From the July 23 edition of MSNBC's All In:
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A new Media Matters report on the "single issue syndrome" found that Spanish-language Sunday shows continue to devote considerable attention to immigration at the apparent expense of issues equally important to the Latino community. In addition, although Latinos make up more than 17 percent of the U.S. population, only 4 percent of guests on English-language Sunday shows between January 4 and May 3, 2015 were Hispanic - a drop of 42 percent from their 2014 appearances over a similar time period.
Conservative media appear to be drafting Donald Trump's talking points.
It's been one month since the real estate mogul officially entered the Republican primary, after years of using regular Fox News appearances to promote previously-elusive presidential ambitions and push absurd conspiracies. In that time, Trump has already managed to prominently trumpet at least four right-wing media myths to explain his positions on the economy, immigration, gun safety, and the presidency, launching the long-debunked claims back into the spotlight.
Trump exaggerated the nation's unemployment rate by nearly 800 percent during a Fox News appearance on July 15, telling Sean Hannity that unemployed, impoverished Americans are "very important," and declaring: "Somebody actually last week said we have a 40 percentunemployment, so I've been saying 19 - 21 percent, but somebody actually came out last week and said we have a 40 percent, and they might very well be right."
Just a couple weeks ago, Rush Limbaugh repeatedly claimed that "the actual unemployment rate in the United States of America is not 5.5 percent ... It is 42.9 percent," citing a blog written by former Reagan official David Stockman.
According to the Bureau Of Labor Statistics, notably, June's unemployment rate stood at 5.3 percent.
Last week, Trump tripled the U.S.' undocumented immigrant population during a July 8 interview on CNN's The Lead, claiming, "We have 34 million [undocumented immigrants] in the country. I used to hear 11, now I hear it's 34 million." The real number of undocumented immigrants is nearly 20 million less -- experts confirm that the number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. actually hovers around 11 million, according to a Washington Post analysis that compared Census, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and Pew Research Center data.
Trump appears to have relied on a year-old, long-debunked report from conservative website Breitbart.com. In 2014, Breitbart.com misrepresented a contracting bid the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for card stock to print a maximum of 34 million green cards and work authorization cards over a five year period, spinning the listing to claim the Obama administration was preparing a massive "executive amnesty." Neither of these cards are specific to undocumented immigrants. And as The Hill explained at the time, not only is such a contracting bid "typical," these cards are for use by immigrants who have been legally granted permanent residency and "a single recipient could receive up to five work permits over the life of the contract." Because this is not, in fact, an estimate of the undocumented population, both the White House and USCIS called suggestions that it was a "precursor" to the president's executive action on immigration "crazy" and "too clever."
Discussing his views on gun safety regulations in a July 7 interview with Ammoland.com, Trump revived conservative media's false claim that former President Bill Clinton banned guns on military bases. He asserted that "President Clinton never should have passed a ban on soldiers being able to protect themselves on bases."
Trump's misinformation originated from conservative media's attempt to blame Clinton for the 2013 mass shooting at Washington D.C.'s Navy Yard facility, seizing on a March 1993 Army regulation they claimed banned the carrying of guns on military bases. In fact, the 1993 regulation came from a 1992 directive issued under former President George H.W. Bush -- which actually allows guns to be carried on military bases under a substantial number of circumstances. Military experts have said more permissive gun carrying rules are a bad idea.
Trump is even still pushing perhaps the most infamous conservative media myth of the Obama presidency -- birtherism. "I really don't know" where President Obama was born, Trump declared in a July 9 interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper, an accusation that follows years of the candidate teaming up with Fox News to push the absurd conspiracy theories that Obama had not released a valid birth certificate and may have been hiding the fact that he was not born in America.
The pervasiveness of right-wing media talking points in Trump's positions is not surprising given that he's been a Fox News fixture for years. He reportedly met with Fox president Roger Ailes before announcing his presidential candidacy, and since then, the network has only increased his exposure. In Media Matters' most recent study of appearances by likely and declared Republican presidential candidates on the network, Trump topped the entire field in airtime. During the month of June, Trump appeared on Fox 10 times, racking up 1 hour and 48 minutes of airtime, 23 minutes more than his nearest competitor, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Since the beginning of May, Trump has the most airtime of any of the candidates.
From the July 9 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
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A debunked right-wing media talking point appears to have made its way to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who recently repeated the dubious claim that as many as 34 million undocumented immigrants live in the United States. In fact, the real number is likely more than 20 million less -- the 34 million figure seems to originate from right-wing media misrepresenting a federal contracting bid.
From the July 8 edition of CNN's The Lead with Jake Tapper:
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From the July 8 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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From the July 2 edition of Fox News' The Five:
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While chronicling the Latino outreach efforts of their former columnist and current GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson, The Washington Times chose to leave out what Carson said about immigration in a speech at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) conference, the largest gathering of its kind.
In its overwhelmingly positive profile of Carson, the Times highlighted the candidate's hope that being the only Republican to speak at NALEO's annual conference would win him Hispanic votes, and underscored his support for a flat tax and repeal of Obamacare.
But the piece left out Carson's actual remarks at the conference, which revealed his desire to "seal the borders" to prevent "somebody from Syria who wants to bomb us" from entering the country. From the 32nd Annual NALEO conference:
[T]he reason that I think that we need to seal our borders, completely, all of our borders -- north, south, east and west -- is not so much because I'm afraid of somebody from Honduras. I'm afraid of somebody from Syria who wants to bomb us, who wants to do bad things. So that's the main reason that we need to seal all of our borders. But in the meantime, we do have an illegal immigration problem that would be solved if you sealed the borders and you ceased the benefits so that people wouldn't see a reason to come here. But what about the 11 million people who are still here, what do you do with them? Well, many of them have never known any other country, so where are you going to send them? So I don't think that that's necessarily a good idea but what we should do, I believe, is provide them a way that they don't have to hide in the shadows, give them an opportunity to become guest workers, they have to register, they have to enroll in a back tax program. And if they want to become citizens, they have to get in the line with everybody else and do what's necessary because we have to pay homage to the people who have done it the right way and not slap them in the face and say we don't care about you. That's not fair either, so we have to do things that are fair to everyone, and if we use that general philosophy, recognizing that the people who came here across the border, they weren't coming here to be Democrats or Republicans they came here to try to improve their quality of life. And we need to understand that, and our policies need to understand that.
The Washington Times has a history of championing Carson; they continued to publish his columns and promote his image in its sister publications even after he made it clear he planned to run for president, while paying him large sums of money for his contributions.
Only one Republican presidential candidate reportedly made an appearance at the 32nd annual National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) convention, despite Republican National Committee and several GOP presidential hopefuls committing to reach out to Hispanic Americans. The snub comes after years of right-wing media's demonizing Hispanics and urging the GOP to take extreme positions on immigration.
The Washington Post reported on June 17 that of the more than one dozen announced and likely 2016 Republican presidential candidates, "only one -- retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson -- showed" up to the convention of elected federal, state, and local Latino leaders.
According the Post, many of the campaigns blamed "scheduling conflicts" for their absence, while "at least 13 GOP candidates plan to be in Washington this week to address the Faith and Freedom Coalition's 'Road to the Majority' conference, the latest in a busy series of presidential cattle-call events for social conservatives." The article continued:
"All I can say is that schedules reflect priorities," said Arturo Vargas, NALEO's executive director. "Of course they should be here."
Made up of federal, state and local elected officials, including mayors, law enforcement officers and school board members, NALEO is nonpartisan, although many of its members are Democrats. Prominent Republicans have addressed the conference in past years, including Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and the last two GOP presidential nominees, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and Sen. John McCain (Ariz.).
GOP leaders have urged the need to engage the Latino community for years, arguing that Latinos will be key to winning the presidency in 2016. After Mitt Romney lost the 2012 election to President Obama, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) told The New Yorker that "if Republicans do not do better in the Hispanic community ... in a few short years Republicans will no longer be the majority party in our state." Cruz also asserted that "the Republican Party would cease to exist" if it did not do more to reach out to Hispanics.
In 2013, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus stressed that the party must reach out to minority voters. And in March of this year, presidential candidate Jeb Bush told a gathering of Tennessee Republicans that "the next Republican president that will win will reach out to the Latino community."
Similarly, in April, GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio told NPR that reaching out to "people from minority communities," like Latinos, is imperative for the Republican party because "if you think someone doesn't care or understand people like you, no matter what your policies are, it's going to be difficult to get them to listen to you, much less vote for you."
And in May, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), another Republican presidential candidate, appeared on Fox to push the importance of minority outreach, saying that he is "willing to show up" for minority communities.
Fox News contributor and radio host Laura Ingraham has repeatedly attacked Republicans for supporting immigration reform by threatening to blame them for terrorist attacks and suggesting such support could be "the end of the road" for their political careers. Rush Limbaugh explicitly urged the GOP to ignore the Hispanic vote while mocking candidates who do reach out to the Latino community. Limbaugh's idea of connecting with Latino voters includes playing "Feliz Navidad" on the radio, while Fox host Andrea Tantaros mocked Hillary Clinton's dinner at Chipotle as her attempts as "Hispanic outreach."
In 2013, The Week's Joe Gandelman outlined right-wing media's deep influence on the GOP, explaining that "[t]o truly rebrand, the GOP must extricate itself from a talk radio political culture that glorifies and rewards confrontation, brinksmanship, snarkiness, over-the-top verbal demonization and division -- and considers consensus oh, so 20th century, and compromise as something akin to treason." Gandelman continued:
The goals of the conservative media and conservative politicians don't always mesh. And herein lies the GOP's problem.
Limbaugh rapidly became less funny and more partisan. He impacted elections and created the model for partisan talk radio. When Fox News debuted in 1996, it grafted talk radio onto news. Talk radio is today as important in keeping the 21st century's divisive incarnation of conservatism intact as Republicans redistricting in many states is in ensuring a Republican House and convincing House GOPers to reject compromise if they want to avoid right-wing primary challenges.
So what can we expect? Some slight tempering of official rhetoric, maybe. But nothing more.
Conservative commentator Ann Coulter recently credited hate website VDARE.com editor Peter Brimelow with inspiring the attacks on progressive immigration policy within her new book, 'Adios, America.' In fact, many of the ideas presented in the book appear to be closely modeled after ideas presented by white nationalist and anti-immigrant extremist movements in America.
From the June 14 edition of ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos:
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Conservative author Ann Coulter credited a 1992 National Review article for her attacks on progressive immigration policy, which have culminated in her latest book, Adios, America. The author of that article, Peter Brimelow, has been labeled a white nationalist by the Southern Poverty Law Center and is the editor of the anti-immigrant website VDARE.com.
From the June 2 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
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José Díaz-Balart, the host of Telemundo's Sunday interview show Enfoque, challenged an assertion by the Libre Initiative's Daniel Garza that presidential lack of leadership is to blame for inaction on immigration, reminding Garza and viewers that Republicans control the entire Congress.
Even though other spokespersons for the Libre Initiative -- which receives funding from the conservative Koch brothers -- have previously acknowledged Republican responsibility for the lack of action on comprehensive immigration reform, on the May 31 broadcast of Enfoque, Garza chose to assign blame to "a lack of leadership" persuasive enough to bring together "a group of people that already agree on certain things." He added that Hillary Clinton's position on immigration -- which he called "extreme" -- showed her "inability to be a leader." Díaz-Balart interrupted Garza to say that the other side also needs to work, but "many only talk," referring to the fact that Republicans hold a majority in both the Senate and House of Representatives.
Translated from the May 31 edition of Telemundo's Enfoque,
DÍAZ-BALART: Now, Dan... If there was the political will in the House of Representatives - again, right now both the House and the Senate are controlled by Republicans - if there was political will, political leadership in both chambers, now we could at least have a conversation, a first step towards immigration reform so that families can stay together, and that isn't happening.
GARZA: No, no, that's why it's necessary to propose that a debate starts and that a new effort starts to try to accomplish reform...
DÍAZ-BALART: (interrupts) ... but the same political party controls both chambers!
GARZA: What's happening is that they can make all the promises they want Jose -- what really matters here is keeping those promises. Hillary Clinton has taken a position that is even more extreme than Democrats. She wants to advance reform, but on her own terms. What happens is this: Hillary, you can promise whatever you want but if you don't move to the center to reconcile differences, there's never going to be anything [reform-wise]. I think that that inability to be a leader, of persuading people, of consolidating a group of people that already agree on certain things in terms of a reform, that's what needs to be advanced. Therefore what the president has to do is not to impose his own law, his own whim, but work with the opposition to reach an agreement.
DÍAZ-BALART: But the other side also needs to work, and stop talking and not working. The big problem happening in this country is that many only talk and not work.
Garza also minimized Obama's executive action on immigration, referring to it as a "whim" and ignoring the fact that a poll by Latino Decisions showed that 89 percent of Latinos support the president's action, which could potentially benefit millions of undocumented immigrants by granting them temporary immunity from deportation.