Wednesday, October 6, 2010

FACT CHECK: State Sen. Russell Pearce Misleading About Obama "Jihad Against Arizona"

(Earlier, the Ahwatukee Foothills News ("AFN") featured (top left, front page) coverage of a speech made by State Sen. Russell Pearce to the Ahwatukee TEA Party on September 15.  In it, Pearce reiterated comments made by Gov. Jan Brewer in a letter to Secy of State Hillary Clinton about the U.S. self-review on human rights.  Arizona's Politics previously fact-checked those comments, and supplemented it with text and video of the State Department's response to a reporter's question.

The AFN indicated that they would - at some point - run the following Fact Check column.  A few issues have since come and gone.  Here is the Fact Check that it will, hopefully, still run; AFN's circulation and  importance - and, hence, its responsibility to the public - are far greater than this small blog forum.)

FACT CHECK: Sen. Pearce Misleads Re: Obama “jihad against Arizona”

AFN’s front page article on State Rep. Russell Pearce’s speech to the Ahwatukee TEA Party reported on his comments. It obviously was not intended to provide a balanced view, nor to fact check Pearce’s claims.

Fortunately, I am able to assist (somewhat) on the latter. I wrote an Aug. 30 article for Arizona’s Politics “fact checking” Gov. Brewer’s letter to Secy. Of State Hillary Clinton, branding the U.S. human rights report (the “UPR”) “unconstitutional.” The letter was found to be “Completely Misleading.”

Pearce apparently bases his Obama/Arizona jihad on two things – the SB1070 suit and the UPR. The judge’s determination in the suit demonstrates – at a minimum - the Administration has a good-faith argument about some of the law’s provisions.

The UPR requires our examination. Pearce told the rally that the U.S.’s “submission of Arizona to judgment by the UN panel – which includes nations such as Saudi Arabia… could be construed as an impeachable offense.” His main factual error in that claim is that it was not “submitted” to “judgment”.

The “Universal Periodic Review” that all nations are submitting is a self-survey of positives/negatives of efforts in the area of human rights. As the UPR indicates, our Declaration of Independence was a key step in furthering human rights and we have been a leader in promoting human rights awareness elsewhere.

Near the end of self-exam of U.S. progress, the UPR politely tip-toes around the Arizona situation. The COMPLETE passage: “A recent Arizona law, S.B. 1070, has generated significant attention and debate at home and around the world. The issue is being addressed in a court action that argues that the federal government has the authority to set and enforce immigration law. That action is ongoing; parts of the law are currently enjoined."

No “submission” to the world. No portrayal of SB1070 as positive or negative. Basically saying, ‘our system is WORKING.”

The three nations reviewing our data and preparing the report - which happens after anyone can comment and is not limited to what is already in the UPR – are Cameroon, France, Japan. The review can result in recommendations, which can be accepted, rejected, or ignored.

Pearce’s factual basis is incorrect. Thus, his conclusion is “Completely Misleading”. The AFN is not expected to fact check every speech it covers; however, in incendiary cases like this, it would be wise. More, including citations, can be found at

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

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