Saturday, July 3, 2010

Fox News Falsely Accuses Obama of Giving Part of Arizona to Mexicans

A week or so ago, a friend of mine on Facebook posted the following video:
Obama Gives Part of Arizona to Mexicans

There were two things that made me watch this video.  The first was its title:  "Obama Gives Part of Arizona to Mexicans," the second was that it was about Arizona.  Being a Fox News clip also made me seriously doubt the validity of it.

First, in fairness to my friend that posted this, her concern, and rightly so, was the fact that the U.S. Government has indeed posted warnings to its citizens not to enter this particular stretch of U.S. territory because of the ongoing border violence.  With that being said, there are some facts that need to be clarified about the video content.

"A massive stretch of Arizona now off limits to Americans," is the first statement by the newscaster.  I take issue with the "now" part of that comment.  The stretch of land in question is part of the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge in the southeastern corner of Arizona.  A press release from the U.S Fish & Wildlife Service indicates that a 3/4 mile wide stretch of the Refuge along the border of Mexico is indeed off limits to American citizens.  This was done nearly five years ago!  I guess from Fox's viewpoint, that is close enough to "now."

The graphic presented in the newscast shows the whole Refuge area along with the closed off portion of the refuge.  This image, certainly appears to be accurate.  However, Fox News can't stop there.

They go on to interview Sheriff Paul Babeu of Pinal County.  If you look at a map of Arizona you will see that Pinal County does not border Mexico in any way.   Babeu goes on to say how out of control the violence has been in the last four months, blah, blah, blah.  While he is talking, they are showing surveillance video of illegals climbing over what looks to be a pretty good sized fence along the border.  Presumably in an effort to reinforce how out of control things are.  Well, if you look at the date on the video surveillance, it is dated December 14th, 2006.  He goes on to say that this problem is 80 miles deep into Arizona and that he is unable to patrol parts of his county as a result of this problem.  Again, I will refer back to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife press release that states the only closure is a 3/4 mile wide stretch at the border.  The rest of the Refuge is open.  I was not able to read the contents of the sign in the video or determine its location, so it may very well be posted at the northern entrance of the Refuge in Pinal County.  I live in this state.  Pinal county is one county over from me.  There have been no stories on this in the local paper.  In fact, Babeu is pretty much considered a political hack and most of this is more than likely a publicity stunt on his part.

So, you can rightly get mad that our government has chosen to close off this one part of the Refuge.  What you can not do is blame the Obama Administration for giving back part of Arizona to the Mexicans as both the YouTube poster and the newscaster implies with the use of "now."  The closure was done under the Bush Administration.  Also, prior to this video, I had never heard of Paul Babeu.  He hasn't made much of an impression in what is certainly considered a red state.

The quality of reporting on this piece is terrible and the finger pointing at the Obama Administration as it pertains to the "facts" they are presenting are flat out wrong.

Obviously, Arizona has been in the national spotlight regarding its recent immigration law.  The issues faced on the border are complex not only as it pertains to illegal immigration, but the drug violence being carried out in Mexico among the cartels certainly hinders efforts to get control of the situation.

Oh, yeah, you gotta love the "This is a family show, so I'll put it this way.  What the heck is going on down there?"  Nice.

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