Press Conference - Rep. Hilda Solis (CA-32)
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Uploaded on May 22, 2008
First elected in 2000, Congresswoman Hilda L. Solis is serving her fourth term in the U.S. House of Representatives. She represents California's 32nd Congressional District, which includes portions of East Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley. Prior to her election to Congress, Solis served eight years in the California state legislature. In August 2000, Solis became the first woman to receive the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award for her pioneering work on environmental justice issues in California. In 2003, she became the first Latina appointed to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.
Washington, D.C. -- Media Matters Action Network today released "Fear and Loathing in Prime Time: Immigration Myths and Cable News," a special report documenting the rhetoric surrounding illegal immigration heard almost daily on influential cable news channels. The report exposes how cable news overflows not only with vitriol regarding immigration, but also with a series of myths that feed viewers' unfounded resentments and fears. Leading the charge are CNN's Lou Dobbs, CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck, and Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, all of whom have played major roles in creating this anti-immigrant hysteria.
"This report shows in startling detail how Dobbs, Beck, and O'Reilly serve up a steady diet of fear, anger, and resentment on the subject of illegal immigration," said Karl Frisch, a spokesman for Media Matters Action Network. "When they aren't demonizing undocumented immigrants with misleading claims, this trio of cable news bullies is advancing baseless urban legends and wild accusations targeting the immigrant community. CNN and Fox News need to answer for this -- failure to do so would be the height of irresponsible journalism and a disservice to the American public."
The report discusses, in detail, two types of myths regarding immigration perpetuated on cable news. The first are the largest and most common myths, such as those about crime and undocumented immigrants, and the costs of illegal immigration in social services and taxes. The second are the urban legends, such as the purported conspiracy to take back the Southwest United States for Mexico and the supposed secret plan to construct a "NAFTA Superhighway" running from Canada to Mexico.
Media Matters Action Network's analysis focuses on Dobbs, O'Reilly, and Beck. While hosts on other cable programs regularly discuss illegal immigration (particularly on Fox News, where it is a frequent topic on Hannity & Colmes and Special Report with Brit Hume), Dobbs, O'Reilly, and Beck are the key offenders.
Among the hosts, Dobbs stands out as the most guilty of this recklessly irresponsible journalism. Fully 70 percent of the 2007 episodes of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight included discussion of illegal immigration.
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