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FOX's Tony Snow ratcheting up fear of Mexicans

Reported by Chrish - April 6, 2006

Tony Snow guest hosted The O'Reilly Factor tonight 4/5/06. The top story was supposedly about "religious leaders across the country weighing in on this very debate, demanding immigration reforms based on Christian values and human rights". The graphic behind Snow had the Capitol dome, a silhouette of a man climbing a razor-wire topped fence, and a Christian cross. This first brief segment seemed intended to pull in that audience for the following "fear" segment.

Comment: Such pandering. FOX must know, but not care, that so-called "Christian values" are universal to good decent people of all belief systems. Christians don't have a lock on compassion, caring, charity, and kindness, and from what some of their most prominent leaders say and do, they don't all practice what they preach.

Video played of LA Catholic Cardinal Mahoneyleading his congregation in prayers for just and humane legislation from both the House and the Senate. Snow reminded us that Mahoney had recently called upon his priests to disobey any law that criminalizes helping "illegals."

Democratic Senators Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton were shown in video clips, defending the church's stance (TK) and deploring the proposal to criminalize those who offer a helping hand to those in need (HRC).

Both guests who followed, Cecelia Munoz from the National Council of La Raza and Reverend Luiz Cortez of Esperanza USA, were both advocates for comprehensive immigration reform that would allow the (7 million? 9 million? 12 million? I've heard each one of those numbers - who knows which is most accurate) undocumented immigrants already here to become legal citizens.

Snow's questions were designed to instill fear of immigrants, especially Mexican immigrants. He repeatedly referred to strangers in our midst, which term Cortez had introduced in the context of religious imperatives to give aid, but Snow had them carrying Mexican flags (or flags of other nationalities) and wanting to re-take parts of the country, seeking racial and national separation. He mentioned MEChA, an extremist organization that doesn't really factor into this debate except to smear protesters as radicals and threats to real Americans and says that's a real irritant to people who might otherwise be sympathetic.

When Cortez dismissed this fringe group as minor and addressed a bigger issue, that is, that being in the US without documentation is NOT a felony as so many think but rather a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000, Snow became insistent that he talk about the separatists. Again Cortez turned the tables, saying the national separatism he sees is people wanting to exclude a lot of people, changing the traditions of this country. Snow, cutting him off, whining, says, please, just help me out here! You know who I'm talking about and you know what I'm talking about - please answer that one! It was like watching Sean Hannity but without the finesse.

Cortez defended their right to march with those flags, and assured everyone that the threats to take back land are spoken in self-defense and we know that's not going to happen. He'd prefer they amrched with American flags as all they really want is to be integrated into American life.

Not discerning between the literal and the figurative , Snow wonders why, since no one is shooting at the marchers and the protests have been peaceful, immigrants feel like they're under assault. Munoz fielded that, saying that the House passed legislation that made all these hard-working people felons and they're offended. Snow immediately referred to a letter sent today from House leadership that blames Democrats for obstructing removal of the offending portion of the bill. Snow verbalized the assumption that it is Republicans who are the target of both guests' ire, and Munoz reminded him that the bill containing the passage that upped undocumented presence from a misdemeanor to an aggravated felony was passed with overwhelming Republican support.

Calling his guest by the wrong name, Snow asks Cortez what does he say to reach out rather than to smack people who disagree with you, Tom Tancredo and others, who say they're worried about border security and want to put up a wall, what do you say to them that shows outreach on your part? Cortez says they don't have a problem with addressing border security but that it has to be done in a comprehensive manner, not just shut down the border and hunt down 12 million people. Snow dismisses that last comment saying everyone knows we're not going to hunt them down, which gets raised eyebrows from Ms. Munoz.

Comment: What an obviously hostile interview! Snow had his copy of the letter at the ready to blame Democrats, which has become laughable recently when the Republicans own everything. Tom Tancredo' portrait was shown again - is he positioning for something?

And I have to comment on the video we've all seen by now of men climbing over the wall - maybe if it wasn't built like a freaking ladder people wouldn't be so tempted to climb it. If you're going to build a barrier fence, make it smooth and don't give them footholds! Jeez!

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