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Thursday, 17 June 2010 08:48

Arizona: FOX’s Favorite Victim of a State

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BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS
by Jeffrey Joseph

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The recent speech given by President Obama highlighted the suffering of Louisiana and the rest of the states bordering the Gulf, so one would expect most national news to cover that particularly injured area of the Gulf. Many on FOX did find it appropriate to comment on the oil spill and President Obama’s comments on it, mostly to come to BP’s defense, but leave it to FOX not to forget Arizona, one of its continued favorite subjects for its willful misinformation, to create controversy out of thin air to add to those already plaguing the state.

FOX hosts have shown time and again an uneasiness with the proximity Arizona has with the nation of Mexico. Whether deriding ethnic studies or creating horribly biased juxtapositions to make Latino protesters of the recent Arizona immigration legislation look violent compared to noticeably whiter Tea Party crowds, FOX regularly incites fear of the neighboring nation. Playing on that fear, America Live host Shannon Bream and FOX Nation coupled to create a new controversy about a strip of land near the border because, as Bream put it, “A massive stretch of Arizona now off limits to Americans — critics say the administration is, in effect, giving a major strip of the Southwest back to Mexico.”

As any reasonable onlooker must conclude, the story sounds too outlandish to have any ounce of verified truth. A little bit of fact checking totally repudiated FOX’s broadcast. For one, that “massive stretch” Bream complained about apparently covers only around five miles, a “massive” amount for someone to walk unaided in the desert, perhaps, but not all that large when discussing handing tracts of land over to a foreign nation. In fact, the part of the refuge in question covers “less than 0.03%” of the refuge, this according to Bonnie Swarbrick, spokesperson for the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge. Indeed, that wildlife refuge land has remained closed to the public for some time, specifically since October of 2006, which hardly puts the blame on some insidious plot by the Obama Administration, but the idea that anyone has given that land to Mexico simply has no basis in fact.

To enhance the scare tactics, FOX even included an image of the map indicating the relatively minuscule amount of land in question outlined in the same color as the U.S.-Mexico border, leaving viewers to conflate the two, with the much larger area of the rest of the refuge indicated in a totally different color and making the area at stake appear much larger than it really is. The tactic would shock if not for FOX’s long history of willfully and dishonestly misrepresenting facts and figures to further the network’s agenda.

People can expect no less than stories made out of whole cloth from a network like FOX. When its hosts fail to portray Arizona as the victim of liberal attacks so it can raise funds to defend the controversial legislation Arizona created and that incited the attacks in the first place, other hosts can mislead the public to believe President Obama has grown so sympathetic to Mexico that he would redraw the borders to cater to the U.S. neighbors to the south.

Viewers should demand some level of credibility in their news networks. FOX has illustrated that its claim months ago that it would discipline anyone who would intentionally air inaccurate footage was little more than a PR stunt, as its hosts and various contributors continue to do just that on a daily basis. FOX should have to earn the “news” title with at least some modicum of journalistic standards in its broadcasting before subjecting the world to its hyper-conservative slant, or at least be honest about said slant — and in the meatime, viewers should look to Turn Off FOX.

Please send in tips and success stories to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , look out for us on Twitter @turnofffox, and join us at BuzzFlash in the Campaign to Turn Off FOX News. And please forward this article to a friend. You can drive the message home by obtaining a Turn Off FOX Bumper Sticker. Just Click Here.

The recent speech given by President Obama highlighted the suffering of Louisiana and the rest of the states bordering the Gulf, so one would expect most national news to cover that particularly injured area of the Gulf. Many on FOX did find it appropriate to comment on the oil spill and President Obama’s comments on it, mostly to come to BP’s defense, but leave it to FOX not to forget Arizona, one of its continued favorite subjects for its willful misinformation, to create controversy out of thin air to add to those already plaguing the state.

FOX hosts have shown time and again an uneasiness with the proximity Arizona has with the nation of Mexico. Whether deriding ethnic studies or creating horribly biased juxtapositions to make Latino protesters of the recent Arizona immigration legislation look violent compared to noticeably whiter Tea Party crowds, FOX regularly incites fear of the neighboring nation. Playing on that fear, America Live host Shannon Bream and FOX Nation coupled to create a new controversy about a strip of land near the border because, as Bream put it, “A massive stretch of Arizona now off limits to Americans — critics say the administration is, in effect, giving a major strip of the Southwest back to Mexico.”

As any reasonable onlooker must conclude, the story sounds too outlandish to have any ounce of verified truth. A little bit of fact checking totally repudiated FOX’s broadcast. For one, that “massive stretch” Bream complained about apparently covers only around five miles, a “massive” amount for someone to walk unaided in the desert, perhaps, but not all that large when discussing handing tracts of land over to a foreign nation. In fact, the part of the refuge in question covers “less than 0.03%” of the refuge, this according to Bonnie Swarbrick, spokesperson for the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge. Indeed, that wildlife refuge land has remained closed to the public for some time, specifically since October of 2006, which hardly puts the blame on some insidious plot by the Obama Administration, but the idea that anyone has given that land to Mexico simply has no basis in fact.

To enhance the scare tactics, FOX even included an image of the map indicating the relatively minuscule amount of land in question outlined in the same color as the U.S.-Mexico border, leaving viewers to conflate the two, with the much larger area of the rest of the refuge indicated in a totally different color and making the area at stake appear much larger than it really is. The tactic would shock if not for FOX’s long history of willfully and dishonestly misrepresenting facts and figures to further the network’s agenda.

People can expect no less than stories made out of whole cloth from a network like FOX. When its hosts fail to portray Arizona as the victim of liberal attacks so it can raise funds to defend the controversial legislation Arizona created and that incited the attacks in the first place, other hosts can mislead the public to believe President Obama has grown so sympathetic to Mexico that he would redraw the borders to cater to the U.S. neighbors to the south.

Viewers should demand some level of credibility in their news networks. FOX has illustrated that its claim months ago that it would discipline anyone who would intentionally air inaccurate footage was little more than a PR stunt, as its hosts and various contributors continue to do just that on a daily basis. FOX should have to earn the “news” title with at least some modicum of journalistic standards in its broadcasting before subjecting the world to its hyper-conservative slant, or at least be honest about said slant — and in the meatime, viewers should look to Turn Off FOX.

Please send in tips and success stories to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , look out for us on Twitter @turnofffox, and join us at BuzzFlash in the Campaign to Turn Off FOX News. And please forward this article to a friend. You can drive the message home by obtaining a Turn Off FOX Bumper Sticker. Just Click Here.

Originally posted at Turn Off FOX.

BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS