Fox News stoked fears of terrorism to attack immigration reform while failing to acknowledge that the Senate's proposed immigration legislation includes provisions to bolster security measures.
The Washington Post reported the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing legally immigrated to the United States as political refugees. Fox News personalities responded by attacking immigration reform and stoking fears of terrorism, going so far as to suggest that visitors from certain countries and regions be banned from entering the United States.
On the April 30 edition of Fox & Friends First, co-host Heather Nauert continued Fox's pattern of using the Boston Marathon bombings to attack immigration reform and stoke fears of terrorism, asserting that terrorists are "being granted tourist visas." She went on to claim that certain individuals were "overstaying" those legal limits, and asked: "Why isn't there a plan in place to catch that?"
NAUERT: Critics say it is a gaping hole that Washington needs to fix, and fix right now ... And let's remember some of those 9-11 hijackers were here on student visas and overstayed those student visas as well.
During the report, on-screen text falsely claimed the Senate's immigration reform proposal "gives no solution" to individuals overstaying their immigration visas:
In fact, the number of legal immigrants overstaying their visas declined by 73% between 2000 and 2009, thanks to the Department of Homeland Security's enhanced security measures in the years following the September 11, 2001 attacks. The immigration reform bill introduced in the Senate on April 17 is designed to speed that decline by implementing what Republican Senator Marco Rubio called "an effective entry and exit system."
Responding to questions about enforcement and temporary visas in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano described how provisions in the Senate immigration reform bill would "give us more measurements, more metrics, more identities, more things that we can use from a law enforcement purpose."
Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev "initially escaped the notice of federal authorities on a six-month trip to Russia last year because his name was misspelled on his airline ticket," The Washington Post reported. But Napolitano pointed out that the proposed electronic monitoring system is designed to specifically address that problem, as it "does a good job of getting human error, to the extent it exists, out of the process."
CBS News reported that the bill's "modernized visa system" would monitor "the future traffic of immigrants during both departure and arrival to ensure that nobody overstays their welcome." The summary of the bill's framework further details that the success of the full proposal is "contingent upon our success in securing our border and addressing visa overstays" and requires "the completion of an entry-exit system that tracks whether all persons entering the United States on temporary visas via airports and seaports have left the country as required by law."
Fox News spent an entire week hyping a supposed "War on Easter," pointing to the decision made by a few school boards to hold "Spring egg hunt[s]" instead of Easter egg hunts. In seven days, Fox devoted 10 segments to what host Bill O'Reilly called the continued "war on Judeo-Christian tradition."
On March 21, O'Reilly lambasted President Obama and the White House for empowering "secular progressives" to pressure school districts around the country to eliminate terms like "Easter bunny" and "Easter egg." O'Reilly complained that "the war on Judeo-Christian tradition continues in some public school districts," citing districts in five states that he said "are having Spring egg events. Moderated by a Spring bunny":
O'REILLY: I know it's stupid. You know it's stupid. But it's happening, and there is a reason why it's happening. Secular progressives are running wild with President Obama in the White House. They feel unchained, liberated and they are trying to diminish any form of religion. The goal is to marginalize religious opposition to secular programs.
In the past week, several Fox shows followed O'Reilly's lead, airing segments that criticized the "P.C. police" and focused on "assaults" that have put Christianity "on the run in this country":
Fox News demonstrated the fundamental hypocrisy of its claim that progressives are engaged in a war on Christmas by expressing outrage at Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee because he uses the term "holiday tree" rather "Christmas tree" to refer to the tree that will adorn the statehouse during the holiday season. However, minutes later, Fox announced that it would host its own "holiday wish list" segment.
Fox News has repeatedly attacked people and organizations who use the term holiday when the network would prefer them to use the term Christmas, claiming that they are engaging in a "war on Christmas."
On Fox & Friends First, co-host Heather Nauert claimed Chafee made the "decision to kill Christmas," alluding to a decision by the governor not to host a tree lighting ceremony at the statehouse this year.
Chafee reportedly made the decision because in 2011, protesters attended the tree lighting ceremony to criticize the governor for using the term "holiday tree." Fox played its part in creating controversy over the tree, enlisting viewers in a feverish and overblown campaign against the governor and the words "holiday tree."
But only minutes after Fox complained of the Governor's use of the word "holiday" in place of "Christmas," Nauert announced a new segment called "Fox & Friends First's Holiday Wish list":
Fox & Friends devoted live coverage to a publicity stunt by a conservative group paying the difference between today's gas prices and the price when President Obama took office. Conveniently, Fox & Friends never mentioned the oil interests funding the group or the dishonest premise behind the stunt.
On its October 25 show, Fox News correspondent Heather Nauert reported live from a gas station in New Jersey where the "conservative free-market group" Americans for Prosperity (AFP) was conducting a publicity stunt in which drivers paid $1.84 a gallon for gas -- the price that gas temporarily plummeted to right before Obama took office -- and AFP paid the difference.
AFP's stunt is explicitly designed to promote an anti-Obama agenda -- the group has stated that the point is to "highlight President Obama's failing green energy policies."
Nauert effectively played into AFP's political agenda, asking drivers questions like "Would you be more willing to vote for a different administration in this election as a result of the high gas prices today?"
In a second live segment later in the show, Nauert posed similar questions to a female driver. When the driver responded that she supports Obama and plans to vote for him again, Nauert asked, "Even though you're paying more for gas?" After the interview, Nauert highlighted that "we spoke to another voter earlier today who said that he voted for President Obama four years ago but the high cost of gas is actually going to change his vote."
Fox News has aggressively supported a Republican plan to add a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. However, progressive and conservative experts alike have made clear that a balanced budget amendment would make future recessions worse and damage the current recovery.
From the June 22 edition of Fox News' Happening Now:
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Fox News figures have suggested that President Obama isn't serious about enacting comprehensive immigration reform and is instead "trying to shore up his base" among Hispanic voters. However, there has been a major increase in border security under Obama -- which Republicans say is their starting point for action on the issue.