Issues ››› Crime
  • Fox News Falsely Portrays Federal Investigation In Ferguson As Unusual

    ››› ››› MICHELLE LEUNG

    Fox News has repeatedly dismissed the federal civil rights investigation into the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown, calling it "political optics" and an example of President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder playing "the race card." In fact, under long-standing civil rights law, the federal government has parallel investigative powers alongside local authorities and frequently investigates local police departments that may have a pattern or practice of abuse.

  • Conservatives Attack Reporters For Being Arrested In Ferguson

    Blog ››› ››› BEN DIMIERO

    Following the arrest of two journalists covering the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, some conservative media figures are attacking the reporters for being insufficiently deferential to police, doing "the opposite of journalism," and trying to make the story about themselves.

    Protests in Ferguson are ongoing following an August 9 incident that resulted in a police officer shooting and killing unarmed teenager Michael Brown. On August 13, Huffington Post reporter Ryan J. Reilly and Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery were both detained by police in a Ferguson McDonald's. 

    According to accounts from both Reilly and Lowery, they were detained for not packing their things and leaving the restaurant quickly enough. From Lowery's account of his arrest in the Post: 

    Initially, both Ryan Reilly of the Huffington Post and I were asked for identification. I was wearing my lanyard, but Ryan asked why he had to show his ID. They didn't press the point, but one added that if we called 911, no one would answer.

    Then they walked away. Moments later, the police reemerged, telling us that we had to leave. I pulled my phone out and began recording video.

    An officer with a large weapon came up to me and said, "Stop recording."

    I said, "Officer, do I not have the right to record you?"

    He backed off but told me to hurry up. So I gathered my notebook and pens with one hand while recording him with the other hand.

    As I exited, I saw Ryan to my left, having a similar argument with two officers. I recorded him, too, and that angered the officer. As I made my way toward the door, the officers gave me conflicting information.

    One instructed me to exit to my left. As I turned left, another officer emerged, blocking my path.

    "Go another way," he said.

    As I turned, my backpack, which was slung over one shoulder, began to slip. I said, "Officers, let me just gather my bag." As I did, one of them said, "Okay, let's take him."

    Multiple officers grabbed me. I tried to turn my back to them to assist them in arresting me. I dropped the things from my hands.

    "My hands are behind my back," I said. "I'm not resisting. I'm not resisting." At which point one officer said: "You're resisting. Stop resisting."

    While some conservative media figures have been critical of the arrests, others are responding to the incident by lashing out at the reporters and media coverage of the incident.

  • Bill O'Reilly's "Moral Instruction For Black People": Michael Brown Edition

    Blog ››› ››› EMILY ARROWOOD

    Bill O'Reilly's proclivity for using tragedies and racial disparities to lecture the black community was on full display in the wake of the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager at the hands of police in Ferguson, Missouri.

    The St. Louis suburb has erupted in demonstrations following the death of Michael Brown, a black, unarmed teenager allegedly gunned down by police while he tried to run away. The unrest has prompted Brown's parents and civil rights leaders to call for peaceful protests and justice over the wrongful death.

    On the August 12 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly attributed Brown's father's calls for justice to "talking through an emotional prism," adding that "many, many African Americans believe" that Brown was murdered "without knowing the facts." He wondered if the black community deserves criticism for viewing Brown's death as an injustice.

    Salon's Joan Walsh aptly described how O'Reilly's response exposes his program as a "cable news show that sometimes doubles as an hour of moral instruction for black people." As Walsh explained, it was a lecture that smacked of "creepy paternalism," and one that "provides a window onto the worldview of aging authoritarian white conservatives." It's also a lecture O'Reilly has perfected.

    The Fox host frequently attacks the black community for problems that, according to him, specifically plague black culture. He's staunchly denied the existence of racial disparities in arrest and conviction rates across the country, often attributing African Americans' over-representation in the nation's prison systems to "the culture" in "ghetto neighborhoods." "The culture" is also to blame for disproportionate poverty in the black community. O'Reilly's "solutions" often involve blaming black families and "young black girls" who became pregnant outside of marriage.

  • Fox News Is Disappointed That U.S. Deportation Policy Is Focused On Felons

    Blog ››› ››› SOPHIA TESFAYE

    A article asserted that undocumented immigrants protesting outside the White House were given "a pass" from being arrested by immigration officials who prioritize apprehensions and deportations for more serious offenders. Immigration officials argue that targeting peaceful immigrants would divert limited federal resources from its focus on criminal offenders. 

    A July 28 article criticized Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) policy on the prioritization of deportation after undocumented immigrants protested outside of the White House were not apprehended and deported. Despite being told by ICE officials that "the agency prioritizes deportation for felons," Fox dismissed the policy describing it as "a pass to other undocumented residents":

    Illegal immigrant demonstrators were protesting outside the White House on Monday -- but don't expect America's immigration officers to intervene.

    An Immigration and Customs Enforcement official indicated that even if the protesters end up getting arrested by D.C. police, they'd have to be serious criminals for ICE to get involved.

    "Unless the individuals meet ICE's enforcement priorities, it's unlikely that the agency would get involved in the case," the official told

    Under a policy that's been in effect for several years, ICE focuses deportation mostly on serious criminals and - in some cases -- those caught in the act of crossing the border. The agency prioritizes deportation for felons, repeat offenders, gang members and others with a serious criminal record. But the agency largely gives a pass to other undocumented residents.

    Fox's desire for immigration officials detain peaceful White House protesters ignored the importance of ICE using its finite resources to prioritize the apprehension and removal of undocumented immigrants with criminal records. In a memo outlining the protocol on deportation detentions, ICE director John Morton explained that "these priorities ensure that ICE's finite enforcement resources are dedicated, to the greatest extent possible, to individuals whose removal promotes public safety, national security, border security, and the integrity of the immigration system."