Jul 1 2010

Defending Arizona

Pundits scramble to justify anti-immigrant law

When Arizona passed a patently unconstitutional law, SB 1070, requiring residents to prove their citizenship to any suspicious police officer, the state did not lack for defenders in the corporate press. One of the first out of the box was George Will, who concluded his April 28 Washington Post column with this observation: Arizonans should not be judged disdainfully and from a distance by people whose closest contacts with Hispanics are with fine men and women who trim their lawns and put plates in front of them at restaurants, not with illegal immigrants passing through their back yards at 3 […]

Jun 4 2010

Where Is O’Reilly’s Anti-Immigration Retraction?

Fox News host Bill O’Reilly has repeatedly cited one reason to support Arizona’s harsh new anti-immigrant law: the state’s exploding crime rate. As FAIR documented in a May 17 Action Alert, there is no such crime wave in the state. What’s more, most research shows that immigrants tend to commit less crime than the population at large. The day after the FAIR alert, O’Reilly (5/18/10) was still at it, declaring that “crime in Arizona is up.” When his guest, Cathy Areu of Catalina magazine, pointed out that the El Paso “is one of the safest cities in the United States”– […]

May 17 2010

Stop O’Reilly’s Immigrant Crime Slurs

Blaming immigrants for nonexistent Arizona crime wave

Fox News Channel host Bill O’Reilly has repeatedly singled out one reason to support Arizona’s draconian new immigration law: the state’s exploding crime rate. But there is no documented crime wave in Arizona, and O’Reilly’s attempt to link immigrants to crime is equally unfounded. O’Reilly’s record of overheated rhetoric is clear: —May 3: “Arizona had to do something. In the capital city, Phoenix, crime’s 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.” —May 4: “The Arizona authorities say we’re desperate. We don’t have the […]

May 7 2010

Gabriel Arana on immigration, Ron Daniels on Henry Louis Gates


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Arizona’s new immigration law has sparked national protests and a renewed political discussion about something usually called “comprehensive reform.” What that means is unclear, but the discussion about immigration seems to have moved to the right in some fundamental ways. Gabriel Arana from the American Prospect will join us to talk about that shift, and also how media depictions of border crime and violence are related to this political shift. Also on CounterSpin today, when Harvard African Studies professor Henry Louis Gates published a New York Times op-ed arguing against reparations for slavery, because […]

Apr 30 2010

Marcie Keever on oil spill, Alessandra Soler Meetze on Arizona SB 1070


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: April 29 headlines suggest the oil spill from the explosion of a Deepwater Horizon oil rig may be as much as 5 times larger than originally predicted. But according to some media observers, TV news anyway, has kept the focus on the disaster story, and the human story, but the “What does or should this mean for increasing offcoast oil drilling story?” Not so much. How might journalists be connecting those dots? We’ll hear from Marcie Keever, Clean Vessels Campaign Director at the group Friends of the Earth. Also on CounterSpin today, It wasn’t […]

Jan 1 2010

Hasta la Vista, Lou Dobbs

Immigrant-bashing ex-CNN host eyes next move

Lou Dobbs--Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/roberthuffstutter

On November 11, Lou Dobbs abruptly quit his CNN program, bringing a sudden end to a television program most notable for its remarkably one-sided presentation of immigration issues. Since 2003, Dobbs regularly used his CNN platform to issue misleading and alarmist warnings about the threats posed by unauthorized immigrants. Dobbs has spoken of an “army of invaders” scheming to reannex parts of the southwestern U.S. to Mexico (3/31/06), claimed that “illegal alien smugglers and drug traffickers are on the verge of ruining some of our national treasures” (11/19/03) and declared that “the invasion of illegal aliens is threatening the health […]

May 1 2009

Marketing the Media’s ‘Toughest Sheriff’

Joe Arpaio hyped by cable, exposed by locals

The East Valley Tribune’s Pulitzer-winning series (7/9-13/08) exposing the soaring crime rates that followed from Maricopa County (Ariz.) Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s redeployment of law enforcement resources into a campaign against undocumented immigrants (see Extra! 6/1/09) offers a fine example of journalism holding the powerful to account. It’s a model of journalism that has been all too rare in much of the news coverage of the official who—often with the help of cable news outlets—markets himself as “America’s toughest sheriff.” Under Arpaio’s leadership, Maricopa County, which includes the Phoenix metropolitan area, has faced record numbers of lawsuits and has had to […]

May 1 2009

Arpaio vs. Immigrants

Those most affected left out of debate

As the country braces for another attempt at immigration reform on Capitol Hill later this year, it’s likely that we’ll see plenty more of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, his supporters and his detractors in the media. But if the past year is any indication, we may not hear from the people that are most affected by the Maricopa County, Ariz. sheriff’s policies—those who have been racially profiled, regardless of their immigration status. Arpaio, who has been in office 16 years, bills himself as “America’s Toughest Sheriff.” (Extra! 6/1/09) Denounced for brutal and unconstitutional practices by human rights advocates for more than […]