Fox News is using a new report about the Obama administration's deportation of immigrants (legal and undocumented) to reinforce their narrative that President Obama is not committed to enforcing illegal immigration. In fact, the Congressional Research Service report proves the opposite: that the Obama administration has prioritized the removal of undocumented immigrants who are a danger to society, increasing the number of deportations by nearly 90 percent.
According to the study, which analyzed records from October 2008 -- before Obama was in office -- to July 2011, 46,734 undocumented immigrants were released within that three-year span. Of those, 7,283 or 15.9 percent, recommitted crimes within three years of their initial arrest and release. To put it in context, Americans' recidivism rate is about 40 percent.
But Fox News anchor Rick Folbaum described those findings as "revealing that illegal immigrants are more likely to return to jail after being arrested than citizens or even legal residents" -- which is the exact opposite of what the report concluded. According to the report, legal immigrants' recidivism rate was 16.5 percent. When taken together, the report found that 17 percent of legal and undocumented immigrants recommitted crimes within three years of their release.
Still, host Bill Hemmer stated that the report cast "fresh doubt on the president's immigration policy." Host Lou Dobbs promoted the findings, suggesting the Obama administration has an "anti-enforcement agenda."
Nothing is further from the truth. The Obama administration has prioritized the removal of dangerous undocumented immigrants. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) director John Morton made this clear:
Over the past three and a half years, ICE has established clear priorities that focus our enforcement resources on aliens that pose a threat to public safety or national security, repeatedly violate our immigration laws or recently crossed our borders.
On America's Newsroom, Fox News promoted a Republican congressman's claim that a halt to government regulations will lower the unemployment rate, and then misled viewers over regulations' negligent effect on business and unemployment. In the last six years, regulations were responsible for less than 1 percent of all job loss, and small business owners have cited demand, not regulation, as their biggest obstacle to job creation.
Fox News contributor and National Review editor Rich Lowry claimed that because of the current economic situation, "it makes even less sense to pile new regulations on top of business to make the job of hiring people even more difficult than it is." Fox News contributor Kirsten Powers added that "regulation of small businesses is a problem" and agreed that government regulations "have been too much." Host Bill Hemmer then asked: "Why doesn't the White House do something about [regulation]? Unemployment's above 8 percent."
In reality, government regulations have a negligible impact on the unemployment rate. In 2011, government regulation was the impetus behind only 0.4 percent of all jobs lost, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). For 2012 thus far, regulation is responsible for merely 0.28 percent of total new unemployment. Business demand for goods and services is responsible the vast majority of layoffs, as BLS shows:
From 2007-2009, during the economic recession, the BLS found that government regulation accounted for around 4,300 layoffs -- 0.3 percent of all those who lost their jobs. The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) noted that these numbers are especially significant when compared with the number of jobs lost during the recession due to regulatory failures:
The 4,300 figure itself deserves further context. It does not take into account any offsetting job creation that the regulations may have spurred, such as jobs created from the increased demand for the products from companies in compliance with the regulations. More broadly, the 4,300 figure pales in comparison to any accounting of the jobs lost in this period due to the regulatory failures that contributed to the economy's financial crisis.
That extended mass layoffs resulting from government regulations/intervention are a small sliver of all such layoffs is not an anomaly of tough economic times (when more layoffs naturally reflect the lack of demand). In 2007, a year of modest job growth, just 0.3% of extended mass layoffs were attributed to government regulation/intervention.
Small business owners agree. In a 2011 survey of about 1,200 small business owners, more than 80 percent cited economic factors and lack of demand as the primary obstacles facing their business.
Fox News contributor Karl Rove took to The O'Reilly Factor to hype a new web ad, "Replay," put out by the conservative super PAC he co-founded. The American Crossroads ad paints President Obama's statement that his small business remarks have been taken out of context as dishonest, presenting Fox's deceptively truncated version of the president's remarks as the full version of his comments.
During the segment, Rove said the goal of the ad was "to mock the president for saying you took my words out of context." He then repeated the false Fox narrative of Obama's comments, claiming that the president "stood up there, in front of a crowd in Roanoke, and diminished the success of small business people by saying, 'if you build a business - you know, somebody else did that.' "
Of course, Obama said no such thing. In Bloomberg's review of the Crossroads ad, the report noted: "The problem, of course, is that Obama's words have been spliced and diced in this ongoing game." Here's the full context of Obama's comments, with the tiny snippet that is repeated in the Crossroads ad bolded below:
OBAMA: [L]ook, if you've been successful, you didn't get there on your own. You didn't get there on your own. I'm always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something -- there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.
If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business -- you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn't get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.
The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don't do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.
Later on, Sean Hannity also played the Crossroads ad, and incredibly claimed that "there's no slicing, no dicing, full context" in it.
Amid reports of rising poverty, two Fox News contributors claimed that anti-poverty programs have done nothing to alleviate poverty. In fact, federal government programs such as food stamps, Social Security, and other measures created or boosted by the stimulus billhave kept millions out of poverty and lowered the poverty rate.
Fox's senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano teamed up with Neil Cavuto to attack the Obama campaign for suing Ohio Republican officials after the state restricted early voting access for some, calling the suit "frivolous" and saying that it will impact "very few people."
In fact, almost 2 million Ohioans took advantage of early voting during the 2008 presidential election -- and limiting early voting availability disproportionately affects minorities, new citizens, and the poor.
The suit at issue concerns a series of recent Ohio laws that end in-person, early voting in the final three days before Election Day in November for all Ohio citizens, except for military members, their families, and Americans living abroad. Previously, early voting was available to Ohioans on the Saturday, Sunday, and Monday before a national election at the discretion of local election boards. Napolitano asserted that this state-wide closure would affect "very few" voters and that the Democrats' suit shows "a very absurd willingness to file lawsuits in frivolous cases."
In fact, roughly 1.7 million Ohioans, or 30 percent of the state's total voters, voted early in the three days before the 2008 election.
Similarly, the new law subjects citizens living in the same district to different early voting opportunities. Military personnel and their families will continue to enjoy early voting the weekend prior to the election, while their civilian neighbors will not. The change in hours leads to ambiguity for citizens who are accustomed to voting on their particular district's schedule.
Ending early voting prior to the election also disproportionately affects minorities and the poor, those most unlikely to reach a voting booth on Election Day. Project Vote, a nonprofit organization that focuses on voting rights issues, determined that, during the 2008 election, "African American and Hispanic voters cast ballots at a rate exceeding or matching that of white voters." The Brennan Center for Justice found that early voting restrictions most heavily disrupt minorities' vote:
New restrictions on early voting will also have their biggest impact on people of color. Opponents of these restrictions have been particularly angered by the efforts to eliminate Sunday early voting, which they see as explicitly targeting African-American voters. Florida eliminated early voting on the last Sunday before Election Day, and Ohio has eliminated early voting on Sundays entirely. There is substantial statistical and anecdotal evidence that African Americans (and to a lesser extent Hispanics) vote on Sundays in proportionately far greater numbers than whites.
Fox News' reporting on a July Ernst & Young report critical of President Obama's tax policies repeatedly referred to the organization as "non-partisan," even though the study was sponsored by industry groups opposed to Obama's policies - a fact that was not mentioned during Fox's reporting.
The Ernst & Young report, which was highlighted by Republican House Speaker John Boehner, claimed several policies that would result in higher marginal taxes paid by high-income earners would harm the economy. During his Special Report segment on the study, Fox's chief national correspondent Jim Angle touted Ernst & Young as an "independent research organization" and "a non-partisan group."
Later during the program, host Bret Baier followed suit, describing the organization that prepared the report as an "independent research organization" that is "non-partisan."
But what Angle and Baier never told their viewers is that the report was "[p]repared on behalf" of partisan, conservative-leaning industry organizations that have opposed Obama administration policies, including the Independent Community Bankers of America, the National Federation of Independent Business, and the United States Chamber of Commerce.
A look at the history of the study's sponsors shows just how partisan they are.
Fox News' chief national correspondent Jim Angle attacked President Obama's call for a fairer tax code, claiming that the wealthiest Americans shoulder most of the federal tax burden, while the rest pay very little. However, the rich pay a larger portion of federal taxes because their income has ballooned in recent years, increasing the total amount they pay. Additionally virtually all Americans pay some kind of tax.
After President Obama proposed allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire for incomes over $250,000, Fox News dismissed the revenue this would bring as merely "a drop in the bucket." In the past, Fox has repeatedly characterized billions in revenue increases from the wealthy or corporations as being too little to bother with, but claimed that relatively small amounts of funding for public broadcasting and Planned Parenthood were unaffordable.
Today, Rush Limbaugh claimed that a Washington Post story on Bain Capital's investments in firms specializing in outsourcing was debunked by the Post's Fact Checker blog. But the fact-check Limbaugh mentioned was directed at a campaign ad, not the Post's own reporting.
On June 21, The Washington Post exposed Bain Capital's investments in companies "that were pioneers in the practice of shipping work from the United States to overseas call centers and factories making computer components," which went on while Romney "was actively involved in" running the company. The Romney campaign sought a retraction of the story, but after Limbaugh's show ended, it was reported that the Post is standing by its story and will not retract it.
When he was discussing the Romney campaign's efforts to get the story retracted, Limbaugh incorrectly claimed that the story had been fact-checked by the Post's Glenn Kessler, and said the report on Bain Capital was "so inaccurate it's embarrassing":
LIMBAUGH: This is from Dylan Byers at the Politico just now, about 45 minutes ago. Romney campaign representatives will meet with TheWarshington [sic] Post today to seek a formal retraction of its June 21 report that Bain Capital invested in firms that specialized in outsourcing American jobs.
Now, the Post's story -- they've got their own fact checker there, a guy named Glenn Kessler. And he gave his own paper's story four Pinocchios, which is the biggest -- the worst rating it can get for truth. Four Pinocchios -- four giant Pinocchios -- means this story is so inaccurate it's embarrassing. And so Romney is meeting -- his representatives are meeting with the Post today. They want a retraction.
But Limbaugh is wrong: Glenn Kessler did not fact-check the Washington Post's story on Bain Capital. Kessler's fact-checking post focused on a campaign ad that claimed Bain Capital engaged first-hand in the outsourcing of jobs. In contrast, the Post's story, which came out the day after the ad was posted online, reported and verified that Bain Capital invested in companies that facilitated outsourcing. There are no Washington Post Fact Checker stories about the Post's article on Bain Capital.
Attacking a Department of Justice hotline for potential civil rights abuses in Arizona, Rush Limbaugh declared that reporters of such abuses are merely "tattle-tales" or "criminals" who "can now snitch out law enforcement." But the potential civil rights concerns over the law - especially concerns about racial profiling - are very real.
Although the Supreme Court struck down most of SB1070, Arizona's controversial immigration law, it allowed the so-called "show me your papers" provision to go into effect. In an effort to keep tabs on potential racial profiling abuses, the federal government launched a hotline and email address where people can report potential civil rights concerns.
Limbaugh labeled the hotline a "tattle-tale line," created so that "ticked-off, sniveling little liberals" "can call and rat out Arizona law-enforcement officials to Barack Obama." He went on to address Arizona residents:
LIMBAUGH: When your police and your sheriff departments try to do their jobs, left-wing lawyers stand ready to bury your bogus law suits, at the request and the behest of Barack Obama. This hotline, this email address, is criminalizing the enforcement of the law.
What this is all about is the presumption that law enforcement does nothing but profile. And they're gonna profile. And who gets to decide whether it's profiling or not? A former ACLU lawyer, former La Raza lawyer at the Department of Justice?
Criminals can now snitch out law enforcement, folks. Barack Obama has sided with people who are on the other side of the law.
In reality, racial profiling concerns over Arizona's immigration law are legitimate.