Why do many U.S. journalists act as though they can walk on water?
By Dave Gorak, 09/02/2010
Nobody enjoys offering a helping hand only to have it thrown back in their face, but that's pretty much the standard these days when asking the media to balance their coverage of the immigration issue. Much of the responsibility for today's illegal immigration crisis belongs to the nation's reporters and editors who have failed miserably in their duty to educate their audiences by presenting all the facts. Worse still, they have failed to hold accountable those politicians in Washington whose pandering to the various immigrant groups and special interests has left us with 12-20 million illegal aliens nearly 20 years after the 1986 "one-time-only" amnesty for nearly nearly 3 million illegals.
I want to make it clear from the beginning that our organization has never demanded that journalists agree with us that our immigration laws be strictly enforced in keeping with our right as a sovereign nation to decide who and how many people be allowed to come here. All we've ever asked is that our side be given the same amount of ink and air time the media so generously gives to the other side that thinks American-born workers are not "entitled to search for a better life."
But those charged with the awesome responsibility of presenting all the facts related to a public policy issue that affects every aspect of our daily lives have - for reasons known only to them - chosen instead to portray as victims those here illegally and, in so doing, created for themselves what can only be described as an anti-American worker agenda.
Among those journalists who apparently can't be bothered with showing some appreciation for all the facts is Mary Spicuzza, who covers state government for the Wisconsin State Journal. What follows is my note to her and the article's coauthor explaining how their recent story could have been made better and an offer to be a source in the future:
Mr. Barbour/Ms. Spicuzza:
The problem I have with this story, which I've posted on our web site, is that there is too much focus on the needs of dairy farmers and little attention given to the remainder of Wisconsin's illegal population who are working in nonagricultural industries like construction, manufacturing, transportation and service and hospitality.
It's also disappointing to read that strict enforcement of our immigration laws would "hurt the economy" without giving any thought to the fact that lax enforcement is hurting American workers.
There are 30 million less-educated, U.S. born unemployed who must be wondering why the Obama administration is allowing 7 million illegals to keep their jobs in construction, manufacturing, transportation and service and hospitality. Does this sound like a president who will do anything to put our most vulnerable back to work? So why isn't he demanding the removal of these lawbreakers from our workforce so their jobs can be given to some of our own citizens and legal residents? (It's important to remember that, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, only 4 percent of those workers here illegally are working in agriculture.)
Illegals in Wisconsin's workforce could easily be removed by making E-Verify mandatory for all of the state's employers. Normally used to screen new hires, the program should also be used to screen all employees regardless of their length of service with their employers. Within a matter of seconds, information provided by an employee is either accepted or rejected. The program is free, easy to use and growing by 1,000 employers each week. And it is extremely efficient in weeding out unauthorized workers, although the problem of detecting identity theft has yet to be resolved. But the federal government is working to close this loophole. (In the last session of the Wisconsin Assembly, a bill requiring all contractors doing work for the state to use E-Verify died in committee. I understand it will be introduced again this fall.)
Voces de la Frontera's Christine Neumann-Ortiz is not the only qualified grassroots voice in Wisconsin qualified to discuss the immigration issue. The Midwest Coalition to Reduce Immigration, which was founded in Illinois 15 years ago, has a very simple mission: Educating the American people about the need to reduce legal immigration levels and calling for strict enforcement of our immigration laws. My primary job is to work with reporters and their editors in order to achieve balanced coverage of this issue. I hope you will keep us in mind should you again report on this public policy issue that affects every aspect of our daily lives.
Ms. Spicuzza's response?
Thank you for your letter.
Responses like this from journalists are not uncommon, and I should be used to them after years of trying to encourage journalists to abide by their own profession's ethics and standards. But I'm not, and I never will be. The American public is having their intelligence insulted nearly every day by journalists who refuse to do their jobs properly. All you have to do is read the comments that follow immigration "news" stories to see how badly they continue to fail in their responsibilities. Can all those who leave their thoughts on the nation's newspaper web sites be racists, bigots, xenophobes and nativists? When will the media acknowledge the wide gap between their steady stream of boilerplate "sob-sister stories" about immigrants and the majority of Americans who have had it with mass immigration, much of it illegal?
Several years ago I was part of a panel assembled to discuss immigration at the conclusion of a continuing education program taught by a 34-year veteran of the former INS.
"If you want to learn about the immigration issue," he told the class, "don't read newspapers."
His warning was sound advice then and remains so today.
A final note: Ms. Spicuzza's colleague, Clay Barbour, has yet to respond to my note. Should I hold my breath?