James McPherson's Media & Politics Blog

Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist


  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association and a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media.

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Lying Fox News Pin(al)-headed about geography

Posted by James McPherson on June 16, 2010

Remember when “news” was supposed to be timely? Fox News and bimbo Megyn Kelly [sorry, even though it was Kelly’s name on the screen, it was a different woman doing the Kelly-style reporting] today led with a story that is more than three years old–while suggesting that the story and the direct quote that Fox lifts from an October 2006  public document are something new.

In addition to the misleading timing of the story, like far too many Americans, Fox News seems to have a geography problem. Or maybe it’s just trying to bolster John McCain’s Arizona campaign while making a hero of a certain Arizona sheriff.

How else do you explain that the current lead story on Fox’s website (above even the latest on the Gulf oil spill, Iran’s nuclear program and “Bipartisan Jeers for Obama Oil Speech”) relies most heavily on the sheriff who starts in John McCain’s ridiculous anti-immigrant commercial? That’s a sheriff, remember, whose county does not even border Mexico.

Why not quote a border sheriff? Perhaps because those from Pima, Yuma and Santa Cruz counties all disagree with the state’s stupid new anti-immigration law, and therefore with the reactionary rednecks who provide much of Fox’s primary audience.

Also, remember who was president at the time of the closure that Fox is now yipping about? And at that time, McCain opposed a border fence.

Same-day update: More unethical journalism–supposed “investigative reporter” Michael Webster at the American Chronicle offers most of the same garbage as Fox.

Numerous conservative blogs have knee-jerkedly repeated all or part of the misleading Fox/Webster story (some examples here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here), as if their readers wouldn’t have already seen it; naturally several of those blame Barack Obama. I’ve only seen one correction.

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17 Responses to “Lying Fox News Pin(al)-headed about geography”

  1. Raptor said

    Dr. McPherson,

    First, the reason the story is “three years old” is because the border has been left unsecured by our government for decades, but the drug cartels have only begun moving north across the border in the last three years.

    Second, if you had actually taken a few moments to read Arizona’s “stupid” immigration law (it’s only ten pages long), I’m sure you would note that it is virtually identical to the Federal statutes on illegal immigration.

    Third, one of the reasons that Sheriff Babeu was interviewed for the story is that the cartels have a strong presence even as far north as Pinal County. Where, by the way, there were over 70 high speed pursuits and three shootings, all involving cartel members, and all of which occurred in May of this year.

    I suggest, sir, that you get all of your information verified before demonizing Fox News and us so-called “Reactionary Rednecks.”

    Sincerely,

    Raptor
    Third trailer on the left
    Hicksville
    The Bayou, Leweesiana

    AKA

    Raptor
    Student
    Templeton Honors College
    Eastern University, Pennsylvania

  2. James McPherson said

    Thanks for the comment, Raptor, but to quote a Fox comment that you include in your own post: “Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu told Fox News that violence against law enforcement officers and U.S. citizens has increased in the past four months, forcing officers on an 80 mile stretch of Arizona land north of the Mexico border off-limits to Americans.”
    Don’t you think that’s misleading–at least for someone who isn’t an honors student–about when the closure occurred? And of course even the idea that the closure came to protect Americans is disputed by the conservative “correction” linked above.
    You’ll note that my quote states specifically, “the reactionary rednecks who provide MUCH of Fox’s primary audience.” There are others–including me–who watch for any number of reasons. Thanks again.

  3. […] About the blog ← Lying Fox News Pin(al)-headed about geography […]

  4. Desert Man said

    James, I photograph and document the illegal activities on the Arizona / Mexico border and have done so for five years. You are sadly mistaken in your blog. The BNR had a small slice of it claimed off limits three years ago. Now the whole park has been designated as such. This was widely covered in at least two Arizona papers that I know of. It was covered very well by TV channels as well. You should have done some research before you wrote the blog about this subject. Having the best of connections available, I have confirmed the story on borderissues.us is accurate. Your criticism of the sheriff who dosn’t qualify as a specialist is wrong also. ANY sheriff in Arizona is deeply effected by the activities on the border. I think the quality of your journalistic acuity is exhibited when you refer to Fox personality Megyn Kelly as a “bimbo”. Perhaps you didn’t know that she has a law degree and clerked for a supreme court justice. Incidentally, it wasn’t she who you saw on the TV News break. She was off that day and a substitute broadcaster was used…..to you, just another “blond bimbo”. To the rest of the world, an accomplished TV Journalist. You might consider correcting your blog because it is quickly becoming known as a laughing point.

  5. James McPherson said

    “The BNR had a small slice of it claimed off limits three years ago. Now the whole park has been designated as such. ”

    Sorry, Desert Man, but that’s just wrong. From the BNR’s own webpage (http://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/arizona/buenosaires/):

    “Recently there were reports in the news stating that the Buenos Aries National Wildlife Refuge was closed. This information is not correct. In early 2006, a small section of land (about 3% of the refuge) along the border was closed to visitation. However, no new restrictions are in place and the majority of the refuge remains open. Today, we are seeing a decline in violent activity in the southern most area thanks to ongoing cooperation between the US Fish and Wildlife Service and US Customs and Border Protection. The Refuge will reopen the lands along the border at such time that it is determined to be safe for visitors.”

    “Incidentally, it wasn’t she who you saw on the TV News break.” You may be right–I’ll double-check the video when I get a chance, and if so I’ll correct it. It can be hard to keep the Fox Barbies apart, at times. Thanks for the comment.

  6. James McPherson said

    You are right about it not being Kelly–even though the piece starts with her name on the screen rather than that of the sub.

    As for her law degree, that also describes President Obama, the First Lady and a big part of Congress. I trust you have as much regard for their intelligence as you do Kelly’s.

    “You might consider correcting your blog because it is quickly becoming known as a laughing point.”

    I should be so lucky, that it’s becoming known at all. But thanks for the confidence in my impact.

  7. jhofford30 said

    James, there 12 million illegal immigrants in the US. 12 million. They are smuggling drugs, weapons, other immigrants, basically anything they can fit in their pants or their cars. Now, you’re an intelligent man, wouldn’t you think that if the border laws were good enough and doing the job than Arizona wouldn’t need a tougher law? Let’s say your kid is misbehaving. You’d start out with something small like yelling. If that didn’t work, you’d up the ante and maybe give him a time out or something. If that still doesn’t work, you take away his toys. See, you get progressively tougher until the child behaves. Same concept with the immigration. The laws we have now aren’t working so we are toughening them up. People like you say the new Arizona law is “stupid” or “racist”. Apparently you don’t care if we have squatters on our turf that we work hard to protect. James, these fence jumpers are bringing their crime into our homeland and we need laws like Arizona’s to stop or drastically reduce the violence. I support the law 100% not because I’m a xenophobic Mexican-hater but because I don’t like seeing our nation abused and taken advantage of. That’s what the illegal immigrants are doing, abusing our nation. If they want to live here, fine. Do it the legal way and we won’t have an issue.

    Opinions Uncensored

  8. James McPherson said

    In fact, it might be argued that undocumented aliens have done us far more good than harm, and that the new law may make crime worse, not better. I’ve written about that previously (one of the links imbedded in the piece above is one example), and frankly I don’t know for sure which is true (and neither do you, of course).

    But I am pretty confident that if we really wanted to stop illegal immigration, the easiest way to do so would be to jail and/or heavily fine those who employ them, rather than asking police to play “spot the illegal.”

    Of course I’m equally confident that legislators won’t ever pass such a law, because some of their biggest donors are those (corporate farms, the construction industry, etc.) who benefit most from the cheap labor offered by immigrants.

    And a lot of Americans would start screaming if the price of food, hotels, etc. dramatically increased because of the loss of that labor. Just think about the whining when our gas hit $4 per gallon–making it still about the cheapest in the Western world. Thanks for the comment.

  9. jhofford30 said

    I’m confident there are more than enough out- of-work american citizens to replace the “cheap labor” provided by the illegal immigrants. Unemployment is still at an all time high and I think someone who really wants a job to support his/her family wouldn’t mind doing construction work. Instead it’s the people here against the law that get the work. At least if we cut down on the number of illegals, the people that are here obeying the law and being upright citizens will have a chance at some jobs.

  10. jc12570 said

    Mr. McPherson,

    I have lived in southern AZ since 1964, when I was 12 years old. I grew up loving the multi-cultural, diverse way of life we have here.

    I honor the Hispanic traditions and have gladly adopted many of the parts of their culture that have been imprinted on this community.

    I have also hiked and motorcycled through many of the back roads and deserts in our unique and beautiful Sonoran desert.

    Let me give you a different take on our plight down here. Suppose for just a minute that we totally ignore all of the “immigration” issues that can be argued back and forth. Let’s leave the “high moral arguments” out of this for just the sake of this discussion.

    Here are some facts for review:

    Our border with Mexico is over 2000 miles long. 365 miles of it are in Arizona. Estimates are that fully half of the illegal drug trade between Mexico and the US is coming in through AZ.

    It is also estimated that 50% of illegal immigration is also being funneled through that same 365 miles. Again, we’re not talking about immigration here, just the statistics. With conservative estimates of 12 to 15 million “undocumented workers” in the US at this time, it is easy to do the math and find out that over 6 million of those people came through our state.

    Much of that 365 miles is owned by the people of the US in the form of National Parks, but not all of it. Some of it is, and has been in private family ranches for generations.

    I know some of these folks. I know people who have had to put gates on their land and signs in Spanish that say “Please do not cut our fences, Use the gate.” I know people who will not walk on their own land unarmed because of the danger of running into armed drug smugglers.

    There are now uniformed Mexican soldiers being seen north of the border on a regular basis. The drug cartels have been photographed grading dirt roads that they use for transport right after a rain. There are more and more “military style” groups of armed smugglers driving and walking into AZ while our Federal government announces that the borders are safer than ever before.

    The new signs that have been posted in AZ are 80 miles north of the border. 80 miles. North of Tucson, the home of over 3/4 million law abiding residents.

    Would it be ok to post the same sign within 80 miles of New York, or Boston, or Portland? Would you support the cessation of the human caused damage to one of our National Wilderness Areas if it was in the Pacific Northwest?

    Would you support the property rights of the people in your neighborhood if over 250 illegals cut your fence and walked through your property every day? And if while they were walking through Cape Cod, if they just threw their old backpacks, diapers, water bottles, toilet paper and human excrement on the beaches there? What if it took a rolloff commercial trash bin to put all the garbage in every week on your property?

    What if the beautiful small town you grew up in had become rife with home invasions, drug murders, and kidnappings? What if your state paid some of the highest car insurance rates in the country due to the incredibly high rate of cars being stolen and driven to Mexico.

    How do you feel about murders and rapes being committed by “undocumented workers” who have been caught and released as many as nine times prior.

    This issue is not just about the rights of poor undocumented workers. It is about equal protection under the law for all of our citizens.

    It is about the complete failure of the Federal government under multiple administrations to do what must be done. What would be done if this situation was happening almost anywhere else on either of our coasts?

    Would you want that stuff to happen where you live?

    Mr. McPherson, it is too easy to speak in global generalities about “comprehensive immigration reform”. Speak to us of how we can live safely in our homes while the rule of law is ignored.

    Speak to us of OUR human rights that are being trampled while you decry the plight of the immigrants. Tell me how you would feel if your wife could no longer ride horses in the desert she loves because their are armed foreign cartels operating in our neighborhood.

    I could go on and on, but I’m interested in your reasoned discourse on how you would protect “me”, a law abiding, non-racist, US citizen.

    Doesn’t “sealing the border” come to mind?

  11. James McPherson said

    Jhofford30 and jc12570, thanks for your thoughtful comments. You may recall, of course, that John McCain said during the last presidential campaign that Americans wouldn’t pick lettuce for $50 per hour. Hard to believe he lost, huh? 🙂

    Believe it or not, as someone who lived in Arizona for five years and whose brother and son both have lived in Tucson for decades (interestingly, they have opposite views on your new law, further illustrating the complexity of the issue), I can relate to many of the concerns expressed here. I also live now in a city (Spokane) that has been heavily impacted in some similar ways by the meth crisis.

    So yes, “sealing the border” does come to mind for me. And then is rejected as an impractical solution. As long as there is a huge American demand for illegal drugs and cheap labor, there will be border issues.

    So how to address those issues? As noted above, if we really wanted to stop illegal immigration, the easiest way to do so would be to jail and/or heavily fine those who employ them, rather than asking police to play “spot the illegal.” And legalizing drugs might help with the demand issue.

    But as I’ve also said elsewhere, I don’t think legislators will ever approve either of those ideas, in large part because some of their biggest donors are those (corporate farms, the construction industry, etc.) who benefit most from the cheap labor offered by immigrants.

    Sadly it’s much easier, even if much less effective, to demonize migrants and to pretend that we can keep out the things that so many of us apparently think we can’t live without. Thanks again.

  12. jc12570 said

    Thank you for your personal history. It adds perspective. But your conclusions are simply not supportable.

    Putting strong sanctions on non-complying business (something I support BTW), will do nothing to stop the drug cartels from freely operating in the United States.

    It will do nothing to stop the tens of thousands of criminals who travel freely with hundreds of thousands of “honest” illegals. It will do nothing to make our ranchers safer on their own land.

    This criminal element exists. All who cross our borders are not here to participate as good members in our society.

  13. James McPherson said

    “will do nothing to stop the drug cartels from freely operating in the United States”

    Of course your state’s new law won’t either. But these issues related to the “criminal element” are why I mentioned legalization. As long as there’s a huge market for illegal drugs, there will be drug cartels and related border violence.

  14. jhofford30 said

    Legalizing drugs could quite possibly be the most destructive thing we could do. Overdoses would increase. As well as traffic accidents which would drive up insurance costs which would lead to cost of food going up because less businesses would be able to afford the insurance cost. Suicides, teen pregnancies, abortions would all go up. The list goes on and on. Drug legalization is far and away worse than booting the “undocumented workers” out of our country.

    We need to give the jobs to the law abiding citizens, not the people that are here against the law. There are millions of unemployed Americans out there. We need to worry about our citizens not Mexico’s.

  15. […] you’d like to see the whole conversation as well as Mr. McPherson’s blog click here. Categories: OpinioNation, Politics Tags: arizona, arizona border, arizona immigration, drug […]

  16. James McPherson said

    “We need to give the jobs to the law abiding citizens, not the people that are here against the law. There are millions of unemployed Americans out there.”

    I don’t disagree at all, assuming we can find Americans who will pick lettuce, make beds, tend gardens, etc., and make people pay them a living wage. Which, again, is why the best answer for curtailing immigration is to punish those who hire them. If there are no jobs to come to, the workers have no reason to come.

  17. […] into a biased story designed to make the administration look bad, of course–that’s what the network does. This is at least twice from the same Matt Drudge spinoff; the first was the much more widespread […]

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