Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Biased Reporting on Immigration

In today's Washington Post, columnist Robert J. Samuelson soberly laments the media's utter failure to explain the ramifications of the catastrophic immigration bill passed last week by the US Senate.

One job of journalism is to inform the public about what our political leaders are doing. In this case, we failed. The Senate bill's sponsors didn't publicize its full impact on legal immigration, and we didn't fill the void. It's safe to say that few Americans know what the bill would do because no one has told them. Indeed, I suspect that many senators who voted for the legislation don't have a clue as to the potential overall increase in immigration.

Of course, there's a difference between failing and not trying. In this case, the media's performance qualifies as the latter. The mainstream media did not so much fail to explain what the Senate bill actually entailed as it didn't really want to explain it. The editors and producers who craft the media's general take on any issue are overwhelmingly left-of-center politically and culturally, and lend that bias to their coverage. Thus, when millions of Mexicans illegally residing in the US took to the streets last month demanding that their illegal behavior be rewarded, the media provided them generally sympathetic coverage. In like fashion, the media gingerly avoids detailed reports of the crime committed by illegal aliens (or by minority groups in general), preferring to stick to the pre-made script that non-whites are always good and whites (especially non-liberal whites) are always bad. Thus, if anyone objects to admitting millions of non-white aliens to the US, they must be racists. Period. End of discussion. And racism is always bad. (Except when practiced by non-whites against whites, in which case it's perfectly acceptable.

Samuelson notes that all analyses of the Senate bill indicate it will admit tens of millions of new immigrants, far above any level desired by the public. Yet the major media outlets pointedly ignored the data in their coverage of the debate.

One obvious question is why most of the news media missed the larger immigration story. On May 15 Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama held a news conference with Heritage's [Robert] Rector to announce their immigration projections and the estimated impact on the federal budget. Most national media didn't report the news conference. The next day the CBO released its budget and immigration estimates. These, too, were largely unreported, though the Wall Street Journal later discussed the figures in a story on the bill's possible budget costs.

Rector's explanation is that the media's "liberal" bias creates a pro-immigration slant. I think it's more complicated. Stories generally mirror the prevailing political debate, which has concentrated on "amnesty" for existing illegal immigrants and the guest-worker program. Increases in other immigration categories were largely ignored. Reporters also cover legislative stories as sports contests -- who's winning, who's losing -- rather than delve into dreary matters of substance. We've had endless stories on how immigration might affect congressional elections and whether there will be a House-Senate "deal."

But note the irony: The White House's projected increases of legal immigration (20 million) are about twice the level of existing illegal immigrants (estimated between 10 million and 12 million). Yet, coverage overlooks the former. Here, I think, Rector has a point. Whether or not the bias is "liberal," groupthink is a powerful force in journalism. Immigration is considered noble. People who critically examine its value or worry about its social effects are subtly considered small-minded, stupid or bigoted. The result is selective journalism that reflects poorly on our craft and detracts from democratic dialogue.

Another potential reason that the mainstream media finds the idea of immigration so noble is the prevalence of Jewish and Catholic editors and reporters. Both Jews and Catholics in the US benefited from waves of immigration earlier in the century and maintain a nostalgic reverence for the ideal of immigration, which perhaps blinds them to the differences between today's immigrants and those of pervious eras. Both Jews and Catholics also have a cultural adherence to "social jusice" which makes them more readily see illegal aliens - especially non-white immigrants - as victims needing advocacy, rather like their own ancestors a few generations ago. Both Jews and Catholics also share a deep-seated antipathy toward the dominant WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) establishment, which disciminated against their ancestors (note how Hollywood is loathe to show Communists as bad guys, but can't wait to show the WASP fratboy as a monster), and thus evince an almost knee-jerk support for anything that will further dillute the demographic clout of the WASP majority. (It has been noted that Jewish and Catholic Senators voted overwhelmingly for the Senate bill, whereas Protestant Senators were split.) By this way of thinking, making America more racial diverse will elminate WASP racism while increasing the power of minority groups - including Jews and Catholics. Of course, increasing "diversity" only guarantees increased ethnic hatreds and conflicts, but that's not a politically correct conclusion, so the increasing evidence of that is roundly ignored or suppressed.

Of course, liberal WASPs, having been duly browbeaten for the past four decades about the moral evil of their ancestors and the intrinsic moral superiority of non-WASPs have pretty much swallowed the entire multicultural agenda, and are quite prepared to assist in their own diminishment. One senses an apologetic tone when a WASP is forced to point out the accomplishments of his or her ancestors, an almost automatic need to immediately point out their flaws and failings in order to negate the accomplishments (constitutional government, for example) of which WASPs were once so proud. Wouldn't want to make anyone feel badly about their ancestors' lack of accomplishments, now would we?


At 11:56 AM , Anonymous Bob said...

I read the Samuelson article, and I was shocked-- the increase in the legal immigration numbers is even more dangerous than the illegal immigrant amnesty. They'd push up the annual intake to 3.4 million people, mostly from the Third World-- that's a catastrophe waiting to happen. US Whites would be a minority within a decade!

I'm concerned b/c I feel like the focus on amnesty, has overshadowed the even more serious issue about the legal immigration numbers. We need to register our opposition to the legal immigration increase, on this and any future bills, as strongly as opposition to amnesty or anything similar.


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