Mar
04
2011

With Source Suspended, Will Media Retract 'Kidnapping Capital' Story?

One of the big problems with recentcoverage of immigration was the portrayal of the state of Arizona as a remarkably violent place due to the flood of unauthorized immigrants.It was a stew of misinformation, and one of the most prevalent claims was that Phoenix was The Kidnapping Capital of the Country (and No. 2 inthe entire world). That story always looked a little shaky, as this ThinkProgress review pointed out (7/9/10). Now it looks like there could be more problems. A brief item in the New York Times today (3/4/11) reported that Phoenix's public safety managerwas suspended while an audit […]

Nov
16
2010

For Fox News, 'Hispanics' = 'Illegals'

On Friday, Fox News anchor Trace Gallagher took a study that says there are 100,000 fewer Hispanics in Arizona than there were before the debate over the state's disputed anti-immigrant law, and reported it as 100,000 fewer "illegals." By conflating Hispanics with "illegals," Gallagher inadvertently illustrates the case made by opponents of the law.

Oct
08
2010

Undocumented Labor in Lou Dobbs' Backyard

Isabel Macdonald, a former FAIR staff member, published an article in the Nation (10/7/10) revealing that undocumented workers had been landscaping Lou Dobbs' Florida home and looking after his daughter's show horses. As a hardline commentator on the issue of "illegal immigrant workers," one would think Dobbs would be a little embarrassed about this discovery. When Dobbs and Macdonald appeared on MSNBC's Last Word (10/7/10) yesterday to debate the issue, Macdonald pointed out that "Lou Dobbs, who has made himself an emblem of this get-tough approach to immigration…had been exploiting undocumented labor." Dobbs attempted to sidestep the issue by claiming […]

Sep
20
2010

Mediaspeak: 'Divisive Social Issues'

In the New York Times today (9/20/10), Michael Shear writes: But as the first full week of the 2010 general election season opens across the country on Monday, Washington is scheduled once again to debate immigration and gay men, lesbians and bisexuals in the military, two deeply divisive social issues that threaten to polarize the conversation on the campaign trail. Repealing "Don't Ask Don't Tell" is widely supported by the public. Public opinion on immigration policy is somewhat more complex; this story is referring tothelegislation known as the DREAM Act,which would provide a path to citizenship for students who have […]

Sep
08
2010

Violence Does Cross the Border After All–Going the Other Way

Daniel Hernandez wrote an article for Extra! last year (6/09) about the tendency of U.S. corporate media to treat Mexican violence as a phenomenon that threatens to "spill over" into the U.S.–as in New York Times headlines like "Drug Cartel Violence Spills Over From Mexico, Alarming U.S." (3/23/09) and "Wave of Drug Violence Is Creeping Into Arizona From Mexico, Officials Say" (2/24/09). Hernandez's article, "Does Violence 'Spill Over' or Come Home to Roost?," questioned this framing of the story: It is a treatment of Mexico's crisis as something foreign, unknown and dangerous, as opposed to a threat affecting an intimately […]

Jul
08
2010

Bill O'Reilly Still Reaching on Immigrants and Crime

At the top of his show last night (7/7/10), BillO'Reillynotified viewers that the Factor had "investigated"how much crime in Arizona is committed by undocumented immigrants,explaining: "What we found may surprise you." "Telling the truth in the illegal immigration controversy, that is the subject of this evening's Talking Points Memo," O'Reilly began hiscommentary. Now that would be a surprise, given that O'Reilly spent weeks drumming up hysteria about Arizona's soaring crime rate (crime has been dropping for years) and attributing this to the surge in immigrants (which would run contrary to the research documenting lower crime rates in areas with higher […]

Jun
28
2010

NYT on Arizona's Immigrant Crime: Not as Bad as O'Reilly

We've rather amply documented Bill O'Reilly's record of misinformation on Arizona, immigration and crime. It's not surprising–but nonetheless worth documenting–that O'Reilly would bend reality in order to bash immigrants and defend the new Arizona law. But the way the New York Times handled the matter is worth a look. The paper's June 19 piece, "On Border Violence, Truth Pales Compared to Ideas," should have told a simple story: Supporters of the law claimed that Arizona was seeing a dramatic increase in crime, and immigrants were to blame for this. This is simply not true. But in the name of journalistic […]

Jun
21
2010

O'Reilly Finds a New Way to Be Wrong About Immigration and Crime

Fox News host Bill O'Reilly has endorsed the draconian Arizona immigration law on the grounds that immigration has caused the state's crime to skyrocket–a claim that founders on the fact that crime in the state has actually gone down (FAIR Action Alert, 5/17/10). Of late, he hasn't talked much about the immigration/crime angle, leading us to wonder whether he had figured out that he was all wet on the subject (FAIR Activism Update, 6/4/10). But last Thursday (6/17/10), interviewing pro-immigration schoolteacher Jose Lara, O'Reilly returned to the topic with a fresh set of nonsense: LARA: The fact is, Bill, and […]

May
19
2010

O'Reilly's Arizona Panic Continues

Fox host Bill O'Reilly continued his efforts to link Arizona's harsh immigration law to the non-existent immigrant crime wave. Last night (5/18/10), with Cathy Areu of Catalina magazine: O'REILLY: OK, so you would just sit there and just status quo it? Status quo? AREU: Immigration is down, actually, in Arizona. Status quo's working beautifully. O'REILLY: Down everywhere. AREU: Well, crime is down and immigration is down. So, actually, things are better. O'REILLY: Crime in Arizona is up. Immigration's down because of the economy. As we pointed in our Action Alert– and has been pointed out elsewhere by actual journalists–crime is […]

May
12
2010

Newsweek and the Criminal Immigrants Next Door

Newsweek has another installment in the don't-blame-Arizonans coverage of the state's new immigration law (FAIR Blog, 4/28/10, 5/3/10, 5/4/10). Under the charming headline "Mexican Standoff," reporter Eve Conant writes: Some accuse lawmakers and the 70 percent of Arizonans who support the bill of acting like Nazis, or of turning Arizona into an apartheid state. But spend some time in Arizona, and you may come to see why so many Arizonans want this. The bulk of what follows is Conant's account of a month worth of ride-alongs with Arizona law enforcement officials, who showed her a number of ostensibly immigrant-related crimes. […]

May
11
2010

WaPo: There Goes the Neighborhood

According to a Washington Post article (5/10/10) on the front page of its metro section, the traditional image of the U.S. suburb is being spoiled as they become less wealthy, white and native-born. No, really. Carol Morello's story began: Ozzie and Harriet, R.I.P. The idealized vision of suburbia as a homogeneous landscape of prosperity built around the nuclear family took another hit over the past decade, as suburbs became home to more poor people, immigrants, minorities, senior citizens and households with no children, according to a Brookings Institution report to be released Sunday. As Atrios asked, "Nobody noticed what's wrong […]

May
04
2010

O'Reilly's Non-Existent Arizona Immigrant Crime Wave

Fox host Bill O'Reilly searched around for a reason to support Arizona's harsh new immigration law, and seemed to settle on the fact that there is a crime wave in Phoenix (5/3/10): Arizona had to do something. In the capital city Phoenix, crime is totally out of control. For example, last year New York City– with six times as many residents as Phoenix–had just 16,000 more reported crimes. San Diego is the same size as Phoenix. It has 60 percent less crime. There are only three small problems with this explanation. For one, there's no evidence that immigrants are liable […]

Nov
17
2008

'The Consequences of Leaving Hate Unchecked'

WeCanStopTheHate.org's latest push for "media networks… to separate themselves from hate groups and hate speech" quotes (11/14/08) National Council of La Raza President Janet MurguiĀ­a saying that, with a recent race-motivated Long Island murder, "we have been brutally reminded about the consequences of leaving hate unchecked": "The wave of hate that is seeping through our communities threatens the fabric of our nation and is costing lives. Americans will not be cowed by those trying to advance intolerance-we must stand up to the presence of hate groups and extremists" …MurguiĀ­a added. Just yesterday, Media Matters for America released a report, ["Women, […]