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.
From the June 23 edition of Fox News' America's News Headquarters:
Loading the player reg...
Rush Limbaugh, who has been busy complaining about the Department of Homeland Security's new immigration policy for young undocumented immigrants, today tried to support his views by claiming that Americans "are diametrically opposed" to a plan that would provide undocumented immigrants with an opportunity to legalize their status. Limbaugh stated:
LIMBAUGH: The people of this country are diametrically opposed to amnesty. They don't want any part of it. Obama announced it, and I said, it's not going to help him. Everybody thinks it's gonna -- what he's doing, folks, he has given up on mainstream America. His bet is that his electoral chances are better coalescing all these disparate, extreme fringe groups into one voting block, and he thinks that bunch will outnumber mainstream America. That's what he's counting on.
In reality, not only do a majority of Americans support the new immigration policy, they also favor allowing undocumented immigrants who meet certain conditions to stay here legally.
A December 2011 National Journal poll found that "a substantial majority of Americans say they would prefer to allow some or all illegal immigrants to remain in the United States":
When asked what should be done with the roughly 11 million illegal immigrants in the country, just 25 percent of those polled said that they should all be deported "no matter how long they have been in the U.S."
Twenty-eight percent of those surveyed said that ill illegal immigrants should be allowed "to stay, provided they have broken no other laws and commit to learning English and U.S. history." The largest group, at 39 percent, said that the United States should "deport some, but allow those who have been here for many years and have broken no other laws to stay here legally."
Right-wing media are reacting to the Obama administration's decision to allow some young undocumented immigrants to stay and work in America by suggesting immigration takes jobs away from American workers. In fact, economists agree that more immigration does not take away jobs from Americans and is a net plus for the economy.
Geraldo Rivera called himself "the conscience of Fox and the rest of the cable news world" when asked Tuesday about his objections to the use of the terms "illegals" and "aliens" in reference to undocumented immigrants.
He also added that he has made his opposition to such phrases "very, very clear" to Fox employees "from top to bottom," but stopped short of any further direct criticism of the network.
"If I'm going to be the conscience of Fox and the rest of the cable news world, then it is a role that I enthusiastically embrace," he told Media Matters during an appearance at a WABC Radio job fair in New York City.
His comments came in response to a question about a May 4 online column Rivera wrote for Fox News Latino, in which he denounced the use of certain terms to describe immigrants, especially "aliens" and "illegals."
In the column, Rivera took news outlets, including Fox, to task for using such terms, writing:
Like the words 'Jew' or 'slob' or 'slut', the phrase 'illegal alien' has the elegance of being harsh, but defensible, if accurate. Although it can be used as a cutting reference, it can still be uttered in polite company without fear of raising many eyebrows, especially among those who feel similarly negative about the individual being described.
Asked Tuesday if he had raised the issue with Fox executives, Rivera said, "I've talked to all my colleagues, everyone knows my feelings, from top to bottom. I think the combination of those two pejoratives, 'illegal' and 'aliens,' is really a way to demean people, to separate people. I've made my feelings very, very clear to my colleagues at Fox."
Rivera's complaints have as yet fallen on deaf ears. The "illegals" slur is regularly used on Fox's "straight news" and opinion programming and websites. The week before Rivera published his column, his Fox colleagues Bill O'Reilly, Tucker Carlson, and Mike Huckabee all defended such rhetoric in separate segments criticizing what O'Reilly termed the "crazy" opposition to the term by the "far left."
In fact, the same day Rivera published his column, The O'Reilly Factor guest host Laura Ingraham re-aired the segment in which O'Reilly was "taking on that far left campaign that wants to ban the word "illegal" when it comes to -- I'm saying it, wait - illegal aliens." Earlier in that same broadcast, Ingraham hosted Rivera to discuss a woman who brought her child into a tanning salon with her and a lethal hazing case at a Florida college.
Rivera credited Fox for letting him make his views clear on the air, even if the network would not ban the use of such phrases.
"And the great thing though, in fairness to Fox, they let me say and they let me publish that and, you know, I say it on the air as well."
This Wednesday the U.S. Supreme Court will decide if portions of Arizona's controversial immigration enforcement law, Senate Bill 1070, are inconsistent with federal law and therefore must be struck down. Fox has taken this opportunity to push misleading talking points about Arizona's immigration enforcement law and to continue to fearmonger about crime in Arizona.
From the December 19 edition of Fox News' The Five:
Loading the player reg...
Fox News' Fox & Friends made considerable contributions to the field of conservative of misinformation throughout 2011. The efforts of co-hosts Steve Doocy, Gretchen Carlson, and Brian Kilmeade -- as well as their rotating cast of fill-in hosts and Curvy Couch guests -- have made Fox & Friends the top misinformer on Fox News in 2011.
On the December 12 edition of Comedy Central's The Colbert Report, host Stephen Colbert took a swipe at anti-immigrants who have criticized the American Heritage Dictionary for revising its "anchor baby" entry to reflect the disparaging and offensive nature of that phrase. He went on to mock Bob Dane, a spokesman from designated hate group the Federation for American Immigration Reform, who wrote in a recent FoxNews.com op-ed that the "offensive aspect of 'anchor baby' isn't the term itself, but the practice of having children on U.S. soil for the sheer purpose of gaming the system."
Colbert also exposed the sheer absurdity of the "anchor baby" myth, saying:
COLBERT: Now that anchor baby has been declared offensive, I hold little hope for my submission, "grappling baby": noun, the all too common occurrence of a pregnant woman in Mexico aiming her birth canal at America to launch her baby over the border so then she can climb in using the umbilical cord.
The offensive and disparaging slur "anchor baby" -- a myth anti-immigrant groups are forever warning about -- has never been used as a neutral term. It's a politically charged, derogatory slur favored by those who would delegitimize children born in the United States to non-citizen parents. So when the American Heritage Dictionary released its fifth edition with no indication of the term's true meaning, the editors were harshly criticized for treating the term "as some sort of universal description of children who acquire citizenship at birth."
A few days later, the dictionary's editors admitted their mistake and revised the term's definition to warn of its vulgarity. Discussing the fact that the term is not only offensive but misleading as well, Steve Kleinedler, executive editor of the American Heritage Dictionary, said:
This is something that was reiterated by Immigration Impact and this is where certain wording really helps to show that something hinges upon a belief system. Personally, this was not a reaction that we have to fix it because people are angry. We fixed it because we were wrong. And I, as the executive editor, acknowledge the fact that this was an error and I take responsibility for that. And that is also why I am quick to fix it because I believe it needs to be fixed and I stand behind that.
Now Fox News, which has used "anchor baby" as a legitimate term in the past, seems to be helping anti-immigrant groups wage a behind-the-scenes war on the American Heritage Dictionary.
Following the dictionary's revision, FoxNews.com gave a platform to Bob Dane, a spokesman from designated hate group the Federation for American Immigration Reform, to rail against the change. In a December 9 op-ed, Dane accused Heritage of "capitulat[ing] to a small, but vocal, special interest group that is trying to manipulate the political, legal, cultural and linguistic landscape on behalf of illegal aliens."
Dane further wrote: "The offensive aspect of 'anchor baby' isn't the term itself, but the practice of having children on U.S. soil for the sheer purpose of gaming the system." He then went on to argue that "it's ok to" use the equally offensive term "illegal alien" -- in fact, the Associated Press has instructed journalists not to use it.
Over the last six months, Fox News has repeatedly hyped Arizona's efforts to raise private funds to build a fence along the state's border with Mexico. However, such a fence would cost millions of dollars per mile and its effectiveness at increasing border security is unproven.
Thomas Sowell, a conservative economist and syndicated columnist from the Hoover Institution, is outraged. Actually, that's an understatement. Sowell is seething, judging from his latest column lashing out at Newt Gingrich and the Republican presidential candidate's comments stressing a "humane" immigration policy. But in a diatribe laden with falsehoods that mimics the tone most often employed by scores of anti-immigrant nativists, Sowell relies on agitprop from that same lobby to broadcast a flawed economic argument against immigration.
Sowell begins by taking a swipe at Gingrich, slapping down his characterization of a "humane" immigration policy. He then reminds Americans that the supposed "purpose" of "American immigration laws and policies is not to be either humane or inhumane to illegal immigrants." It is "to serve the national interest of this country."
There is no inherent right to come live in the United States, in disregard of whether the American people want you here. Nor does the passage of time confer any such right retroactively.
The more doctrinaire libertarians see the benefits of free international trade in goods, and extend the same reasoning to free international movement of people. But goods do not bring a culture with them. Nor do they give birth to other goods to perpetuate that culture.
Why do people want to come to America in the first place? Because America offers them something that their native countries do not. This country has a culture which has produced a higher standard of living and a freer life than in many other countries.
When you import people, you import cultures, including cultures that have been far less successful in providing decent lives and decent livelihoods. The American people have a right to decide for themselves whether they want unlimited imports of cultures from other countries.
At one time, immigrants came to America to become Americans. Today, the apostles of multiculturalism and grievance-mongering have done their best to keep foreigners foreign and, if possible, feeling aggrieved. Our own schools and colleges teach grievances.
As an economist, it's surprising that Sowell would invoke the argument that immigrants hurt the economy, seeing that study after study continues to prove that immigrants' economic impact is overwhelmingly positive.
From the November 18 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
Loading the player reg...
Betsy McCaughey has a long history of misinforming on health care. In 2009, she received Media Matters' 2009 "Health Care Misinformer of the Year" award for relentlessly attacking health care reform, spreading falsehoods and distortions through opinion pieces and television appearances at nearly every stage of the debate. She has rarely appeared on television, written an opinion piece, or given a speech that doesn't contain at least one falsehood associated with health care. In her appearance Monday on Neil Cavuto's Fox News show, McCaughey lengthened that streak.
Aside from her bogus claim that health care reform will have the effect of killing jobs, McCaughey asserted that community health centers "largely" cater to unauthorized immigrants. In her rush to tar the health care reform law as a "spread-the-wealth and buy-the-folks program," she stated of the Obama administration: "They're spending some $11 billion on community organizations that serve illegal immigrants, largely. So this is a spread-the-wealth and buy-the-folks program."
But unless McCaughey has some insider information to which even community health clinics aren't privy, her claim stretches the boundary of fact.
In a November 7 editorial titled "Occupy America: Obama immigration policy erodes U.S. national identity," The Washington Times wrote that "President Obama is 'fundamentally transforming' the nation with a plan to flood the United States with individuals whose hearts belong to other lands" and that "Mr. Obama's leadership is a throwback to 19th century Marxism." From the Times:
This isn't your father's America. As promised, President Obama is "fundamentally transforming" the nation with a plan to flood the United States with individuals whose hearts belong to other lands. The message to illegal immigrants is if you can get in and keep out of further trouble, you're welcome to stay. The Land of the Free has become the land of the home-free.
The United States is the most ethnically and culturally integrated society the world has ever known. One of this country's strengths has always been its heritage as a "melting pot" that welcomes those who want to come to the country, learn its language and partake of the American Dream. In a crass political move, leftists are looking to reward those who ignore the laws with an eventual amnesty designed to swell the Democratic voting ranks. This comes at a great cost to society.
Far from progressive, Mr. Obama's leadership is a throwback to 19th century Marxism, characterized by the politics of resentment that pits groups against each other - in this case, illegal occupiers against legal Americans. By challenging states attempting to observe immigration laws, the Obama administration hastens the fundamental change that is unmooring the nation from its founding principles. That's not the change voters wanted when they sent Barack to the White House.