That wacky California is at it again! Or so Fox News would have us believe. In several segments on November 16, Fox News anchors distorted a recent California Supreme Court ruling that upholds a law allowing nonresidents who attended high school in California to pay in-state tuition. That group includes illegal aliens, and Fox was quick to paint the ruling as a step towards "immigration reform amnesty."
Fox & Friends kicked off this story on November 16, when Gretchen Carlson teased the story by saying, "A court says illegal immigrants should be allowed to pay in-state tuition. Should they really get a discount on an American education?" Text at the bottom of the screen read, "Illegal discount." Later in the episode, guest host Eric Bolling brought on Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson, Jr. to discuss the California ruling. At one point, Bolling asked, "Is this the path to some sort of immigration reform amnesty?"
Later that day, guest host Shannon Bream on Fox's America Live promoted the story by saying, "Some of your tax money could soon go to educating illegals instead of Americans, U.S. citizens. And it's all been approved by a very powerful court."
In fact, the law gives the same tuition benefits to U.S. citizens who meet its requirements, and in the nearly 10 years since it has passed, has largely benefited them, not illegal immigrants.
The 2001 law, AB 540, extends in-state tuition eligibility to any student who attended high school in California for three years and received a diploma there. Ten states now have similar laws. This week's ruling rejects plaintiffs' claims that the California provision violates federal law by providing educational benefits to undocumented aliens that citizens can't receive.
Not only does the law also apply to U.S. citizens and legal residents, those two groups are its largest beneficiaries. Students who attended boarding school in California, for example, or who have become residents of other states since graduating from Californian high schools, are the bulk of those able to take advantage of in-state rates. According to an October 2010 article in the San Francisco Chronicle, a judge in the California Supreme Court ruling "cited UC reports that more than 70 percent of the students paying lower fees because of the law are U.S. citizens or legal residents, not illegal immigrants." In fact, the official UC statement on the November 15 ruling explains:
The law applies to students who attend high school in California for at least three years and graduate. It has benefited both undocumented students and U.S. citizens. In 2008-09, for example, nearly 80 percent of the 2,019 students who qualified under the law for tuition exemptions at UC were U.S. citizens or legal residents. Documented students have accounted for over two-thirds of those benefiting from the exemption in every year since the program's introduction at UC in 2002-03.
Fox's Shannon Bream, while discussing the recent cancellation of President Obama's scheduled meeting with congressional Republicans, pushed the ridiculously untrue claim about the meeting between Obama and the House GOP in January.
Bream claims there was a "brouhaha" associated with the meeting, reporting that "a lot" of House Republicans said that they "didn't know he was coming."
But as Talking Points Memo has explained, this is clearly untrue. House Republicans knew in advance that Obama planned to attend the meeting, with Rep. Mike Pence (chairman of the House Republican Conference) issuing a press release thanking the President for "accept[ing] our invitation" to attend.
At the same time both Politico and The Hill, among others, reported on the planned visit. It wasn't a surprise to anyone. As far as people knowing about Obama's attendance in advance, there was no "brouhaha."
Bream's overarching premise - that the "brouhaha" over the previous meeting caused the current meeting's cancellation - also falls apart as the Senate GOP leadership's spokesman explained that "The meeting was scheduled for November 30th, because it didn't work this week and because that's the date that worked for everybody -- period." According to washingtonpost.com's Greg Sargent, "I have not been able to find a single GOP aide who actually subscribes to the 'ambush' myth, either on or off the record."
There was no ambush, there was no brouhaha, and the cancellation wasn't caused by worry over the nonexistent previous brouhaha. Everything Bream said about this was untrue.
From the November 12 edition of Fox News' America Live:
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Special Report deceptively quoted a statement from Sen. Harry Reid's office to advance what Bret Baier called "a political scandal" involving a former low-level staffer. But the portions of the statement Fox News omitted make clear that the alleged misconduct occurred before the staffer joined Reid's office and that the office had been unaware of the allegations.
The right-wing media is relying on completely unsubstantiated allegations about what Justice Department officials have said to accuse the DOJ of refusing to enforce voting-rights laws against racial minorities. However, the facts clearly show that the DOJ has, in fact, enforced voting-rights laws when the alleged violators are racial minorities.
Conservative media have claimed that 50 percent of "small business income" would be taxed at a higher rate if Democrats allow the Bush tax cuts for the top brackets to expire. However, the apparent sources for that claim, the Tax Policy Center (TPC) and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), explained that business income on individual tax returns does not necessarily reflect what most consider small businesses, but includes such enterprises as law partnerships and real estate investments.
From the August 16 edition of Fox News' America Live:
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Reporting on the breaking news that an Arizona federal district judge had blocked parts of a controversial Arizona immigration law, Fox News Supreme Court reporter Shannon Bream stated that an appeal of the case "will go to the Ninth Circuit, which is viewed widely as the most liberal circuit out there. It is also the most overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. So a loss there is not necessarily an overall loss." In fact, the Ninth Circuit was nowhere near the most overturned federal appeals court last year and has not been the most overturned court in many years.
Peter Johnson Jr., also a Fox News legal analyst, discussed the case with Bream but never corrected her statement.
This attack on the Ninth Circuit is a favorite talking point of conservative media figures, but it's dead wrong. Indeed, according to SCOTUSblog.com, in the last Supreme Court term -- from October 2009 - June 2010 -- seven of the 13 appellate courts had a higher reversal rate than the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The seven circuits with a higher rate were the Second, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eight, and Eleventh Circuits. And the five circuits had a lower reversal rate: the First, Third, Tenth, D.C., and Federal Circuits.
The Ninth Circuit also hasn't had the highest reversal rate in recent years. (See SCOTUSblog statistics for the terms beginning October 2008, October 2007, October 2006, October 2005 and our previous summary of circuit statistics from October 2001 - June 2005 for the data.)
Fox News' Special Report highlighted a U.S. Commission on Civil Rights commissioner's support of an investigation into the Justice Department's handling of a case involving the New Black Panthers hearing. But Special Report ignored the commission's Republican vice-chair's suggestion to "forget about" the case, calling it "small potatoes."
Fox News correspondent Shannon Bream falsely claimed that the Justice Department withdrew all charges against members of the New Black Panther Party for voter intimidation and deceptively quoted Thomas Perez's, assistant attorney general for the civil rights division, testimony before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights to support her falsehood. Bream's report -- the second time in a week that Fox News has dishonestly presented Perez's testimony -- fits Fox News' alarming pattern of omitting facts and falsifying the record while promoting J. Christian Adams' political advocacy.
Once again promoting Adams' accusations, Bream claimed:
BREAM: This all stems from that incident in November of 2008 when some members of the Black Panther Party were accused of intimidating voters and poll workers at a Philadelphia polling place. The Department of Justice got involved, there was an investigation that was launched. They did win a default judgment against several of the members when they didn't show up in April 2009 at a court hearing.
Since that time, other attorneys from within the department have said -- you know the Justice Department ultimately dropped the cases, dismissed the charges against those individuals, and some within the department, including Christian Adams, say there are politics at play.
Bream's report is just false. The Justice Department obtained default judgment in May against Minister King Samir Shabazz, who was carrying a nightstick outside a Philadelphia polling station. The fact that the DOJ successfully pursued default judgment against Shabazz for his role in the incident effectively ends the discussion as to whether the Obama administration is hostile to prosecuting black defendants, as Adams has claimed.
But Bream's deception was not limited to omission. More after the Jump.
From the June 25 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier:
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As we pointed out, Fox Nation used the preposterous headline "Obama Gives Back Major Strip of AZ to Mexico" in trumpeting a Fox News report about a closure of land in a national wildlife refuge in Arizona:
In the June 15 report, America Live guest host Shannon Bream says, "A massive stretch of Arizona now off limits to Americans. Critics say the administration is, in effect, giving a major strip of the Southwest back to Mexico."
There are a few problems with this: A representative of the refuge told Media Matters that the "massive stretch" of land is about five miles square, it's been closed since 2006, and it obviously hasn't been given back to Mexico.
Fox News' Shannon Bream stated that the Arizona immigration law "requires police responding to potential crimes to ask for proof of citizenship if there is a reasonable suspicion that the person is in the country illegally." In fact, the law also directs police to check the immigration status of those stopped for non-crimes, including violations of city and county ordinances and civil traffic violations, if the officer suspects those individuals are undocumented.
From Fox News' March 9 breaking news Supreme Court coverage:
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From the April 25 edition of Fox News' America's News HQ:
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