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Bill O’Reilly Smears Harold Hurtt As Supporter Of “Sanctuary Cities” – Again!

Reported by Priscilla - June 28, 2010 -

I guess in Bill O’Reilly's propaganda book, the more that you repeat the lie, the more folks will believe it. As I detailed, in my last post, there is a myth circulating in the right wing nativist crowd that new ICE official, Harold Hurtt, is a supporter of “sanctuary cities.” In addition to Fox & Friends making this unfounded claim, Bill O’Reilly did the same thing – twice. The notion that Houston is a “sanctuary city,” in which a policy was promulgated that prohibited police from questioning immigration status, was strongly denied by Houston’s mayor, Hurtt, and Bob Rutt, special agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Houston who asserted that "Houston is not a sanctuary city, by the definition. They do cooperate with us." Mr. Hurtt has detailed the efforts of his department to cooperate with ICE. But this isn’t enough for Bill O’Reilly who is determined to smear Mr. Hurtt by any means necessary.

In his Talking Points Memo on last Friday’s “Factor,” Bill claimed, as he did in his discussion with Dana Perino and Leslie Marshall, that “Harold Hurtt, a former police chief in both Houston and Phoenix is outwardly sympathetic to illegal aliens. As chief, he refused to enforce federal immigration law. Now Hurtt is a federal immigration official? Come on. That's insane.”

Comment: What is insane is the repetition, by Bill, that Hurtt is a supporter of “sanctuary cities” – a term originally used by communities “that gave shelter to victims of political violence” many of whom were sheltered by local churches. The Congressional Research Institute defined “sanctuary city” as a place where authorities don’t cooperate with ICE and designated a number of cities as “sanctuary cities” – a designation disputed by some cities on the list. But the term has been appropriated by the nativist right wing to identify places that don’t persecute and prosecute illegal immigrants according to their standards and is now an accepted part of their lexicon. In attacking the mayor and police chief of Virginia City, O’Reilly claimed, in 2007, that Virginia Beach was a “sanctuary city” because an illegal immigrant, who was responsible for the traffic deaths of two teens, hadn’t been turned into ICE. The police policy, at the time, forbad asking immigration status because they felt that such a policy encourges illegal immigrants to report crimes without fear of retribution. O’Reilly is now following the propaganda being promoted in the right wing blogosphere and in an article on the Fox News website which claim that Hurtt “supports sanctuary cities” because he he “criticized ICE's key program that draws on local law enforcement's support.” Not mentioned, in Fox’s article, is that Hurtt objected to the 287 (g) program, which trains local law enforcement to assist with ICE immigration screening, because of resource issues, “concerns about officers in the field concentrating their efforts and resources on the enforcement of immigration," and, as in Virginia Beach, concerns that illegals would be reluctant to report crimes. The city eventually went with another ICE program which runs fingerprint identifications and one which Hurtt supported and enforced.

As noted by Betsi Grabe, a telecommunications professor at Indiana University who co-authored a study of Bill’s “Talking Points Memo,” Bill is a “name caller” who “really likes to frame issues as fearful, as life- threatening." Using standards from the Institute for Propaganda Analysis, she and her co-authors determined that O’Reilly provides “more incidents of propaganda per minute than some of the folks who were investigated in the '30s and '40s." While this was done several years ago, it seems the more things change, the more they remain the same in that, at the time, illegal aliens and terrorists topped Bill’s list of evil doers. Grebe's description of Bill's "Talking Points," as name calling propaganda, certainly holds true for this latest bit of bloviation. But if Bill thinks that Houston is a “sanctuary city,” he should read an article in the “Houston Catholic Worker” (Catholic Bill probably isn’t on board with the Church on immigration) which seems to run counter to Bill’s myth of Houston as a “sanctuary city.” I guess both Bill and George Costanza believe that “it’s not a lie if you believe it.”

Addendum: It seems that our favorite Fox lovers are saying that because the Congressional Research Organization identified Houston as a "sanctuary city," it is therefore true. As I noted, there is strong disagreement, in Houston, with this label. And so far, Bill has offered no proof, other than what comes out of his you know what, that Mr. Hurtt "supported" the notion of a policy soft on illegal immigration which seems to be the basis for the "sanctuary city" appellation. Hurtt, as do many Arizona police, had issues with police being directly involved in immigration issues. The Fox article also failed to prove that Mr. Hurtt supports "sanctuary cities." And word to "Grammie" - the Arizona Law Enforcement Association is a very right wing, nativist organization which just endorsed JD Hayworth for Senate. A little bias there?


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Categories: Immigration, O'Reilly Factor, Partisanship in News, Personal Attacks, Priscilla's Ponderings, Radical Right, Unfair & Unbalanced
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