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Fox & Friends’ Gretchen Carlson Validates Illegals Are Murderers Meme

Reported by Priscilla - May 6, 2010 -

In November, I reported that former Miss America and perky blonde Fox “Friend,” Gretchen Carlson, interviewed the father of a 9-11 victim whose request to have “murdered by Muslim terrorists,” engraved on a 9-11 memorial in Connecticut, was rebuffed by the town council. It turned out that Peter Gadiel is a member of “9-11 Families for a Secure America Foundation” a group founded by the anti immigration and anti Hispanic group Federation for American Immigration Reform – an organization that is considered a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The "9-11 Families" website links to other nativist groups such as VDARE which is also classified, by the SPLC, as a hate group. The message of Gretch’s interview was part of the Fox narrative of scary, terrorist Islam. Flash forward to May 2010 and we have another member of the “9-11 Families for a Secure America Foundation” who would appear to be using the murder of his niece, by an illegal immigrant, to fight against illegal immigration and to promote the Arizona immigration law. Not surprisingly, Gretchen Carlson was there to help in the exploitation which reinforced the xenophobic, Fox/right wing narrative about scary, criminal, illegal aliens.

This morning, Gretch’s voice was very somber when she talked about how the “immigration debate is a passionate one” and for Ed Kowalski, a “very personal one.” While she described how Kowalski’s niece was only 17 when she was “brutally murdered by an illegal immigrant,” she showed a photo and said “look at that beautiful child.” She almost sighed when she softly said “for Ed it’s not about politics” (Really?) or “being politically correct” (Gretch hates that), "it’s simply about safety.” She introduced Kowalski who is a board member of his nativist group. In describing his concern, Carlson said that “it stems all the way back to 9-11.” Gretch conveyed a requisite right wing talking point when she pointed out that Kowalski has said that if the 9-11 attackers hadn’t been able to easily obtain visas, thing would have been different. Kowalski said that the attackers were here illegally and that was because the government wasn’t enforcing immigration laws. Gretch kept “leading” with “you believe nothing much has changed and your family became a victim of this process in 2005 when your niece was taken from you be an illegal immigrant.” Kowalski said that the murderer is serving life in Attica. Gretch, in her best dramatic Miss America voice, validated another right wing talking point: “According to you, politicians seem be more concerned about the illegals rights than the rights of the Americans, some of whom end up dead.” (Gretch had her best “boy I am pissed about this look” as she finished that deep thought.) He provided a “staggering” statistic that 2200 Americans a year are murdered by criminal illegals. Carlson showed a graphic from "Family Securities Matters" which was an estimate and which is refuted by the facts. He then attacked Obama and Al Sharpton as “misguided” when they articulate fears of racial profiling. In using Obama’s example of how a parent, taking their child for ice cream, could be detained and deported, Kowalski claimed that a Colorado three year old was murdered, in an ice cream parlor, by an illegal. Gretch said that this was “an interesting dichotomy.” Kowalski wants Obama to “constitutionally uphold the rule of law.” He said that his experience with his organization shows that “we are all Arizonans,” because his website provides victims’ testimonies about crime by illegals and that the “rule of law needs to be enforced.”

Comment: While the brutal murder of Elizabeth Butler was heinous, it was not a random crime. Butler, 17, was the ex girlfriend of the 27 year old Ariel Menendez who was convicted of the crime. As Menendez had a prior arrest record, Kowalski feels that if he had been deported, the crime would not have happened. While I am sorry for the loss of Kowalski’s niece, I also find it inappropriate for him to be using this tragedy to paint illegal immigrants as a criminal class – a view that serves to further reinforce the xenophobia and nativism which creates a climate of ethnic hatred that ultimately leads to an increase in hate crimes against immigrants. The number of murders committed by illegal aliens, cited by Kowalski, is dubious as the FBI crime statistics don’t appear to include this category. Radical right wing nativist sites (like World Net Daily), however, claim to know the number (which varies) yet they don’t link to any official data. The myth that there is an illegal crime wave sweeping the nation is not borne out by facts. As noted by CATO, hardly “lefty,” “Census data show that immigrants are actually less likely to commit crimes than their native-born counterparts.” But you didn’t hear that from Gretchen Carlson because that wouldn’t work with the fear and loathing of illegal immigrants which “America’s Newsroom” loves to foster. Scapegoating is so much fun – “we all need somebody we can bleed on…”