This week Media Matters released a study of Fox News' framing of immigration titled On Fox News, Immigrants Are Synonymous With Criminality, which showed without a doubt how Fox News' "fair and balanced" reporting discusses immigrants and immigrant issues through the lens of criminality.
For this study they looked at the topics discussed by guests on Fox News shows between two historical dates in 2011: April 13, 2010, when Gov. Jan Brewer signed Arizona's anti-immigrant S.B. 1070, and June 9, 2011, when Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley followed suit by signing arguably the most heinous anti-immigrant law in the U.S.
Looking at almost 1,700 appearances over several months, Media Matters analyzed what aspects of immigration were discussed. The results show the staggeringly unbalanced coverage of enforcement and crime over policy and substantive changes to immigrants' lives.
This doesn't surprise us. We know from experience that Fox is extremely generous with the i-word and we are constantly reminded of the ways in which this network dehumanizes by spewing anti-immigrant rhetoric. But Media Matters took this information and captured it in easy-to-read graphics. See for yourself (click image below for full report and graphs).
When discussing immigration, guests on Fox News shows spent a measly 22% of their time on comprehensive immigration reform, the DREAM Act, education or labor issues, while the other whopping 78% of the time on border security, immigration enforcement and crime. And while we know that Fox will claim that they are not responsible for their guests' comments, Media Matters notes that much of this unbalance can be attributed to the shows hosts' prompting questions to their guests.
This study helps to demonstrate how many work to frame the debate about immigration in negative ways and highlights how important the Drop the I-Word campaign is. When we work to get others to drop the i-word, we encourage the respectful and humanizing dialogue about immigrants. Thanks to Media Matters for this new resource!
During that time period, according to our data, of the 1,697 guest appearances (most of whom took anti-immigrant positions or held anti-immigrant views) 69 percent were prompted to discuss border security or other immigration enforcement measures.