Fox News’ latest efforts to downplay the odiousness of Donald Trump’s plan to bar Muslims from the country include Fox’s Byron York and host Martha MacCallum – neither of whom are lawyers – falsely suggesting we’ve done it before and it was no biggie.
I noted how Megyn Kelly used a similar ploy of minimizing Trump's comments by arguing that the uproar was a liberal media plot to help President Obama and Hillary Clinton.
“There is a precedent for immigration restrictions that has happened many times in our country’s history,” MacCallum said at the beginning of the discussion. But she cited instances of nationalities, not religions, “And really there was not a lot of outcry,” MacCallum said pointedly, when President Jimmy Carter forced the Iranians to leave during the Iranian hostage crisis.
MacCallum asked “Why is this getting such an uproar?” as if to say it shouldn’t. Then she turned to Fox News contributor Byron York for ostensibly neutral analysis. But York is the chief political correspondent for the Washington Examiner and has no apparent legal training. Nevertheless, he flatly declared Trump’s plan constitutional.
YORK: Well, because so many people oppose it politically. But, first thing to remember is that Trump narrowed his ban proposal almost immediately after he put it out there. He said, ‘No, no, no it would not apply to Muslims who are U.S. citizens, who were serving in the armed services.’ If there had been a ban on them, that would have been clearly unconstitutional, violated their constitutional rights. But the courts have shown for a long time, that foreigners, be they Muslim or anybody else, do not have United States constitutional rights. And you’re right, there was something called the Chinese Exclusion Act, which was in effect from 1882 all the way to 1943 and then there was a big immigration act in 1924, the Immigration Act of ‘24, that limited immigration from all sorts of places, very specifically from countries and regions. And even today, we actually limit the number of immigrants who are allowed into the United States from various places.
MACCALLUM: Yeah, we sure do. I think everybody knows somebody who has had trouble getting in or had to leave the country and, you know, stay away for several years.
It’s worth pointing out that MacCallum has no legal background either.
But real legal experts think there’s an important difference between barring immigrants on the basis of nationality and barring them on the basis of religion and that it’s quite possible that Trump’s plan is unconstitutional as a result.
Even MacCallum seemed to get that, but she immediately suggested a workaround for Trump.
MACCALLUM: One of the big differences here, an obvious one, is that we’re talking about a religion, we’re not talking about a country. And I wonder if Donald Trump had approached this in a slightly different way: “People from certain countries are not allowed to come in,” whether he would be getting a different response. But you’re talking about Muslims, rather than citizens of a foreign country.
York helpfully noted that Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul have a bill in the Senate that does exactly that, i.e. bars immigrants “from countries that do have a significant terrorist presence,” not religion.
MacCallum and York went on to agree that, regardless, the flap over his Muslim plan will not hurt Trump in the polls. In fact, MacCallum thought it quite possible that the argument she and York had just put forth would help Trump become even more popular.
MACCALLUM: So, perhaps, when this stuff gets out there more, about what we’ve done in the past, in similar times when we were threatened by other countries in that case, not a specific religion, it may help him even more.
Watch this blatant example of Fox News propaganda below, from the December 10 edition of America's Newsroom above.
Crossposted at News Hounds.
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