Fox Nation vs. Reality: You Don’t Have To Defend Laws That Are Unconstitutional

Whenever Fox News encounters an issue that offends their rightist ideological biases, their automatic response is to construct a deliberately misleading campaign to distort the facts. But sometimes the facts make it too difficult for them to refute in terms simple enough for their dimwitted audience to grasp. And in those times of difficulty, Fox simply decides to make up arguments that have no basis in reality.

Fox Nation

For more examples of Fox’s rank dishonesty, read Fox Nation vs. Reality.

The Fox Nation website is often the first place that these rhetorical concoctions show up. Take for example the article they posted claiming that Attorney General Eric Holder advised the nation’s state attorneys general that “You Don’t Have to Enforce Laws You Don’t Agree With.” Anyone who knows how Fox works has already figured out that Holder said no such thing. What he said, as reported by the New York Times, was that, “[S]tate attorneys general are not obligated to defend laws that they believe are discriminatory.”

Notice the difference in these quotes between the words “enforce” and “defend.” What Holder was talking about was whether or not state officials are obligated to defend the constitutionality of laws that are being challenged in the courts. He never suggested that the laws as enacted should not be enforced by local police agencies while they are in effect. Holder was merely pointing out, quite correctly, that no state is required to mount costly and time consuming defenses of laws that it believes do not pass constitutional muster.

The Fox Nationalists, however, were incapable of presenting a valid argument against Holder’s actual remarks, so they altered them to create the appearance that Holder was advocating that states neglect any laws that they don’t like. And rather than linking to the original source in the New York Times, Fox linked to the ultra-conservative blog Townhall, whose assessment of the controversy was utterly false:

Townhall: Attorney General Eric Holder is taking the lawless attitude of the Obama administration and passing it down to state attorneys general. Yesterday during an interview with The New York Times, Holder said state attorneys general do not have to enforce laws they disagree with, specifically when it comes to the issue of gay marriage.

Once again, that is not even remotely what Holder said. Enforcing the law as enacted in the state is an entirely different matter than defending the law against constitutional challenges in federal courts. Holder himself demonstrated the principle behind this position last year when he declined to defend the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The Supreme Court later struck it down as unconstitutional. So Holder was right, and his position prevented the waste of scarce resources on a vain mission to defend the indefensible. Nevertheless, the law was fully enforced up until the Supreme Court issued its ruling.

The editors and producers at Fox News know the difference between the concepts of enforcing and defending a law. They are intentionally misrepresenting the facts in order to disparage Holder and the Obama administration. And they are exploiting the fact that their viewers are too partisan and incurious to discover or understand the truth. That is not how ethical journalism is done. But then, Fox News has never been much of a proponent of ethical journalism.


16 thoughts on “Fox Nation vs. Reality: You Don’t Have To Defend Laws That Are Unconstitutional

  1. Well, it’s actually pretty graceful that Fox News can pull such huge lies and distortions out of their asses without even taking their pants off. So they got that goin for em, which is nice.

  2. Rhetorical concoctions. I love that phrase. May I borrow it, Mark?

  3. Weird that Fox would do this since they were all on the side of gun obsessionists who were claiming that they didn’t need to adhere to a law (which was their mind-created “obama-is-coming-to-take-all-our-guns” law), that they don’t like.

    • Not really, conservatives think laws are for other people to obey, not themselves. That is why they think states can nullify federal laws.

      • And that the Federal government has the right to nullify any state law conservatives do not like. But they’re all for states rights (when they are not in power). We all know this.

      • Skip Moreland is clearly a happy slave of the state – do you like the sound of clanging chains? I’m so glad the progressive sheep are here to show us the way to accept our enslavement to our federal masters.

        • The federal constitution is over all the states’ constitution. A war was fought to determine that. It’s not a matter of slavery. After all one can just as easily be a slave of a state as anything else. Which is the whole point of the federal trumping the state, to keep states from enslaving people. And for states trying to discriminate against minorities, as they have been prone to do, it is slavery to a degree.

  4. Was Fox News equally as indignant when George W. Bush was issuing signing statements right and left?

    • Of course not – after all, that was perfectly acceptable and necessary to preserve our democracy and prevent the evil people who were all working against him and keeping all his buddies from getting all that lovely oil.

      But, of course, if Obama were to issue signing statements, he wants to destroy our democracy and impose one man rule, and we can’t let this illegal immigrant impose his ways on our country!

      Someone should tell Shlox Snooze that it’s not a good think when their moves can be predicted to the last decibel.

  5. From Wikipedia: “As of January 30, 2008, he [GWB]had signed 157 signing statements challenging over 1,100 provisions of federal law” … “Obama has issued 18 signing statements as of June 4, 2011.”

    • I’ll bet none of Obama’s signing statements effectively said, “I don’t have to obey these laws because I’m in charge and I say so,” like Obama’s predecessor did.

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