude that doing so would do more harm than good for all Americans, not just the thousands of undocumented immigrants protected by the program. On December 13, Univision reported on a study from the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, which found that ending DACA would reduce contributions to Social Security and Medicare by $19.9 billion and $4.6 billion, respectively, over 10 years. On December 15, Telemundo reported that if approximately 3.4 million undocumented immigrant homeowners, many of whom are protected under DACA, lost protections from deportation, the resulting mass deportation “could hit the housing market, causing losses of up to $9.3 billion.” Additionally, a November 18 report by the Center for American Progress estimated that “ending DACA would wipe away at least $433.4 billion from the U.S. gross domestic product” over the next 10 years.

    Cable news networks’ failure to connect the dots on how anti-immigration policies would negatively affect the economy is a disservice to voters whose decisions at the polls were guided by a desire for a strong economy.

    Methodology

    Media Matters conducted a Nexis search of transcripts from Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC using the search terms "allcap(DACA) or dreamer or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals" for programs airing between 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. from August 31 through December 15. We reviewed the transcripts for segments discussing the economic impact of DACA. This included reports from correspondents and guest panels and excluded brief mentions of DACA that did not generate meaningful discussion between hosts or guests.

  • Univision Lifts Up Nativist Center For Immigration Studies As Credible Source

    Blog ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    Univision’s daily email brief cited the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), an anti-immigrant nativist group that often peddles in misinformation, continuing the leading Spanish-language media outlet’s pattern of promoting anti-immigrant groups and failing to label them as such.

    The December 5 edition of Univision’s Daily Brief claimed, “New government data by the Center for Immigration Studies shows more than three million new documented and undocumented immigrants settled in the United States in 2014 and 2015 — a 39 percent increase over the prior two years.”

    CIS is one of three anti-immigrant groups, all spearheaded by retired ophthalmologist John Tanton, that use the veneer of impartiality to inundate media outlets with false statistics and misinformation about immigrants. The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated CIS -- along with the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and NumbersUSA, both also founded by Tanton -- as anti-immigrant white nativist groups for their ties to racist extremists. CIS’ Jessica Vaughan, a right-wing media regular, has used her media platform to misinform about sanctuary cities and peddle lies about undocumented immigrants voting and being released to commit violent crimes.

    Some media outlets, like The Daily Beast, have reported on this “shady network” of anti-immigrant groups that bolster right-wing media talking points and routinely creep into mainstream media, noting that their problematic studies are often characterized by a lack of context. Univision’s propensity to cite CIS and FAIR contributes to this dangerous media pattern and threatens the integrity of immigration information.

  • Media Should Not Sanitize Trump Immigration Adviser Kris Kobach’s Extremism, Ties To White Supremacists

    Kobach “Wrote The Book” On Muslim Registry And Was Behind Anti-Immigrant SB 1070

    ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    A reported architect behind President-elect Donald Trump’s extreme immigration proposals, radio host and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has received significant media attention following the announcement that he was joining Trump’s transition team. However, media outlets are failing to note his ties to hate groups and nativist organizations and his attacks on immigrants and LGBTQ people.

  • What You Hear About Trump's Immigration Plan Depends On The Language You Speak

    Blog ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    Latinos whose lives will be affected by what President-elect Donald Trump’s administration decides to do on the issue of immigration are getting two different messages depending on the language they speak and the news they watch. Conservatives addressing the issue are giving conflicting messages to different audiences, adding to the crippling uncertainty many immigrants are already experiencing. In the span of 12 hours, Telemundo’s Spanish-speaking viewers received a different narrative regarding Trump’s immigration plans than Fox News’ audience did.

    On November 15, Trump’s transition team member Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who is one of the major architects of Donald Trump’s extreme immigration proposals and has been described as an anti-immigrant zealot, appeared on Fox News’ Fox & Friends and declared regarding the future of undocumented immigrants that, “No person living here illegally gets a free pass.” This means any undocumented immigrant is vulnerable to deportation and contradicts reporting that Trump’s tone on immigration might be getting softer.

    Just hours earlier, RNC Hispanic Media Communications Director Helen Aguirre Ferré reassured Telemundo’s Spanish-speaking audience that, “if you are undocumented, and you haven’t committed a penal crime, you have nothing to worry about” with regards to being deported. From the November 14 edition of Telemundo’s Noticiero Telemundo:

    It is likely that Fox’s audience received the more accurate depiction of Trump’s immigration plan given Kobach’s prominent role in crafting Trump’s hardline immigration proposals and Aguirre Ferré’s record of attempting to sanitize the Trump campaign to Hispanic audiences. This media manipulation allows Trump to curry favor among the right-wing audience on Fox News while spreading a different message to the immigrant population who relies on Spanish-language media and whose uncertain future depends on Trump’s immigration policy.

  • Right-Wing Media Revive Discriminatory Effort To Discourage Early Voting

    ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    Several Fox News hosts have recently been critical of early voting, a process that is especially important to voters of color who face systemic barriers to voting on Election Day. Fox hosts baselessly claimed that voters who already took advantage of early voting now want to change their votes and suggested voters “don’t know all of the information” prior to voting, which raises questions about “the wisdom of early voting.” Right-wing media figures’ contempt for early voting is not new.

  • Trump's Fearmongering Has Forced Hispanic Media To Warn Against Voter Intimidation

    Spanish-Language Outlets Spending Final Weeks Of Election Preparing Viewers In Case Of Voter Suppression

    Blog ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    Responding to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s comments urging his supporters to be on the lookout for widespread voter fraud on Election Day, Hispanic media have repeatedly debunked the myth that such voter fraud exists and shared resources that their audiences could use if they are harassed -- or see others harassed -- at the polls.

    Since Trump began asserting in mid-October that the presidential election is “rigged” against him because of voter fraud and because “illegal immigrants are voting,” Spanish-language outlets and Latinos in the media have been debunking his false claims and noting that Trump’s accusations threaten American democracy. They also warned that these tactics could intimidate minorities, causing them not to vote. Univision correspondent Juan Carlos Aguiar explained that there is no shortage of “experts who confirm that this position assumed by Trump is very dangerous.” Aguiar’s report featured political analyst José Parra, who pointed out that Trump’s charges of voter fraud exacerbate racial tensions “because ‘electoral fraud’ becomes the equivalent of people of color are voting for many people.” Translated from the October 18 edition of Univision’s Noticiero Univisión: Edición Nocturna:

    JUAN CARLOS AGUIAR (CORRESPONDENT): It’s not just a few experts who confirm that this position assumed by Trump is very dangerous.

    JOSÉ PARRA (POLITICAL ANALYST): Racial tensions become exacerbated because ‘electoral fraud’ becomes the equivalent of people of color are voting for many people, and they think that by not being a white American then therefore you are not an American citizen.

    AGUIAR: In order to avoid possible episodes of racial discrimination, in New York, they created a mobile app to denounce them.

    JOANNA CUEVAS (SPOKESPERSON FOR LATINO JUSTICE): Race, color, national origin, ability to speak English. These are all forms of discrimination that we are monitoring.

    Faced with concerns over violence and the potential for intimidation of minority voters at the polls, Hispanic media have reported on various organizations’ mobilization efforts to protect voting rights on Election Day. La Opinión highlighted the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO)’s request that the Department of Justice send federal election observers “in particular to areas with high percentages of immigrant and Puerto Rican voters,” as well as the organization’s guide for voters, which describes “what to do in case of harassment at the polls.” Univision published an explainer on voter intimidation and what to do when faced with such intimidation, directing readers to resources that could help them. Also, Univision’s late-night news program reported that the Organization of American States (OAS) will be assisting with monitoring polls, while Fusion highlighted the Democratic National Committee’s lawsuit against the Republican National Committee, which alleges that the RNC is assisting Trump in his efforts to suppress voter turnout.

    Despite the deluge of coverage debunking Trump’s false claims, his fear tactics seem to be working. Telemundo reported that because of Trump’s fearmongering about a rigged election and his suggestion that he might not accept the results, 51 percent of Americans are worried that “violence will emerge the day of the elections” and “only 40 percent believe that the transfer of power will be peaceful.”

  • Some Context To Trump's “Desperate, Last-Minute” Florida Cuban-American Outreach

    Blog ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    Several Hispanic media reporters ridiculed Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s meager attempt at Hispanic outreach -- which consisted of meeting with Cuban-Americans in the key swing state of Florida -- and explained that he once again failed to reach beyond his solidified base of support. The reports also pointed out the irony in the candidate casting himself as a hard-liner against the U.S.-Cuba embargo, which is the catalyst driving older Cuban-Americans’ support for him, when questions about Trump’s potential violation of the embargo remain.

    An October 25 Univision article by David Adams, Jessica Weiss, and Lorena Arroyo reported that Trump spoke to “some 40 Bay of Pigs veterans” in Miami, FL, a voting bloc that has historically voted Republican, but he failed to spearhead further outreach within the Latino community. The report notes that although Miami’s Cuban-Americans were “once a bastion of Republican support,” they are now “evenly split 41-41 percent between Trump and Clinton.” Political analysts commented that “Trump’s Cuban American strategy is running counter to a changing demographic reality,” taking into account young Cuban-Americans who are “increasingly registering as Democrats and Independents,” a point that other reports confirm.

    Trump’s event with the Bay of Pigs veterans also “did not offer any details of a plan to free Cuba” even though Trump was specifically “invited ‘to explain to [them] his plan for Cuba’s freedom,’” Univision reported. The article noted that this lack of specifics “has been customary in the [Trump] campaign.”

    In an opinion piece for the Miami Herald, Florida journalist Fabiola Santiago also pointed out the irony of the interaction between the businessman and the Cuban-American veterans. Santiago recalled reports by Bloomberg and Newsweek documenting two occasions in which Trump “sent teams to Cuba to research business opportunities,” which was “most likely in violation of the U.S. embargo.” She opined that “Donald Trump’s campaign engaged the Bay of Pigs veterans because he’s falling behind in Florida, a must-win state where the Hispanic vote counts, and it’s massively favoring Hillary Clinton, Cuban-Americans included."

    But research about the Latino vote demonstrates that among the Hispanic community, “Cuban-Americans are, in many ways, a group apart. As a whole they are wealthier, better educated and more Republican than other Hispanics.” Therefore, Trump’s meeting with Cuban-Americans doesn’t help him breach the enormous gap between him and Clinton in polls of the Latino community, where he only has 17 percent support.

    The message of these Hispanic media reporters to the Trump campaign is clear: this “desperate, last-minute” attempt to reach out to Cuban-Americans will not make up for its ongoing rejection of the Hispanic community. Nevertheless, the approach isn’t surprising, as it’s in step with Trump’s overall campaign strategy of remaining within his comfort zone and ignoring groups that break with his radical proposals, particularly when it comes to Latino outreach.