Tuesday, August 31, 2010

State Department Explains Why It Mentioned Arizona In Report (full text and link below); Fox News Headline Misleading

[[Yesterday morning, we published our Fact Check Analysis on Gov. Brewer's "Indignant, Offended, Misleading" letter to (U.S.) Secretary of State Clinton demanding removal of the "unconstitutional" mention of Arizona's S.B. 1070 law.  In concluding that the letter was "COMPLETELY MISLEADING", we noted that it can only be seen as an effort to appeal to and motivate a segment of the electorate, to further endear herself to conservative media, and to foment misunderstanding and distrust of the federal government.  Well, Fox News was paying attention.]]

A reporter at the State Department's Daily Press Briefing stopped spokesperson Phillip Crowley just before he wrapped it up, and asked him about S.B. 1070's inclusion in the State Department's human rights Universal Periodic Review ("UPR").  (If you can identify this reporter, please let us know.)  She asked what the State Department's "motivation" was in the mention.
Mr. Crowley's response was as simple and low key as the original mention in the UPR (and was very similar to our postulation).  Here is the text (verified with the video)(text/video are at end of briefing, 35:18 in video):
QUESTION: Wait, P.J., can I get one question in? For Secretary Clinton’s UN report that was submitted August 20th, she talked about the Arizona immigration law. What was the motivation for putting that into the UN report?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we had a process where teams went around the country, and during the course of the preparation of our report, the issue of the Arizona immigration law came up. And that’s the reason why it was included in the report.

We’re very proud of our human rights record. We think it’s second to none around the world. But the universal periodic review, we believe, can be a model to demonstrate to other countries – even other countries on the Human Rights Council – this is how you engage civil society. And where issues arise from a genuine discussion and debate within societies, there can be issues that are resolved under the rule of law. And the Arizona immigration law is a good example of how we are debating this as a society. There is a legal case ongoing, and this issue will be resolved under the rule of law.

QUESTION: Under federal law?

MR. CROWLEY: Under federal, yeah.

Fox News apparently gave this story heavy airplay yesterday, as well (I am guessing the reporter who asked the question of Crowley was thus a Fox reporter or producer.)  According to this article, Fox interviewed both Gov. Brewer and Republican state Sen. Frank Antenori (Fox misspelled Mr. Antenori's name; corrected here). 

Forgetting that Fox apparently did not feature a viewpoint different from Brewer's and Antenori's, the headline of Fox News' website article is that "State Department Stands By Decision to Include Arizona in U.N. Human Rights Report." (emphasis added)  That is a bit of a stretch.  Crowley was not asked to respond to Brewer's letter (or Antenori's equally-insulted remarks).  Crowley was not asked if the State Department would remove the mention from the report (as if that would keep someone else from raising the question).  He was asked to explain the back story, the motivation.  And, that is all that he did.

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