Fox News today has repeatedly aired a report by correspondent William LaJeunesse which was nothing more than a misleading attack on Ann Kirkpatrick, a member of Congress from Arizona's 1stcongressional district. Kirkpatrick is a first-term congresswoman who doesn't seem to have a lot of national recognition, but nevertheless, LaJeunesse ran an almost five minute segment attacking her for running for reelection as a fiscal conservative, a stance that he seemed to feel was unjustified.
LaJeunesse launched into a misleading hit piece on Kirkpatrick for claims she has made during her campaign, specifically that she ran against auto and wall street bailouts, and defied Democratic leadership in her opposition to TARP. Since Kirkpatrick was not in office when TARP was passed, she bases her opposition to the Wall Street bailouts on a January 2009 House resolution "dissapprov[ing] the obligation of any amount exceeding" the amount of money originally described in TARP. Her statement that she voted in opposition to auto bailouts is based on two votes against the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Act, also known as the cash-for-clunkers program. As a candidate, Kirkpatrick expressed opposition to TARP, saying that it "unfairly helped Wall Street over families." Nevertheless, LaJeunesse portrayed her as deceptive and misleading. Watch:
Fox News correspondent William La Jeunesse continued his trend of misleading reporting on immigration today with a segment on the Obama administration's policies regarding workplace enforcement of illegal immigration laws. La Jeunesse's report centered on the decrease in "illegal worker arrests" during job site raids under the Obama administration. He began by stating that "this president is taking a very different approach to worksite enforcement" than President Bush did and claimed that "under this president, most of the illegal workers go free."
La Jeunesse also included commentary from Bush administration ICE director Julie Myers, who suggested that law enforcement officials were now "turning a blind eye" to illegal workers and claimed the policy amounts to "de facto amnesty."
First of all, La Jeunesse's report lacked necessary context, singling out the number of arrests and deportations due to worksite enforcement while ignoring the total numbers to suggest that the Obama administration has been lax in enforcing immigration law. In fact, despite a decrease in the number of workplace raids and arrests, the Obama administration has deported a record number of undocumented immigrants. Obama's first year in office saw a total of 387,790 deportations, up 5 percent from 2008 under the Bush administration.
La Jeunesse also neglected to mention that during her tenure as Department of Homeland Security assistant secretary for ICE, Myers came under harsh criticism, not just for awarding an employee dressed up as an escaped Jamaican prisoner (complete with blackface) with a prize for "most original costume" at an ICE Halloween party (and then trying to cover it up), but for the "heavy-handed" worksite raids she emphasized throughout her tenure. In fact, in 2008, 114 employees of Micro Solutions Enterprises (MSE), all legal residents or citizens, filed claims against ICE after they were detained during a raid on their employer.
For years, Fox News has been claiming, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that its reporters are "fair and balanced" journalists who simply report the news. So how will they explain "reporter" William La Jeunesse all but announcing his opposition to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA)? Today, La Jeunesse, who hours before called Boxer a "big-spending liberal," said that Boxer's "weakness" is "[s]he stands for everything that is wrong with Washington and she is the status quo."
From Happening Now:
LA JEUNNESE: Well, Patti Ann, you know, given that both these women are ex-CEOs, there's a term they use in businesses to evaluate your competition called SWOT. Strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat. Now, if we apply that to the senate race, Boxer, Fiorina, Carly Fiorina really buried her competition here.
Her strengths? Let's look at those. Number one, she is a former executive who managed a payroll. She also, you know, managed people. She ran a business, that's a message that played well given California's high unemployment and massive deficits. She opposes gay marriage and abortion -- that's an opportunity to solidify her credibility with conservatives.
Possible weakness? She mocks global warming in a state where 80 percent of voters consider it a serious problem.
Now, Barbara Boxer. She has ten million dollars in the bank. She has the support of every union and environmentalist in California. Both are experienced at getting out the vote, and running attack spots. Boxer supports amnesty for illegal immigrants, which should help with the Latino vote -- one out of every three Californians.
Weakness? 18 years in the Senate. She stands for everything that is wrong with Washington and she is the status quo, Patti Ann, and will have to defend it.
In a statement last year, Fox News VP Michael Clemente defended his employer by stating that "the average news consumer can certainly distinguish between the A-section of the newspaper and the editorial page, which is what our programming represents. So, with all due respect to anyone who might still be confused about the difference between news reporting and vibrant opinion, my suggestion would be to talk about the stories and the facts."
So question to Clemente: Does La Jeunesse's statement that Boxer "stands for everything that is wrong with Washington" belong in your so-called "A-section of the newspaper?"
From the June 9 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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On America's Newsroom, one of Fox News' purported "fair and balanced" news programs, reporter William La Jeunesse forwarded California Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina's attack on Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) that she "is more interested in protecting climate change and the weather than actually the public." The attack, as PolitiFact.com noted, is "Pants on Fire" false because it's a "major distortion" and "ignores Boxer's lengthy record supporting bills against terrorism."
The latest ad from California Senate candidate Carly Fiorina -- who is running in the Republican primary to take on incumbent Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer -- mocks Boxer for saying in 2007 that "one of the very important national security issues frankly is climate change."
After playing a clip of Boxer's statement, Fiorina faces the camera and responds, "Terrorism kills, and Barbara Boxer's worried about the weather."
So to recap, Fiorina is guilty of a major distortion here. Boxer brought up climate change and said it was "one of the very important national security issues," but Fiorina ignores that wording and portrays it as if Boxer cited it as the only priority. In addition, Fiorina casts climate change as something you need to pack an umbrella for, or that prompts you to curse at the TV weatherman -- which strikes us as not only a trivialization of climate change but also a failure to distinguish between two well-established scientific specialties. She also ignores Boxer's lengthy record supporting bills against terrorism. So we have to light up the meter: Pants on Fire!
Fiorina, who is leading the field going into today's Republican primary, has been endorsed by Fox Newsers Sarah Palin, Rick Santorum and Dick Morris. Last month, Fox Business anchor Liz Claman offered glowing words for Fiorina in a softball interview, stating that Fiorina "knows something about fiscal responsibility" and "we like business people in government." Sean Hannity also gave Fiorina, along with fellow candidate Chuck DeVore, a national platform to make her case to California voters in March. Meanwhile, Fox News host Brian Kilmeade has trashed Barbara Boxer as an "embarrassment" and anti-military.
Fiorina's favorable coverage on Fox isn't all that surprising -- not only is she a Republican, but she's also a former member of the Fox News family. Fiorina was hired in October 2007 as a contributor with the Fox Business Network, with Fox executive Kevin Magee stating that "Fiorina is one of the foremost business leaders of our time." Fiorina's financial disclosure statement states that she received nearly $58,000 for her employment with the "Fox Broadcasting Company."
Fox News anchor Alisyn Camerota falsely claimed that Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lawyers Laurie Williams and Allan Zabel "questioned the science behind global warming policy" in a YouTube video that is critical of cap-and-trade proposals, and Fox News reporter William La Jeunesse suggested that the EPA's demand that the lawyers take down and edit the video to remove some of the references to the EPA violates President Obama's vow "to take the politics out of science." In fact, in the video, Williams and Zabel affirmed the scientific case for action against global warming and called for "carbon fees" with rebates to address the problem.
During a report about President Obama's decision to stop funding a nuclear waste storage facility at Yucca Mountain, Fox News' William La Jeunesse referred to Obama's decision as "$13 billion of your money down the drain" and said that the facility is, "from an engineering standpoint," "complete" but "just waiting for a license" -- suggesting that Obama's decision cost taxpayers billions of dollars for no reason. However, even if Yucca Mountain were to receive a license -- which could be several years -- experts say it may not be safe, would not be able to receive radioactive fuel for a "long time," and the costs to build, operate, and receive the fuel have reportedly ballooned to more than $96 billion.
From the September 25 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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From the September 25 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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On August 28, Fox News devoted live coverage and publicity to the kickoff of the Tea Party Express, a bus tour organized by the Republican PAC Our Country Deserves Better, whose mission is to oppose President Obama and the Democrats. Fox News' kickoff coverage follows numerous promotions of the tour on Fox News, Fox Business, The Fox Nation, and FoxNews.com.
Fox News' William La Jeunesse asserted that "our corporate tax rate is second highest in the world," ignoring the effective tax rate, which is lower for corporations in the U.S. than for corporations in several other countries.
In recent days, numerous Fox Business Network hosts, reporters, and contributors have repeatedly spread the debunked claim that the economic recovery act includes funding to protect the salt marsh harvest mouse in the San Francisco wetlands. In fact, the act does not contain any language directing funds to San Francisco wetlands or the salt marsh harvest mouse living in them, a fact that the House Republican leadership aide who reportedly originated the claim has reportedly acknowledged.