Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of Fox News parent company 21st Century Fox, broke from Fox News hosts and contributors by tweeting support for the Senate's comprehensive immigration reform bill.
In a July 14 tweet, Murdoch called on House Speaker John Boehner to allow for his chamber to vote on the Senate's comprehensive immigration reform package. Boehner has previously committed not to bring the package up for a vote in the House:
A number of host and contributors of 21st Century Fox's subsidiary Fox News have expressed a view opposite of Murdoch's, either denouncing the Senate plan or calling for House Republican obstruction of any comprehensive immigration reform effort.
On the July 10 edition of his Fox News show, Sean Hannity praised Boehner for not allowing the Senate bill to be voted on in the House, saying, "the decision by the leadership not to take the Senate bill is a good first step" to fixing the immigration system. He also advised that they take their time to get it right.
During the Hannity segment, Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin offered her "qualified applause and praise" of Boehner's commitment to not bring the Senate bill up for a vote.
Additionally, Fox News contributors Laura Ingraham and Bill Kristol have both endorsed Republican obstruction of immigration reform efforts, claiming that any reconciliation of a potential House immigration reform bill and the Senate bill would be disastrous.
Other Fox News figures have staked out a different position, articulating support for the Senate's immigration reform effort. During the July 10 edition of his Fox News show, Bill O'Reilly explained that House Republicans killing the Senate immigration reform bill would "mean the chaotic status quo would remain and the Southern border would not be made more secure." And Fox News contributor Karl Rove said on Fox News Radio that while he doesn't think the Senate immigration reform bill is perfect, he wanted "the process to continue."
The persistent right-wing talking point that immigration reform would bring in anywhere from 11 million to as many as 30 million new Democratic voters has definitively been exposed as a myth.
The charge, pushed by Fox News, rests on the bogus allegation that because the Senate immigration reform bill includes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, those new citizens would then be eligible to vote for Democrats.
As Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin wrote in a syndicated column arguing that "illegal alien amnesty violates our founding principles," "Unrepentant amnesty peddlers on both sides of the aisle admit their plan is all about votes and power." She continued:
Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain continues his craven, futile chase for the Hispanic bloc. Illinois Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez is openly salivating at the prospect of millions of new illegal aliens -- future Democratic Party dependents of the Nanny State -- who could be eligible for Obamacare and a plethora of other government benefits despite clear prohibitions against them.
On Fox, contributor Monica Crowley echoed the argument, claiming that the Senate immigration reform bill "has nothing to do with immigration." She added: "The Democrats have played this brilliantly. This is about flooding the zone with new Democratic voters so they can get a permanent voting majority."
Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin falsely claimed that provisions in Texas' controversial abortion bill would make women safer. Her assertion ignores that the state already performs annual inspections of abortion clinics as well as expert testimony which argues that the legislation would actually "erode women's health."
On the July 8 edition of Fox News' America Live, Malkin joined guest host Alisyn Camerota to discuss the controversial legislation that would outlaw abortion procedures after 20 weeks with exceptions only for the life of the mother, require abortion clinics to meet the same requirements as ambulatory surgical centers, and require abortion providers to have permission to admit patients at a hospital within 30 miles of the provider's facility. Despite these sweeping restrictions, which would be some of the strictest in the country, Malkin claimed that the Texas legislation was simply a question of whether or not abortion providers would "abide by standards that will ensure safety":
According to Dallas News, however, the Texas Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) inspects abortion clinics every year, while it inspects surgical centers only every three years. Furthermore, in 2011, no pregnant females died of abortion-related causes in the state, while there were 116 deaths associated with pregnancy complications.
Medical experts including the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) argue that the Texas legislation would "jeopardize women's health care as well as interfere with medical practice and the patient-physician relationship." Additionally, Dr. Lisa M. Hollier, ACOG's Texas district chairwoman said in July that "The bills would erode women's health by denying the women of Texas the benefits of well-researched, safe and proven protocols."
Right-wing media have repeatedly distorted the Obama administration's record on border enforcement to claim that the border is not secure and that, in fact, the government has failed "to secure the states against invasion," as Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin has put it.
On Fox News' Hannity, Malkin claimed that "this current administration has done everything in its power to sabotage immigration law," and asked: "Why would you trust them one iota with the job that they will not do - that they refuse to do?" Host Sean Hannity added: "I want that border secure and I think we've got to get it done for our national security."
As the House prepares to debate the issue following the Senate passage of a bipartisan immigration reform bill that includes enhanced border measures, conservative media figures have used border security as a sticking point against which to derail reform.
But here are the facts on border enforcement.
Fox News hosted Rush Limbaugh a day after he thanked the network for defending his 2012 tirade targeting Sandra Fluke, providing Limbaugh a platform to smear the Obama administration, advise Republicans on the 2014 election cycle, and rehabilitate his damaged career.
On July 2 Fox & Friends hosted Limbaugh, who suggested that recent political unrest in Egypt was not surprising because the "Obama regime" wanted Islamic extremists to have power in the region. Limbaugh claimed that "the fact that Obama can't even bring himself to condemn this ought to be eye opening to anybody that's paying attention."
Limbaugh then pivoted to offering advice to Republicans running for office during 2014 election cycle, claiming that attacking health care reform was a "golden opportunity for the Republicans to get back in people's good graces, and stand for something the American people actually stand for." Co-host Brian Kilmeade closed the segment by inviting Limbaugh to "sit on our couch" and appear on Fox & Friends in person.
Limbaugh's Fox & Friends appearance came one day after he thanked Fox News host Megyn Kelly and Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin for defending his attacks in 2012 against then-Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke.
On the July 1 America Live, Kelly interviewed Malkin who claimed that Limbaugh's widely criticized rants against Fluke -- including calling her a "slut" -- were nothing more than "political speech." Later on, during the July 1 broadcast of Limbaugh's radio show, he thanked Malkin and Kelly for defending him.
From defending Limbaugh's rant to hosting him on a show and inviting him to return, it seems Fox has taken an interest in rehabilitating Limbaugh's still damaged career.
From the July 1 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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From the July 1 edition of Fox News' America Live:
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Sean Hannity ignored new reports that Republican Rep. Darrell Issa (CA) directed the Treasury Department's inspector general (IG) to "narrowly focus" its audit of the IRS' assessment of tax-exempt status requests to focus on tea party organizations, falsely claiming that "new claims by progressive groups that they were targeted by the IRS are in fact, false."
On the June 26 edition of his Fox News show, host Sean Hannity attempted to resuscitate the dying right-wing media narrative that the improper IRS targeting of groups was directed by the White House in an effort to punish opponents, by citing an IG audit of the IRS which found that some conservative groups received improper scrutiny when seeking tax-exempt status. Hannity dismissed reports that progressive groups had received similar scrutiny and the IG's investigation had been directed by House Republicans, citing the IG report in an attempt -- as he put it -- to "correct the record" saying: "If you've been paying attention to this scandal you know that the inspector general report outlined very clearly the distinct ideological imbalance."
Hannity concluded by asking: "If progressives were unfairly targeted, why didn't anyone say so earlier?"
A June 25 Hill article answered Hannity's question. The Hill reported that a spokesman for the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, J. Russell George, said they were asked by Issa "to narrowly focus on Tea Party organizations":
The inspector general's audit found that groups seeking tax-exempt status with "Tea Party" and "patriots" in their name did receive extra attention from the IRS, with some facing years of delay and inappropriate questions from the agency.
But top congressional Democrats have wielded new information from the IRS this week that liberal groups were also flagged for extra attention on the sorts of "be on the lookout" lists (BOLOs) that also tripped up conservative groups.
The spokesman for the Treasury inspector general noted their audit acknowledged there were other watch lists. But the spokesman added: "We did not review the use, disposition, purpose or content of the other BOLOs. That was outside the scope of our audit."
Prior to this report, Issa had leaked incomplete transcripts that were used by right-wing media to suggest that the IRS' use of improper criteria for determining which groups requesting tax-exempt status required additional scrutiny was directed by officials in Washington D.C., and potentially by White House officials. Other transcripts released later debunked this claim.
Furthermore, as a June 26 Associated Press article reported, progressive groups have claimed that they received scrutiny from the IRS, resulting in long delays in their being granted tax-exempt status. James Salt, a spokesman for the progressive Catholics United went so far as to claim the IRS asked the organization nonsensical, "weird" questions. A June 25 Wall Street Journal article similarly reported delays in tax-exempt status assessment for progressive groups: "Maryann Martindale, executive director of Alliance for a Better Utah, said her "progressive" group has been waiting almost two years for IRS action on an application for tax exemption from one of its entities."
Prior to this revelation, a manager of the Cincinnati IRS office responsible for the assessment of tax-exempt status requests, and self-described "conservative Republican" John Shafer told congressional investigators that neither he nor his office "never discussed any political, personal aspirations whatsoever."
Despite all the evidence to the contrary, during the June 25 Hannity segment Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin went on to accuse the White House of orchestrating the IRS' targeting, saying: "All roads lead to Washington D.C. and all fingers, at some point, will lead straight to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue."
Right-wing media have urged Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) to abandon comprehensive immigration reform efforts in their continued effort to thwart the Senate's attempt to overhaul the nation's immigration system.
After President Obama named former U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice as his new national security advisor, right-wing media figures called the appointment a "slap in the face," a "middle finger," and an "eff you" to Americans.
Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin joined the chorus of right-wing voices fearmongering about health care officials, known as "navigators," which have been used by previous administrations to inform consumers about health care options.
In her syndicated column, Malkin attacked the health care navigators, people employed by the government to assist Americans in understanding their options under the health care reform law. Malkin claimed the navigators would be "yet another Obama threat to Americans' privacy," saying Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has a "sordid snooping history" and concluding "you can't trust sleazy Sebelius to navigate anything with her broken ethical compass." Malkin's column was highlighted by Fox Nation:
But the health care navigator program existed before President Obama's Affordable Care Act. Sara Rosenbaum, writing at the George Washington University's HealthReformGPS blog, pointed out that the program is modeled after the State Health Insurance Assistance Program, which has been used by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to inform Medicare beneficiaries about programs like prescription drug benefits and Medicaid Advantage programs. Health care expert Timothy Jost questioned the controversy over the program, writing:
The Affordable Care Act's navigator program was modeled after the successful State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) which has offered assistance to Medicare beneficiaries trying to figure out the complexities of Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plan offerings. The original concept of the ACA navigator program was that exchanges would give grants to community and small business organizations to educate and provide unbiased information to individuals and small employers to help them navigate the new health insurance marketplace and enroll in health insurance plans. Navigators will be particularly helpful to millions of uninsured Americans who will be purchasing health insurance on their own for the first time and who will be eligible either for Medicaid or for premium assistance tax credits. Many of these consumers will be unfamiliar with health insurance or not literate in English.
In addition, according to proposed regulations and contrary to Malkin's privacy claims, the navigators will undergo training in order to guarantee personal information is kept confidential:
The Exchange regulations, at 45 CFR § 155.260(a), establish privacy and security standards for Exchanges, and § 155.260(b) provides that Exchanges must require Navigators and other non-Exchange entities to abide by the same or more stringent privacy and security standards as a condition of contract or agreement with such entities. Consistent with these requirements, we propose that the training for Navigators and non-Navigator assistance personnel must include training designed to ensure that they safeguard consumers' sensitive personal information including but not limited to health information, income and tax information, and Social Security number.
Malkin is not the first right-wing media figure to fearmonger about health care navigators. Rush Limbaugh claimed that navigators will register voters as Democrats and "smear Republicans," adding "it doesn't say that, I just know what this is." Fox News host Megyn Kelly claimed the program could "allow these jobs of the navigators to be filled by organizations with political agendas, including unions and community action groups."
Fox News personalities have seized on the brutal killing of a soldier in London to rail against immigration, claiming that immigration policies are partly to blame for the attacks. Conservative media figures similarly used the Boston bombing to condemn immigration and undermine immigration reform.
Right-wing media figures are attacking President Obama over his decision to lift a moratorium on a Guantánamo Bay detainee transfer to Yemen -- a decision that has earned the praise of a former top Navy judge and is an important step toward closing the detention facility, which experts agree is necessary.
On May 23, Obama announced that he is lifting his ban on the transfer of detainees from the Guantánamo Bay detention center to Yemen. That ban was put in place following the failed Christmas Day 2009 bombing attempt on a U.S. airliner. The convicted bomber involved in the attempt trained in Yemen.
Right-wing media figures seized on the news to attack Obama. Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin warned that transfers are "a surefire recipe for more Benghazis, more U.S.S. Coles and more innocent lives at risk":
Gird your loins, America. President Obama intends to empty out Guantanamo Bay and send scores of suspected Muslim terror operatives back to their jihadist-coddling native countries. Goaded by anti-war activists and soft-on-terror attorneys (including those from Attorney General Eric Holder's former private law firm), Obama announced Thursday that he'll lift a ban on sending up to 90 Yemeni detainees home and will initiate other stalled transfers out of the compound.
This radical appeasement of Obama's left flank is a surefire recipe for more Benghazis, more U.S.S. Coles and more innocent lives at risk.
On the May 24 edition of The Laura Ingraham Show, host and Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham touted Malkin's "terrific piece" and criticized Obama's lifting of the ban as nothing more than an "attempt to look like you're serious."
As Reuters reported, repatriating prisoners to Yemen is one of multiple steps Obama announced to move toward closing Guantánamo -- something experts agree must be done.
Fox News figures scapegoated Islam and promoted Islamophobia following an attack in London reportedly perpetrated by radical extremists which has been denounced by Muslim organizations in Britain.
From the May 22 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
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