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Category: Politics, Media Monitoring, Violence against Women

Conservative Media Misrepresents House Version of VAWA

May 18, 2012

In the wake of the House passing the Cantor/Adams version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization – a version which fails to extent protections against domestic violence to immigrant, Native American and same sex communities – it should come as little surprise that Fox News and some conservatives are hard at work minimizing and misrepresenting the issue.

Fox News anchor Jon Scott said on Wednesday that it was a “slippery slope” to extending protection against domestic violence to immigrant communities because it “could apply to all kinds of other laws.”

Meanwhile his guest, Fox News contributor Angela McGlowan, said “it started out as the Violence Against Women Act -- violence against women. It has nothing to do with undocumented workers, Native Americans, nor gays and lesbians” which ignores the history of the bill.

As Michelle Kinsey Bruns wrote last month, “The 2005 VAWA reauthorization specifically instructed agencies operating with VAWA funds to gather data to identify which demographic groups who were most urgently in need of the services funded by the Act.”

The agencies gathered their data that told them that immigrant, Native American and same sex group were urgently in need of such services.

Of course it’s not just Fox News that was misrepresenting the need for the bill. Columnist S.E. Cupp on MSNBC’s Now with Alex Wagner said the bill was unnecessary and “redundant.”

Funny but law enforcement as well as whole lot of organizations that have more insight into domestic violence than S.E. Cupp don’t seem to think so.

As Feminist Majority points out, “some 200 law enforcement agencies as well as more than 300 women's rights, human rights, civil rights, religious organizations and victim advocacy groups vigorously opposed [the Cantor/Adams version of the bill].”

Media Matters also cites a letter voicing opposition to the bill, where police officials write that it will "undermine our work as police officers in successfully apprehending criminals” and “will turn back the clock on over seventeen years' of progress made by law enforcement in reducing violence against women and children in our communities…”

Maybe it’s easy for Fox News hosts to ask “why not just pass the simpler House version?” because it seems they don’t want to ask how much domestic violence should we accept amongst marginalized populations.

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