Immigration protesters can't win with Fox's Asman and Cavuto: Waving Mexican flag shows "antagonistic edge," waving U.S. flag "just a cover" and "a ploy to win America's support"April 12, 2006 9:51 AM EDT ››› JOE BROWN
Substituting for host Neil Cavuto on the April 10 edition of Fox News' Your World, Forbes on Fox host David Asman suggested that the use of U.S. flags and signs written in English at recent pro-immigration demonstrations in Washington, D.C., and other U.S. cities was "just a cover" by the demonstrators to conceal their "real intention, which is to keep things as normal among illegal immigrants in the country." Previously, Asman had cited demonstrators' use of Mexican flags as evidence of "an antagonistic edge" that hurts their public appeal. Similarly, on the April 11 edition of Your World, Cavuto suggested that the demonstrators' U.S. flags were "just a prop" or "a ploy to win America's support," adding that "it's as if a PR consultant said, 'Guys, lose the Mexican flags. Let's use the American flag.' "
On the March 31 edition of Your World, discussing the demonstrations with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA), Asman had noted that "[a]t first, we began to see reaction to last weekend's demo[nstration]s, where they all waved Mexican flags. You saw more American flags. Now, we are getting back to the all-Mexican-flag thing. There seems to be an antagonistic edge to these protestors that is just making matters worse." Media Matters for America previously noted numerous examples of media figures criticizing the waving of Mexican flags at pro-immigration demonstrations.
But, on the April 10 edition of the show, during a discussion with Gabriela Lemus -- director of policy and legislation for the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) -- Asman questioned the sincerity of demonstrators waving U.S. flags. Noting the presence of U.S. flags and English-language posters at the April 10 demonstrations in Washington, D.C., he stated: "It appears that the people protesting kind of got the message that Mexican flags don't go on too well here on television." He then added that Americans watching the protests "listen to the Spanish" being spoken by demonstrators and think that the use of U.S. flags and English-language signs are "just a cover, maybe they [demonstrators] are just trying to cover up the real intention, which is to keep things as normal among illegal immigrants in the country."
Later, Asman also left unchallenged movie director Ronald F. Maxwell's assertion that Mexican immigrants might be plotting the "future annexation" of the Southwestern United States by Mexico. Maxwell claimed that Mexican immigration into the United States is "an invasion" that would cause the Southwest to "fall away" and that "[a]t some point, ethnically, demographically, those people [Mexican immigrants] will say, 'This belongs to Mexico. We're the northern province of Mexico.' " But rather than challenging Maxwell, Asman merely offered him an opportunity to reiterate his views, asking if "we're going to lose states, as a result of" Mexican immigration and "they['re] going to secede from the Union, these states in the Southwest." Media Matters has previously noted others making similar claims, including right-wing pundit Michelle Malkin, The Washington Times, and Fox News host John Gibson .
On the April 11 edition of Your World, Cavuto also questioned the sincerity of demonstrators waving the U.S. flag. During a discussion with Telemundo anchor José Díaz-Balart, Cavuto asked if "all those American flags at yesterday's rally" were "just a prop" and a "ploy to win America's support." Cavuto asserted that "organizers were telling people to bring the Stars and Stripes" to the April 10 demonstrations and to "leave the Mexican flags at home, after those widely-criticized protests last week." When Díaz-Balart stated that the U.S. flags were the demonstrators' "way of saying, 'This is the country I wish I could belong to,' " Cavuto responded: "Where were those flags last week?" He later added: "This week, it's as if a PR consultant said, 'Guys, lose the Mexican flags. Let's use the American flag.' "
Throughout the segment, an onscreen graphic read: "Were American Flags at Rallies Just a 'Prop?' "
From the March 31 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:
ASMAN: Now, we -- we do -- we're just looking at pictures of San Diego. There is a demonstration going on right now.
At first, we began to see reaction to last weekend's demos, where they all waved Mexican flags. You saw more American flags. Now, we're getting back to the all-Mexican-flag thing. There seems to be an antagonistic edge to these protestors that is just making matters worse. Do you see it that way?
GINGRICH: Look, here's what I'd like to ask people who are waving the flag of any foreign country. If -- if you are so angry that you may not be in the U.S., why are you waving the flag of a foreign country?
If your home country is so bad with corruption -- the police chief of Nuevo Laredo, right across from Texas, just resigned out of fear on his life. His -- his predecessor was killed within six hours of being sworn in.
Half the police force was fired for corruption. If you are so -- you know -- if you love -- if you want to come to America to become an American, let's talk. But if you actually want to wave a flag of a foreign country, you have every right to go back to that country and wave the flag. But why are you in the U.S., waving the flag of a foreign country?
From the April 10 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:
ASMAN: I hear the rally behind you. Are they speaking in English or Spanish? I'm curious.
LEMUS: Both. Both languages. In fact, they're also chanting in English. In fact, they're speaking in English right now.
ASMAN: Now, we see -- we're looking at American flags. We're looking at a lot of posters that are all printed in English. It appears that the people protesting kind of got the message that Mexican flags don't go on too well here on television.
LEMUS: Well, I think it's really important to respect the symbols of this nation, especially if we're asking for citizenship. So, I'm very clear that that's what's happening here.
ASMAN: But, of course, you know, people in the States listen to the protests and listen to the Spanish going on behind you and think that's -- maybe this is just a cover, maybe they're just trying to cover up the real intention, which is to keep things as normal among illegal immigrants in the country.
LEMUS: I don't think there's anything anybody wants to keep normal. We want change. The immigration system is horribly broken, and I think both sides, whether the extreme right or the extreme left, would agree on that.
MAXWELL: It's been the fastest migration in the history of the world. Twenty-five illegal people (sic) -- remember the ones who are already amnestied -- 25 illegal people -- 25 million since 1990. You can't find this in the history of the planet. The result is the Southwest will fall away. At some point, ethnically, demographically, those people will say, "This belongs to Mexico. We're the northern province of Mexico." They're already saying it.
ASMAN: You think we're going -- you think we're going to lose states as a result of this?
MAXWELL. I think that 20, 30 years from now, we will be looking back at this period. This will be the watershed. And we have to decide now -- this -- I don't -- this is not immigration. This is an invasion. This is a future annexation, a satellite state north of the Rio Grande. We have to decide --
ASMAN: But Ron, let me just ask you, are they going to secede from the Union, these states in the Southwest?
MAXWELL: Well, the mere fact that we're talking about this, why should we have this as a possibility? Why are we creating the conditions where 15 and 20 years from now, who knows what'll happen? Do we want a separatist movement like what's going on in Canada with Quebec or a separatist movement like the Basques?
ASMAN: Ron, I've got to ask you -- I've got to ask you -- we only have about 20 seconds. What do your Hollywood friends think about your views?
MAXWELL: Well, I'm sure most of them disagree with me. I'm not at all surprised. But I think that the Hollywood people, my friends are also tolerant, and they understand that we need to seriously talk about these issues. We need to -- we, the American people, should be asked what we think about the future of our country. Not just people who are not citizens.
From the April 11 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:
CAVUTO: Were all those American flags at yesterday's rally just a prop? Word is that organizers were telling people to bring the Stars and Stripes, and then leave the Mexican flags at home, after those widely criticized protests last week. So, was all the waving of the red, white, and blue yesterday just a ploy to win America's support? Or was it a sincere display of their love for this country? Let us ask José Díaz-Balart, an anchor at Telemundo. José, good to have you.
DÍAZ-BALART: Neil, thank you. I think that the love that they have, that you've been seeing in the last 24, 48 hours in these protests is a love of the opportunity of living in a country where they don't have to fear being deported. Now, these people have been working here, many of them, for 10, 15 years under the radar screen, always fearing deportation, and these flags are, I think, a way of saying, "This is the country I wish I could belong to, really." Because a lot of people who are here working and who put a lot of sweat equity into this economy don't feel they are part of this country because they fear --
CAVUTO: José, fine, but answer my question. Where were those flags last week?
DÍAZ-BALART: Well, they were home. They were home.
CAVUTO: No, no, no. José, there were a lot of protests last week, too, but the vast majority of the flags I saw were Mexican flags. This week, it's as if a PR consultant said, "Guys, lose the Mexican flags. Let's use the American flag." Now, maybe I'm being cynical, but it did stand out to me.