Fox News' John Gibson cited a misleading poll question that asked respondents "how they felt when they saw" the May 1 nationwide "A Day Without Immigrants" demonstrations against proposed laws that would criminalize illegal immigrants. Gibson claimed that the poll found that "[a]bout two-thirds made them think we need better security at our borders. Only 21 percent thought we should make illegals U.S. citizens." But the question falsely suggests that enhancing border security and granting legal status to undocumented workers are mutually exclusive. Polls have consistently shown that a majority of Americans favored legalizing undocumented immigrants, a view that one poll reported was unaffected by the demonstrations.
Bill O'Reilly claimed that Mexican President Vicente Fox has "got his troops on the northern border helping the drug traffickers bring the loads across." Although Mexican officials announced that drug smugglers were using military uniforms and vehicles when they crossed the border into the United States on January 23, the FBI found no evidence that the men were connected to the Mexican military. Later in the program, O'Reilly claimed that Jalisco is "on the border." In fact, Jalisco is a state in central Mexico, and it is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean.
In a May 5 article, Associated Press staff writer Jon Sarche reported that the "immigration debate has split both parties." In fact, while congressional Democrats do disagree on some minor issues, they largely favor policies that would better secure U.S. borders and provide opportunities for illegal immigrants to earn citizenship.
Bill O'Reilly echoed the misleading claim, made frequently by congressional Republicans and conservative media figures, that Democrats are to blame for a provision in the immigration bill passed by the House of Representatives in December 2005 that would make it a felony for immigrants to be in the United States illegally.
Chris Matthews failed to challenge Rep. Tom Tancredo's (R-CO) false assertion that an immigration bill co-sponsored by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) does not contain provisions to improve border security or impose tougher sanctions on employers who hire illegal immigrants.
A New York Times article on the effect of recent immigration rights protests cited a poll taken before the first of these rallies had occurred. This survey found that only 40 percent of respondents believed that illegal immigrants "should be granted some kind of legal status that allows them to stay here," while 53 percent said they should be "required to go home." But more recent polling -- conducted in the wake of large-scale demonstrations that began in March and amid Senate deliberations over immigration reform -- has found a far larger number of Americans in favor of so-called "comprehensive" reform.
In a May 2 article, New York Times reporter Monica Davey uncritically reported anti-immigration advocates' claim that their "voices were actually more representative of the views of Americans as a whole." In fact, polling data show that a majority of Americans do not share the views expressed by these advocates.
Bill O'Reilly said that the "organizers" of the May 1 nationwide immigrant protests have a "hardcore militant agenda of 'You stole our land, you bad gringos.' "
On MSNBC's Scarborough Country, Pat Buchanan said that a Spanish-language version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" is "a provocation and an insult" but that, ultimately, it is "a good thing in this sense: The American people are awakening to the character of these people."
On Fox News' The Big Story, host John Gibson allowed Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) to suggest that Democrats are to blame for the provision in the House immigration bill that would make it a felony for immigrants to be in the United States illegally. Later in the program, Gibson further suggested that Democrats favored the felony provision.
Keith Olbermann declared nationally syndicated radio host Laura Ingraham the "Worst Person in the World" for her assertion that the mainstream media -- which she said "tilt to the left" -- support granting illegal immigrants citizenship because they are "new viewers, new listeners, new customers to the more liberal viewpoint."
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On The O'Reilly Factor, nationally syndicated radio host Laura Ingraham claimed the "supposed mainstream media" are "making the same bet that [Sen.] Ted Kennedy [D-MA] is making" by supporting a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. Ingraham maintained that just as Kennedy supports granting a path to citizenship because it will "redound to the Democrats' benefit," presumably through votes, the media -- which she claimed "tilts to the left" -- support citizenship because it will bring "new viewers, new listeners, new customers to the more liberal viewpoint" to which the media purportedly cater.
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In an April 28 article, the Associated Press identified right-wing website VDARE.com only as an "immigration-focused Web magazine," even though the site publishes the work of "white nationalists," according to its editor. The AP also failed to note that VDARE writer Bryanna Bevens, whom the article quoted, has made disparaging remarks about Hispanics, in which she advocated the creation of "National Hispanic Crime Prevention Month," and warned of "Mexico's conquest of the United States."
Fox News host Neil Cavuto asked whether the May 1 "Day Without Immigrants" protests were "freedom of expression or economic terrorism."
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Fox News' John Gibson claimed that "[t]here is pretty substantial ... opposition to amnesty among the general public, if you look at the polls." In fact, most recent national polls show that most Americans support Gibson's definition of "amnesty" -- a temporary worker program and a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.