Yesterday, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia provided fresh evidence that he and Fox News are employing the same set of dubious right-wing talking points.
In his dissent arguing in favor of Arizona's anti-immigration statute, Scalia attacked the Obama administration's decision to allow certain young immigrants to remain in the country. Scalia accused the Obama administration of not wanting to "enforce the immigration laws as written" and leaving "the States borders unprotected against immigrants" who are here without authorization. Scalia also claimed that Arizonans "feel themselves under siege" by undocumented immigrants who place Arizonans "life in jeopardy."
Scalia's language mirrors the false claims used by Fox News to attack the Obama administration's immigration record. For instance, Fox Business host Lou Dobbs claimed that "this administration has chosen unilaterally not to enforce" immigration laws. Fox News regular guest Jay Sekulow said that Arizona is "under siege," and Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr. asserted that there was a "crime wave" in Arizona.
The Scalia-Fox attacks are not borne out by the facts. The Obama administration is enforcing immigration law: Deportations are up under President Obama, and deportation of criminal immigrants is 30 percent higher. Furthermore, far from being "under siege," Arizona crime rates have been dropping.
Nevertheless, Fox News responded to the Supreme Court decision by hyping Scalia's arguments. Johnson declared that "everybody's gotta read Scalia's dissent" on the Arizona case.
Fox News reacted to news that the Supreme Court struck down most of Arizona's controversial immigration bill, SB 1070, by citing arguments that the one provision that was not immediately thrown out is "the heart of the entire bill," while Fox Nation claimed the decision was a "defeat for Obama." Fox's attempt to find a silver lining is unsurprising, as it has long been a staunch supporter of the statute. But the court's decision was overwhelmingly against the bill and the remaining provision could eventually be overturned.
In their decision today, the Supreme Court invalidated sections 3, 5(C), and 6 of SB 1070, ruling that Arizona did not have the authority to make status as an undocumented immigrant a state crime, to make it illegal for them to work in the state, and most importantly, that state law enforcement officials cannot arrest any individual on the sole basis that they have probable cause to believe the individual is in the country illegally. The one provision, 2(B), that was not immediately thrown out, allows law enforcement to check the immigration status of people arrested for other crimes, but left open the possibility that the statute could be invalidated at a later point. In his opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy noted:
There is a basic uncertainty about what the law means and how it will be enforced. At this stage, without the benefit of a definitive interpretation from the state courts, it would be inappropriate to assume §2(B) will be construed in a way that creates a conflict with federal law.
This opinion does not foreclose other preemption and constitutional challenges to the law as interpreted and applied after it goes into effect.
SCOTUSblog explained that the ruling of the court means that 2(B) can be invalidated later if enforced in a unconstitutional way:
Police Checks. Section 2(B) of the law requires the police to check the immigration status of persons whom they arrest before releasing them. It also allows the police to stop and arrest anyone suspected of being an undocumented immigrant. The Court held that the lower courts were wrong to prevent this provision from going into effect while its lawfulness is being litigated. It was not sufficiently clear that the provision would be held preempted, the Court held. The Court took pains to point out that the law, on its face, prohibits stops based on race or national origin and provides that the stops must be conducted consistent with federal immigration and civil rights laws. However, it held open that the provision could eventually be invalidated after trial.
Fox News has resorted to advancing an old falsehood to criticize President Obama's recent immigration policy change, claiming that his administration has failed to enforce immigration laws. In fact, the Obama administration's immigration enforcement policy has been so effective in the last three years that the New York Times recently remarked: "Mr. Obama's record on deportations has not been matched since the 1950s, with nearly 400,000 foreigners removed in each year of his term."
Indeed, during Obama's three years in office, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported more than 1.1 million undocumented immigrants. The annual average number of deportations under Obama is twice the annual average from President Bush's first term, and 30 percent higher than Bush's average when he left office. The removal of undocumented immigrants has steadily risen since Obama took office.
More specifically, deportations of undocumented immigrants who have criminal convictions have risen 89 percent since 2008.
But since Obama announced the immigration policy shift, Fox has conveniently ignored these facts in favor of amplifying the Republican message that under Obama, the United States is "the only country in the world that does not enforce its immigration laws," as Sen. Marco Rubio claimed last night on Fox News' Hannity.
From the June 18 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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Mitt Romney won the Texas Republican primary last night, clinching the GOP's nomination for president. In response, Fox News has engaged its function as the Republican Party's communications arm and mounted an all-out push to promote Romney and attack President Obama.
This morning, Fox & Friends aired a four-minute anti-Obama attack ad. Not from any campaign or super PAC, but from Fox itself -- the video opens with the text "Fox & Friends Presents":
The ad was loaded with dishonest and misleading claims.
Later, America's Newsroom, which is one of Fox's "straight news" shows, aired a portion of host Bill Hemmer's softball interview with Mitt and Ann Romney in San Diego. Hemmer said of the interview, "If you're looking for policy, that's really not the intention for why we went to California. This is really trying to get to know this man, because he's going to be in your living rooms now for at least the next six months and possibly a lot longer after that."
Hemmer's co-host, Martha MacCallum, then suggested that the purpose of the interview had been to increase Romney's poll numbers.
From the May 25 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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From the May 23 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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Fox News is attempting to downplay and discredit its own poll, which found that if the election were held today, voters would re-elect President Obama by a 7-point margin. This is hardly the first time Fox has tried to distort poll findings to advance a certain narrative.
Conservatives have seized on Vice President Biden's remarks during an Ohio campaign speech about the issues facing the middle class, characterizing Biden as "unhinged" and "deranged," and claiming the administration is perpetuating "class-warfare." But with tax levels for the wealthy at historic lows set against the stark contrast of middle-class wage stagnation and reduced economic mobility, there is every justification to be passionate about the issue.
Fox News is questioning a $5.9 million grant awarded to a University of Chicago health initiative from the Department of Health and Human Services, alleging that the White House is the reason the Chicago initiative received the grant. Fox anchor Bill Hemmer described the program as "run by President Obama's longtime friend and frequent golf buddy, Eric Whitaker" adding:
HEMMER: This initiative is connected to the University of Chicago medical center. Michelle Obama has a connection there; Valerie Jarrett has a connection there; David Axelrod has a history as well.
Fox contributor Alfonse D'Amato took it even further, saying, "They'd have you believe that out of the thousands of applicants ... that they won this on the merits. That's a lot of nonsense." He continued: "It really cries out to be investigated. If you really believe that they won this grant without the White House," then "you'd have to believe in the tooth fairy." He later stated that this "cries out to be investigated and really, Congressman [Daryl] Issa investigations subcommittee, they should really have a hearing on this."
During a Fox segment today about an investigation into thousands of Florida residents who have allegedly registered to vote, even though they're not U.S. citizens, anchor Bill Hemmer referred to voter ID laws that, in this case, would not address the problem. Discussing the story with guest Hans Von Spakovsky, a Pajamas Media blogger and former DOJ Civil Rights Division official who has pushed for adopting these laws, Hemmer asked:
HEMMER: But, here are what the critics are saying: The minority and the college students, those are the people you are after. You're trying to affect the outcome of an election, whether it's on the county level, or the state level, or ultimately what we saw in 2000, on the national level. How do you respond to that charge?
Fox even aired this voter ID law fact during the segment:
However, as the Miami Herald reported, the problem here has to do with the fact that legal residents, non-citizens who have photo IDs -- including driver's licenses -- appear to have registered to vote:
Nearly 2,700 potential non-U.S. citizens are registered to vote in Florida and some could have been unlawfully casting ballots for years, according to a Miami Herald-CBS4 analysis of elections data.
The bulk of the potential non-citizen voters are in Florida's largest county, Miami-Dade, where the elections supervisor is combing through a list of nearly 2,000 names and contacting them.
An analysis of a partial list of 350 names showed that about 104 have cast ballots going as far back as 1996.
Even if voters are on the list, it doesn't mean they're not eligible to cast a ballot.
The Herald added:
Consider the case of Miami's Maria Ginorio, a 64-year-old from Cuba, who said she became a U.S. citizen in August 2009. She said she was angered by a letter she received asking her to go to the elections office to document her status. Ginorio, who said she typically votes by absentee ballot, is ill and homebound.
"I'm not going to do anything about this,'' Ginorio said. "I can't. I guess I won't vote anymore. I say this with pain in my heart, because voting is my right as a citizen.''
Citizens like Ginorio were flagged as potential ineligible voters after the state's Division of Elections compared its database with a database maintained by Florida's Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, which records whether a new driver is a U.S. citizen when he or she gets a license.
As a result, some citizens could appear to be non citizens now because the DHSMV computer system doesn't automatically update when someone becomes a citizen, said Chris Cate, a spokesman with the Florida Division of Elections.
From the May 9 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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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.
Fox responded with outrage after Obama renewed his case for the Buffett Rule, which would set a minimum effective tax rate for millionaires, accusing Obama of waging "class warfare."
Both mainstream and conservative media outlets have responded to the recent spike in gasoline prices by circulating talking points rooted in politics rather than facts. As a whole, these claims reflect the misconception, perpetuated by the news media, that changes in U.S. energy policy are a major driver of oil and gasoline prices.