[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]
All day yesterday on Fox, the talking/shrieking heads were all worked up about some comments from Rep. Linda Sanchez about Arizona's SB1070:
A California congresswoman is pointing the finger at white supremacist groups, who she says have inspired Arizona's new law cracking down on illegal immigrants.Oh my God! Somebody tossed a little Baby Ruth of Truth into the swimming pool!
Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., told a Democratic Club on Tuesday that white supremacist groups are influencing lawmakers to adopt laws that will lead to discrimination.
"There's a concerted effort behind promoting these kinds of laws on a state-by-state basis by people who have ties to white supremacy groups," said the lawmaker, who is of Mexican descent. "It's been documented. It's not mainstream politics."
Rick Folbaum told Jon Scott that Sanchez got her information from those notorious dispensers of inconvenient information, a left-wing blogger. (Hey, it coulda been C&L.) Megyn Kelly demanded of Clarissa Martinez of the National Council of La Raza that she denounce these horrendous words. And Sean Hannity didn't even bother to query into whether what Sanchez said might be accurate -- he just ran a quick segment sneering at her "Liberal Lie".
The problem they have is that it's in fact perfectly accurate. Sanchez may have gotten the information from a blogger, but it's more than likely the blog got its information from the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League -- both of which have, as Sanchez suggested, fully documented that a number of the leading "respectable" anti-immigration organizations are in fact fronts created by white-supremacist ideologues.
You see, Fox and everyone else has been running commentary from Kris Kobach, a well-paid lackey for the Federation for American Immigration Reform. Kobach has been boasting on Fox and elsewhere that he and his fellows at FAIR are helping to push the Arizona immigration law in other states as well.
Well, FAIR is exactly what Linda Sanchez described. And it's not exactly news, either. Here's the SPLC's rundown on the three main groups involved in promoting the Arizona law:
FAIR, which Tanton founded and where he remains on the board, has been listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Among the reasons are its acceptance of $1.2 million from the Pioneer Fund, a group founded to promote the genes of white colonials that funds studies of race, intelligence and genetics. FAIR has also hired as key officials men who also joined white supremacist groups. It has board members who regularly write for hate publications. It promotes racist conspiracy theories about Latinos. And it has produced television programming featuring white nationalists.The SPLC has further details about John Tanton and about FAIR, notably the accumulated record that induced the SPLC to designate it a hate group:
CIS was conceived by Tanton and began life as a program of FAIR. CIS presents itself as a scholarly think tank that produces serious immigration studies meant to serve "the broad national interest." But the reality is that CIS has never found any aspect of immigration that it liked, and it has frequently manipulated data to achieve the results it seeks. Its executive director last fall posted an item on the conservative National Review Online website about Washington Mutual, a bank that had earlier issued a press release about its inclusion on a list of "Business Diversity Elites" compiled by Hispanic Business magazine. Over a copy of the bank's press release, the CIS leader posted a headline — "Cause and Effect?" — that suggested a link between the bank's opening its ranks to Latinos and its subsequent collapse.
Like CIS, NumbersUSA bills itself as an organization that operates on its own and rejects racism completely. In fact, NumbersUSA was for the first five years of its existence a program of U.S. Inc., a foundation run by Tanton to fund numerous nativist groups, and its leader was an employee of that foundation for a decade. He helped edit Tanton's racist journal, The Social Contract, and was personally introduced by Tanton to a leader of the Pioneer Fund. He also edited a book by Tanton and another Tanton employee that was banned by the Canadian border officials as hate literature, and on one occasion spoke to the Council of Conservative Citizens, a hate group which has called blacks "a retrograde species of humanity."
Together, FAIR, CIS and NumbersUSA form the core of the nativist lobby in America. In 2007, they were key players in derailing bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform that had been expected by many observers to pass. Today, these organizations are frequently treated as if they were legitimate, mainstream commentators on immigration. But the truth is that they were all conceived and birthed by a man who sees America under threat by non-white immigrants. And they have never strayed far from their roots.
Founded by Tanton in 1979, FAIR has long been marked by anti-Latino and anti-Catholic attitudes. It has mixed this bigotry with a fondness for eugenics, the idea of breeding better humans discredited by its Nazi associations. It has accepted $1.2 million from an infamous, racist eugenics foundation. It has employed officials in key positions who are also members of white supremacist groups. Recently, it has promoted racist conspiracy theories about Mexico's secret designs on the American Southwest and an alternative theory alleging secret plans to merge the United States, Mexico and Canada. Just last February, a senior FAIR official sought "advice" from the leaders of a racist Belgian political party.It's not just the SPLC that has reached this conclusion. The Anti-Defamation League's assessment falls along similar lines.
Finally, it's worth remembering that the two people most associated with SB1070 in Arizona -- its coauthor, State Sen. Russell Pearce, and the law-enforcement officer whose immigration obsession inspired the law, Maricopa County's Sheriff Joe Arpaio -- themselves in fact have documented associations with Arizona neo-Nazis.
Fox may think they can whip this up, bloody shirt style, in favor of the Arizona law's advocates. I'd wager those same people are wishing they'd just let it quietly drop. Because Linda Sanchez told the truth, and they all know it.