May 15, 2010

Holder’s ‘Haven’t Read It’ Arizona Immigration Law Admission Gets Little Establishment Media Coverage

This is one of those “you know the ending, but someone has to take note anyway” media bias posts.

On Thursday, NewsBusters colleague Noel Sheppard revealed that Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder had told an oversight hearing of the House Judiciary Committee the following about his knowledge of Arizona’s recently pass immigration law-enforcement measure:

I have not had a chance to, I’ve glanced at it. I have not read it.

… I have not really, I have not been briefed yet.

… I’ve only made, made the comments that I’ve made on the basis of things that I’ve been able to glean by reading newspaper accounts, obviously, looking at television, talking to people who are on the review panel, on the review team that are looking at the law.

It will surprise almost no one who visits this site that Holder’s admitted ignorance about a routinely misrepresented law — misrepresentations that have led to calls for boycotts of Arizona, a PC-obsessed cancellation of a girls high school basketball team’s hoop dreams, and hysterical hyperventilation at Holder’s Justice Department as well as by the President of the United States himself — has received very little establishment media attention.

There is one interesting exception to this at the Washington Post, where Jerry Markon hit Holder pretty hard. Here are a few paragraphs from Markon’s dispatch:

Holder is criticized for comments on Ariz. immigration law, which he hasn’t read

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has said that Arizona’s tough new immigration law could drive a wedge between police and immigrant communities. He has expressed concerns it could lead to racial profiling, and he has made it clear that his Justice Department is considering a lawsuit to block the legislation from taking effect.

But what Holder has not done, as least as of Thursday, is read the law: an admission that continued to draw criticism Friday from some talk-radio hosts and conservative Web sites.

The fuss began with a simple question from Rep. Ted Poe (R-Tex.) at a House Judiciary Committee hearing Thursday.

“Have you read the Arizona law?” Poe asked.

“I have not had a chance. I grant that I have not read it,” Holder acknowledged.

Poe, after helpfully pointing out that the 10-page law is “a lot shorter than” the Obama administration’s health-care overhaul bill, said he couldn’t understand “how you would have concerns about something being unconstitutional if you haven’t even read the law. It seems like you wouldn’t make a judgment about whether it violates civil right statutes, whether it violate federal preemption concepts, if you haven’t read the law.”

Holder said he based his public comments about the legislation on reading news reports, watching television and talking to Justice Department lawyers who are reviewing it. “I’ve not reached any conclusions as yet” about the law’s constitutionality, he said, adding that he will soon “spend a good evening reading that law.”

Before making too much of Markon’s mashup, readers should realize that it’s datelined 4:11 p.m. on Friday, May 14, just in time to be ignored, and that it seems not to have made it into Friday’s or Saturday’s WaPo print edition.

Elsewhere, it’s slim-to-none pickings:

  • At the Associated Press’s main web site, a search on “Eric Holder Arizona” (not in quotes) returns nothing relevant.
  • The same search at the New York Times returns nothing relevant. The two May 14 items only appear at the top of the paper’s search results because there’s a link to the 1966 Miranda v. Arizona ruling at those web pages. There is also nothing relevant at the Times’s Caucus blog or its Opinionator blog.
  • A Google News Search for May 13-15 on “eric holder arizona immigration law read” (not in quotes; string was necessary to separate Holder’s immigration law comments from other unrelated items) returns 95 items. This is light coverage for an admission such as Holder’s, and the roster of the 95 contains very few establishment press outlets. One prominent exception, as usual, is Fox News. Another notable link is at Investors Business Daily where the paper calls for Holder to resign.

The betting here is that Holder isn’t going anywhere as long as there’s no pressure from the lapdog press, where an incompetence-betraying comment such as Holder’s would have reached front-page headline status at least 48 hours ago.

Cross-posted at



  1. What exactly does “I glanced at it” mean? Did he read every other paragraph? Glance over all of it or just a page or two? Or did he flip it through it very fast like Johnny Five in “Short Circuit?”

    Talk about your vague noncommittal answers.

    Comment by zf — May 16, 2010 @ 12:21 am

  2. I’m personally not entirely convinced of this act by Holder. As any lawyer knows, only laws that conflict with existing ones such as the Federal immigration laws and the US Constitution itself can be challenged in Court. The AZ law does not conflict with either as it mirrors federal immigration law. So unless someone is going to directly challege the federal laws all this blathering by Holder and others is just that…blathering. Any competent lawyer knows this so there must be something else going on, which means this kerfluffle is a deliberate distraction.

    I’m thinking Obama has a problem with his base and what better way to distract them than the illegal immigration issue. A recent op-ed may give a clue as what’s really going on: It seems the libs are in quite a snit over Obama ordering assinations which they reasonably argue is worse than detentions. Of course I have no problems with bumping off someone who is activitely recruiting people to engage in terrorism. I say, in War if you wear the uniform of the enemy expect to be targeted. The killing stops when the enemy surrenders. We don’t bother with judicial hearings in War and the battlefield is wherever the enemy is.

    Comment by dscott — May 16, 2010 @ 4:02 am

  3. #2, wow, the contrast in candidate Obama v. Prez Obama is stark.

    Comment by TBlumer — May 16, 2010 @ 10:00 am

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