FNC's Pinkerton Cites MRC on Holder & Napolitano Not Reading Arizona Immigration Law

On Saturday’s Fox News Watch, as the panel discussed revelations that Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano admitted to not having read the Arizona immigration law even as they criticized it publicly, FNC contributor Jim Pinkerton cited the Media Research Center, parent organization of NewsBusters, and passed on findings contained in the May 18 "Bozell Column," as he informed the panel that ABC, CBS and NBC had all ignored these embarrassing admissions by Obama administration cabinet members. Pinkerton:

And it was interesting, as Brent Bozell at the Media Research Center pointed out, not any of the big networks – ABC, CBS, or NBC – reported that Holder and Napolitano hadn't read it. And the major newspapers, the Post and Times, also didn't report it. By comparison, we could imagine what would have happened if a Democratic Congressman asked Alberto Gonzales, the former Attorney General under President Bush, if he hadn't read something. There would have been a typhoon of, "What a moron." And yet, stone silence from the mainstream media.

Panel member Rich Lowry of the National Review may also have picked up on a NewsBusters item when he recounted FNC veteran Brit Hume’s criticism of the inaccurate media coverage of the Arizona immigration law, and the mistake he admitted to making in initially believing the media misinformation. Lowry:

One of my favorite comments on this, Jon, was the Sunday afterwards, Brit Hume was on Fox News Sunday and commented on the law and said he was quite troubled by it. The next Sunday, he went back and said, "You know what, I actually read it. The prior Sunday, I relied on that media coverage. That was a mistake. Now I think it's quite reasonable."

After host Jon Scott cited a Fox News poll showing solid public support for Arizona’s efforts to deal with illegal immigration, even left-leaning FNC analyst Kirsten Powers conceded the media’s bias in a direction opposite to public opinion:

JON SCOTT: There's a Fox News poll out this week, Kirsten. 65 percent of Americans say that they think the states have the right to make their own immigration laws and protect their borders if the federal government doesn't do the job. Does that point of view get reflected in the media coverage?

KIRSTEN POWERS: No, what gets reflected in the media coverage is what the media thinks, and I think it's probably flipped with the media.

Below is a complete transcript of the relevant segment from the Saturday, May 22, Fox News Watch on FNC:

SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ): Have you had a chance to review the new law that was passed by the state of Arizona?

JANET NAPOLITANO, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: I have not reviewed it in detail. I certainly know of it, Senator.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you read the Arizona law?

HOLDER: I have not had a chance to. I've glanced at it. I have not read it.

JON SCOTT: All right, there you go. Two key members of President Obama's cabinet, who have been critical of Arizona's new illegal immigration law, both admitting they hadn't actually read it. Later in the week, while hosting Mexican President Felipe Calderon, Mr. Obama had his chance to comment on the Arizona law.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I want everyone, American and Mexican, to know my administration is taking a close look at the Arizona law. We're examining any implications, especially for civil rights, because in the United States of America, no law-abiding person, be they an American citizen, illegal immigrant or a visitor or a tourist from Mexico, should ever be subject to suspicion simply because of what they look like.

SCOTT: Kirsten, it seems that there has been a sort of campaign of misinformation about this law, whether intentional or otherwise. I mean, is that a result of what the administration has been doing or is it the media sort of jumping on a bandwagon?

KIRSTEN POWERS, FNC CONTRIBUTOR: I think it’s probably a little bit of both, but I think, even if they had read the law, I don't their positions are going to particularly change on it. I think this may become the new thing that now we always do, always ask people if they've read something. You know, in the past, nobody ever asked anybody if they read the laws when we all know they didn't. And, you know, now it’s something that you can kind of jump on people about.

SCOTT: Have you read the law?

POWERS: No, I haven't. Substantively, I don't think it is going to change their positions anyway.

RICH LOWRY, NATIONAL REVIEW: But this is not, I mean, the health care bill, okay, Betsy McCaughey read it. It’s 2,000 pages long. It's understandable most people wouldn't read it. But Eric Holder saying he glanced at it. You cannot glance at this thing without basically reading it. I mean, it is 10 pages long. The most controversial provision is about a paragraph long. And Kirsten is right, these are people that wanted to reject the law and oppose it no matter what, so it doesn’t really matter what’s in there. There hasn't been one, given how controversial this is, not one, that I've seen, lengthy article setting out the legal precedents that are behind this law and that the drafters relied on. And there are plenty of them.

SCOTT: It does seem like the media headlines, Judy, have been "Arizona law bad."

JUDY MILLER, FNC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, that was certainly the message. And that continued even after the Arizona legislature changed the law to tone down some of the more objectionable provisions. However, the law, which was read and analyzed here on Fox News by Judge Napolitano, he maintains it’s clearly unconstitutional in that a 1939 Supreme Court decision gave the authority over immigration policy to the President.

LOWRY: No, he's wrong about that.

MILLER: And the President doesn't want to go near this.

LOWRY: We don't want to get into the legalities, but it’s wrong.

MILLER: Cheap labor for the Republicans and cheap votes for the Democrats.

JIM PINKERTON, NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION: All the more reason, then, to actually read the law. Somebody ought to read it.

MILLER: Yes, yes.

PINKERTON: And it was interesting, as Brent Bozell at the Media Research Center pointed out, not any of the big networks – ABC, CBS, or NBC – reported that Holder and Napolitano hadn't read it. And the major newspapers, the Post and Times, also didn't report it. By comparison, we could imagine what would have happened if a Democratic Congressman asked Alberto Gonzales, the former Attorney General under President Bush, if he hadn't read something. There would have been a typhoon of, "What a moron." And yet, stone silence from the mainstream media.

LOWRY: One of my favorite comments on this, Jon, was the Sunday afterwards, Brit Hume was on Fox News Sunday and commented on the law and said he was quite troubled by it. The next Sunday, he went back and said, "You know what, I actually read it. The prior Sunday, I relied on that media coverage. That was a mistake. Now I think it’s quite reasonable."

SCOTT: And related to that, when President Calderon made that appearance in front of the joint meeting of Congress, he talked about his objections to the law, he got a 15-second standing ovation, including Vice President Biden and the Attorney General Eric Holder.

MILLER: Right, well, he got a standing ovation from the Democrats. He did not get a standing ovation from Republicans. I mean, look, this has become-

SCOTT: But did the Attorney General read the law before he applauded?

MILLER: Maybe he had read it by the-

LOWRY: Has Calderon read the law?

MILLER: Yes, probably in Spanish and in English because he speaks both languages well and he reads in both.

PINKERTON: But the dog that didn't bark this week on this whole issue was President Obama saying, standing next to Calderon in the Rose Garden, quote, "We are not defined by our borders." If that’s not a signal as to where the Democrats really are on this border issue, nothing is.

SCOTT: There's a Fox News poll out this week, Kirsten. 65 percent of Americans say that they think the states have the right to make their own immigration laws and protect their borders if the federal government doesn't do the job. Does that point of view get reflected in the media coverage?

POWERS: No, what gets reflected in the media coverage is what the media thinks, and I think it’s probably flipped with the media. You know, but, at the same time, this is not a popular position, but it is what I actually believe. That's nice that Americans think that, but I don't know how they have the expertise to know that unless they’re all lawyers, unless they’re all, you know, able to make judgments about how the legalities of these things play out. So, in the end, I don't think that's how we make our laws. I think we should make them based on what is the legal thing, what is constitutional and what is the right thing.

SCOTT: Well, okay. What is the legal thing regarding immigration? That's, I guess, the question for Washington.

PINKERTON: But remember, the law is a function of public sentiment. In the end, people get to define what their governors and what their Constitution says.

MILLER: Yes, but this is a cry for help from Arizona. And most Americans understand that. And I think that's why they are sympathetic to the fact that the federal government has done nothing for Arizona and for their problem.