Leading Newspapers Slant Immigration Coverage -- Censorship Par for Course at L.A. Times, N.Y. Times, Washington Post

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By Leon Kolankiewicz

Leon is an Advisory Board Member and Senior Writing Fellow with CAPS. A wildlife biologist, and environmental scientist and planner, Leon is the author of Where Salmon Come to Die: An Autumn on Alaska's Raincoast, the essay “Overpopulation versus Biodiversity” in Environment and Society: A Reader and was a contributing writer to Life on the Brink: Environmentalists Confront Overpopulation.

In a career that spans three decades, three countries and more than 30 states, Leon has managed environmental impact statements for many federal agencies on projects ranging from dams and reservoirs to coal-fired power plants, power lines, flood control projects, road expansions, management of Civil War battlefields, NASA's Kennedy Space Center operations and a proposed uranium mine on a national forest. He also has worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop comprehensive conservation plans at more than 40 national wildlife refuges from the Caribbean to Alaska.

The writer's views are his own.

December 17, 2013

Immigration restrictionists constantly carp about how biased “lamestream media” coverage is of the immigration issue. They’re right.

Journalists rely on “frames” and “narratives” when writing about and interpreting newsworthy events and multi-faceted, long-term issues. Unfortunately, those frames and narratives may reflect hidden biases or agendas more than they reflect reality. Far from contributing to readers’ nuanced understanding or perspective, all too often reporting only serves to reinforce the predetermined narrative.

The frame into which almost all immigration coverage is forced is one of civil rights, social justice, unlimited compassion, “One-Worldism” and the moral duty of Americans to redress any and all inequities and injustice in the world.

All but excluded from the accepted narrative are national sovereignty, the environmental consequences of immigration-driven population growth, and the negative effects of mass immigration on crime rates, unemployment, wage depression and social cohesion.

Rather than being presented as having legitimate grievances, Americans concerned about uncontrolled immigration’s impacts tend to be depicted unfavorably as backward, bigoted, hardline, harsh, intolerant, racist and xenophobic. Those who push for more expansive immigration policies tend to be depicted favorably as idealistic advocates of human rights and dignity.

Among the most egregious offenders in this misrepresentation are the nation’s three newspapers of record on both East and West Coasts – The New York Times, The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times.

Back in the 90s, after the L.A. Times editorial board member Jack Miles wrote a cover story in The Atlantic about competition between “blacks and browns” in the “struggle for the bottom rung,” I contacted him and we began something of a dialogue about immigration.

I wrote an op-ed comparing and contrasting population growth’s environmental effects in California and Honduras, where I had recently served as a Peace Corps Volunteer. One of the points of contrast was that rapid population growth in California was due to high immigration rates whereas in Honduras it was due to high birth rates.

Mr. Miles was kind enough to personally deliver and recommend my submittal to one of the op-ed page editors. Several days later, I received a phone call from a woman at the Times who dismissed my article curtly, saying she thought any comparison between population growth and environmental impacts in rich California and poor Honduras was absurd. My piece never saw the light of day.

As one who had earned an M.S. in environmental planning, and who had years of experience as an environmental professional in three countries and several states, I did not take kindly to being treated like an ignoramus by an editor who utterly lacked my environmental and scientific credentials. But she was the imperious gate-keeper, and I the hapless supplicant.

Some years later, my Honduran wife and I attended a large immigrants’ rights rally on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C. We were deeply offended by the strident anti-American rhetoric from these activists demanding that America welcome them, whether or not they had arrived with America’s permission. A torn American flag was hung upside-down on a fence in full view of Bill Clinton’s White House, defaced in magic marker with the words “Evil Empire.” And these hostiles demanded a welcome?

Next day’s front-page article in The Washington Post by immigration reporter Pamela Constable completely omitted the hostile rhetoric or defaced flag, instead depicting the rally participants as proud of their roots but loving the U.S.A. so much they just wanted to be part of it.

The New York Times has the most biased coverage of all, as documented by Jerry Kammer of the Center for Immigration Studies in his series, “All the News that Fits.”

Because “all the news that fits” their ideological bias uncritically embraces mass immigration, these organs of America’s elite implicitly endorse endless population growth in the United States. Therefore, though they would deny it heatedly, they also endorse unsustainability.

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