Media Matters Action Network has released an excellent new report called Fear & Loathing on Prime Time: Immigration Myths and Cable News, which documents how Lou Dobbs, Bill O’Reilly, and Glenn Beck propagate anti-immigrant myths on CNN and Fox News. Media Matters has also launched a petition asking Dobbs, etc., to stop the anti-immigrant hysteria.

Media Matters’s video posted below shows how Dobbs, O’Reilly, and Beck create false impressions that undocumented immigrants cause crime and constitute an economic drain on American society, and legitimize urban legends like the NAFTA Super Highway, the “North American Union,” the “Reconquista” of the American Southwest, mass voter fraud by undocumented immigrants, and the spread of leprosy by immigrants.

In Fear and Loathing, Media Matters busts these myths and legends, and calls out Dobbs in particular on irresponsible journalism. One example from Fear and Loathing points out how, in October of 2006, Dobbs reported that “just about a third of the prison population in this country is estimated to be illegal aliens.” But according to the Justice Department, noncitizen prisoners (including documented and undocumented), account for only 5.9% of the prison population. In truth, the incarceration rate is five times higher for the native-born than for the foreign-born.

To see more of Dobbs, O’Reilly, and Beck’s anti-immigrant urban legends busted, check out the Fear and Loathing report, available in both English and Spanish. It’s a fascinating and disturbing twenty pages.

The petition launched by Media Matters calls for Dobbs, O’Reilly, and Beck to “stop feeding anti-immigrant hysteria by repeating myths and misleading claims about undocumented immigrants.” Furthermore, the petition calls for CNN and Fox News “to step up and provide the American public with a fair and accurate portrayal of immigration issues.” Click Here to Sign the Petition.

To conclude, I’ll leave you with a minute and forty-five seconds of Paul Waldman and Dobbs going head-to-head on Dobb’s reporting of the alleged NAFTA SuperHighway, followed by the Security and Prosperity Partnership Of North America’s official statement on the subject.


Myth: The U.S. Government, working though the SPP, has a secret plan to build a “NAFTA Super Highway.”

Fact: The U.S. government is not planning a NAFTA Super Highway. The U.S. government does not have the authority to designate any highway as a NAFTA Super Highway, nor has it sought such authority, nor is it planning to seek such authority. There are private and state level interests planning highway projects which they themselves describe as “NAFTA Corridors,” but these are not Federally-driven initiatives, and they are not a part of the SPP.

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Lisa Swanson

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