default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
Logout|My Dashboard

On immigration issues, the media are incomplete, biased

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Friday, June 28, 2002 10:00 pm | Updated: 2:53 pm, Mon Mar 19, 2012.

To accuse the media of suppressing facts is a strong charge. But when it comes to immigration reporting, few can deny that most stories heavily emphasize immigration positives while ignoring negatives.

By consistently presenting only one side of a difficult and complex issue, journalists forsake their professional obligation to be fair and balanced.

On May 31, I participated in a panel discussion that analyzed professionalism in immigration reporting. The event was hosted by the Center for Immigration Studies and held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The transcript is available online.Joe Guzzardi

Other participants were William McGowan, author of the well-received "Coloring of the News," and recently retired Washington Times reporter August Gribbon.

Since June 2000, I have read more than 1,500 immigration stories. I weighed them against standards set by journalists themselves and posted at the Society for Professional Journalism, the Committee for Concerned Journalists, the American Society for Newspaper Editors and the Organization of Newspaper Ombudsmen.

More than 98 percent of the stories were lacking.

Among those who read the identical stories, most agreed with my conclusions. I hoped that 9/11 would raise standards. I anticipated that the post-tragedy immigration coverage would reflect at least a smattering of professionalism. Reality dashed my hopes.

The journalistic failure continues on two fronts. The stories published are shallow and sophomoric; those not written fail to ask vital, difficult questions. As far as I can tell, the mainstream print media will defend beyond reason any consequence of unchecked immigration.

Consider open-borders advocate extraordinaire, the New York Times. On June 19, columnist David Plotz, in his article "A Suburb All Grown Up and Paved Over," concluded that it is perfectly acceptable for some residents of Fairfax County, Va., to pave over their front yards and covert them into five or six parking spaces. Plotz considers this to be a minor inconvenience in exchange for rapid immigrant-fueled growth.

The extended immigrant families who live in single-resident dwellings in Fairfax's Groveton section need more parking. What could be more logical than to pour cement over the front lawn and paint a few lines?

Now I ask you: How many people in this vast land would find it just dandy if their neighbors converted their lawns into parking lots? Although the New York Times favors converting residential neighborhoods into open-air garages, the Times considers it inappropriate to use the term "illegal alien."

According to the New York Times Manual of Style and Usage, "illegal alien" is "sinister-sounding." Even criminals get the soft-glove treatment.

In her June 5 column, Michelle Malkin wrote that she did a Lexis-Nexis database search of 115 news stories filed about the questioning of Ingmar Guandique in connection with the discovery of Chandra Levy's body. Not one referred to him as an illegal alien.

The New York Times called Guandique "a Washington man" omitting that Guandique is a violent Salvadoran national serving a 10-year sentence for assault on two female joggers. The failure to report Guandique's immigration status is, concludes Malkin, "a newsworthy act of negligence as the nation grapples with lax borders and national (in)security."

(Author's note: Readers can safely substitute "illegal alien" anytime the word "immigrant" appears in a story unless the reporter specifically refers to individuals as legally in the U.S. or naturalized citizens.)

Fellow panelist McGowan charged journalists with "overly romantic" immigration reporting.

Reporters caught up in the feel-good aspects of immigration leave important stories untold. Here's a sampling: The Senate Judiciary Committee approved by voice vote Sen. Orin Hatch's (R-Utah) bill that would allow all 50 states to subsidize tuition for illegal aliens at state universities.

The bill carries with it a so-called "status adjustment" that would give amnesty to the students.

The "Dream Act," as Hatch calls it, is temporarily blocked but is poised to re-emerge at any moment.

Sen. John McCain introduced the "Federal Responsibility for Immigrant Health Act of 2002." State and health care providers will receive Medicaid reimbursement for dialysis, chemotherapy, prenatal care and the testing and treatment of communicable diseases for illegal aliens. Since state health centers are going broke providing these services, McCain wants to shift the burden to the federal government.

A visas-for-sale scandal at the American Consulate in Juarez, Mexico, was first reported by National Public Radio correspondent John Burnett and followed up by Michelle Malkin in her May 17 column. Not a word about this outrageous misconduct has been read since.

Journalists are responsible to their readers and their profession. In her autobiography, "Personal History," Katherine Graham recalled the lessons taught to her by her father about publishing. High on the list was his insistence that "newspaper tell all of the truth concerning the important affairs of America and the world."

Graham placed the emphasis on all. Let that advice now be adopted by every journalist.

Joe Guzzardi, an instructor at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly opinion column since 1988. He can be reached via e-mail.

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don't pretend you're someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don't threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don't insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.

Welcome to the discussion.

Recent Comments

Posted 10 hours ago by Joe Baxter.

article: Letter: Pastor Frank Nolton forgets abo…

Fighting for "civil rights". Who defines civil rights? It is clear the LGBT isn't stopping at "civil rights", they are …


Posted 12 hours ago by Brian Dockter.

article: Letter: Obamacare is not the program pr…

And of course it's not a matter of plagiarizing. It's what's plagiarized. Right, Ms. Bobbin?


Posted 12 hours ago by Brian Dockter.

article: Letter: Obamacare is not the program pr…

Chuckle, Had the letter been plagiarism and thus citing the positive attributes of Obamacare, we wouldn't have heard a peep of criticism f…


Posted 19 hours ago by Christina Welch.

article: Letter: Pastor Frank Nolton forgets abo…

Well said, Mr Heuer. Your line about is it a woman or a man made me think of the song "Turn the Page." That'd be the perfect t…


Posted 20 hours ago by Christina Welch.

article: San Joaquin County supervisors approve …

You are a good man, Walter.... Quack on, baby!! [beam]



Popular Stories


Should graduations return to the Grape Bowl?

Lodi Unified leaders are moving Lodi and Tokay high school graduations from the Grape Bowl to the Spanos Center at UOP in Stockton. They cite limited seating, costs and unpredictable weather at the Grape Bowl. But others say graduations at the Grape Bowl are an important Lodi tradition, and one reason many supported renovating the stadium. What do you think?

Total Votes: 98


Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists