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E. D. Hill Misrepresents Facts During Interview with Michael Chertoff. He Does Not Correct Her.

Reported by Marie Therese - November 7, 2007 -

Yesterday morning (November 6, 2007) during a discussion about immigration on America's Pulse. anchor E. D. Hill prefaced her interview with Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff by saying "From a national security standpoint the problem is that we need to know who is here, since we remember that the majority of terrorists who attacked us on 9-11 were here illegally and we didn't know it." She then introduced Mr. Chertoff. The only problem is that Ms. Hill was not telling the truth and the DHS Secretary did nothing to correct her. With video.

The conservative immigration site Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) reports thusly on the immigration status of the 19 hijackers prior to the attacks of 9-11:

According to authorities, all of the hijackers who committed the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks were foreigners. All of them entered the country legally on a temporary visa, mostly tourist visas with entry permits for six months. Although four of them attended flight school in the United States, only one is known to have entered on an appropriate visa for such study, and one entered on an F-1 student visa. Besides the four pilots, all but one of the terrorists entered the United States only once and had been in the country for only three to five months before the attacks.

The four pilots had been in the United States for extended periods, although none was a legal permanent resident. Some had received more than one temporary visa, most of which were currently valid on September 11, but at least three of them had fallen out of status and were, therefore, in the United States illegally.

E. D. Hill's claim that "most" of the 9-11 hijackers were here illegally is not true. Only three of the 19 had fallen "out of status." Last time I looked, three of 19 is not a "majority."

However, egregious as Ms. Hill's statement was, what I found more disturbing was Michael Chertoff's silence on the subject. He certainly knew that she had made an error yet did not see fit to correct the record, thus giving tacit approval to Ms. Hill's factually incorrect statement.

This is exactly how it's done on FOX News - and to a lesser extent in much of our media today. A clear historical fact is distorted and never questioned even by those who are supposed to know these things.

At best, it's sloppy, shoddy journalism.

At its worst, it's deliberate distortion of historical information to create a false impression.

The remainder of the interview was a subtle dig at the Department of Homeland Security because it didn't crack down on New York Governor Eliot Spitzer's campaign to grant drivers' licenses to undocumented workers in his state. Chertoff indicated very clearly that he did what he could to dissuade Gov. Spitzer but said that there were legislative and Supreme Court decisions limiting his authority over the sovereign state of New York. Hill made it very clear during and after the interview that she was less than pleased with his response.

After Secretary Chertoff signed off, she pandered to her largely white conservative audience by making snide comments that "illegals" were getting more benefits that her viewers, good Americans all. Her misrepresentations about in-state tuition vs out-of-state costs are classic FOX News hype. Hill conflated two different kinds of tuition for colleges then made it look like somehow "real" Americans were getting the short of the stick.