Sunday, July 22, 2007

Who is conflating illegal immigration with "hispanics"?

First, I see Tom at CitizenTom has a post about the WP story, WaPost meets BVBL. Excerpt:
My own feeling about the Post and BVBL are a bit more straight forward. Both are effective, but both are also much too agenda driven. When the truth runs counter to their agenda, I do not feel I can count on either to provide me something that approaches the truth. So I do not bother to read either the Post or BVBL any more than I find necessary.
Tom echoes a common theme at least among conservatives about the WaPost's own honesty. I remember having a bumper sticker with the words "I don't believe the Post", from almost before there was an internet, so I understand the sentiment.

But, and I can't believe I'm doing this, I have to defend the Post here. Yes, they slant stories, they put their own spin and opinion in the middle of the facts, and they leave out facts not helpful to their causes. And yes, they make real mistakes in fact as well.

But mostly their errors in fact ARE mistakes, not deliberate. A newspaper only exists so long as it maintains it's social contract with the readers, to provide them with information they can use and not look stupid. While the WaPost leaves a lot to be desired on that regard, they generally get facts right, and if they don't, they generally will correct them and take steps to prevent the same mistakes from happening again.

Greg is nowhere NEAR as accurate or concerned with the truth as the Washington Post is. I'd put him more on par with the National Enquirer, except they might be more truthful. Greg is often nothing more than an unsubtantiated gossip rag. His parroting of the rape story, his use of the title "The Terrorist and the Homosexual" (without quotes suggesting someone else said it), his recklessly false statements TWICE about the RPV plan, both used for blatantly unfair attacks on Tom Kopko, are all symptomatic of a person who expects his readers to do their own fact checking.

Fortunately, his readers aren't interested in facts, just power, influence, and validation. Greg gives that to them, or at least the illusion of that, so they are happy.

Tom references Hooda Thunk's post on the article titled "Local Blogger Gets Press at theWashPo". The author in part bemoans the WaPo conflating the illegal immigrant issue with the issue of hispanics moving into the community:
Third, and most importantly, I don't agree with or approve of the Post's attempts to conflate the issues people have with illegal immigrants with a general unease about the large influx of Hispanic residents who have moved to the region in the past decade -- I've said repeatedly and so have most of the rest of the conservative blogosphere that I don't have any issue at all with legal immigrants. I have a problem with illegals - Hispanic or otherwise - who reside here.
I left a comment at his site about his post. But my answer was a brief version of my prior post "Proving my point about the "illegal crackdown". A few further comments here:

Thos who are upset about conflating the fight against illegal immigration with a backlash against hispanics, you should heed the comments in Greg's blog. There you will find some of Greg's supporters who come right out and admit they don't care if the hispanics are legal or not, they just don't like them.

Or look at Greg's comments about Salsa Music, played by his supposedly illegal neighbors, but which could easily be played loudly by ANY hispanic household.

But his comment about the ESL program is even worse. Sure, illegals mostly don't speak english. But many legal immigrants don't speak english, and children of legal immigrants go to school. Some of them are actually BORN here and are citizens, and school is their first real confrontation of the english language. In other words, while ESL serves illegals, it also serves a population of legal immigrant children AND citizen children.

Legal immigrants and citizens could look at what Greg said, and see a man who wants to deny their children the ability to learn the language of our country, because he's concerned they won't spend enough on his own child.

I'm pretty sure that's not what Greg was thinking when he made his statement to the Post, but that's what he said, from the WP article: "He worries about crime, he said, and about his daughters, Lillian, 5, and Marian, 2, and whether public school resources are being diverted to English as a Second Language programs."

When we make the issue "Salsa music", or "multiple families living in a house", or "kids playing in the street at all hours", or "they don't speak english", we are straying off the issue of "illegal immigration" into a cultural battle with a growing hispanic population.

And there are many dangers in that approach, not the least of which is this: The legal hispanic community, seeing that much of the focus of the "anti-illegal-immigrant" crowd is actually about things they all do, may decide that kicking out all the illegals will simply reduce their population so much that the anti-illegal crowd will then be able to fix all these "problems" with the hispanic culture. You certainly won't get them to support your efforts to curb illegal immigration if you use attacks on hispanic culture to justify it.

The sad thing is, there's no need to do that anyway. We oppose illegal immigrants because they are illegal, they are breaking the law, living under the radar, and are a security risk and a threat to themselves and others.

It has nothing to do with them speaking spanish, or playing salsa music.

UPDATE: James had a valid criticism of my use of the word "lie" regarding Greg's incorrect reading of the RPV plan. Greg simply didn't care enough to read the RPV plan before commenting. My indignation wasn't so much for Greg's sloppy work reporting what the RPV plan said, but rather that he used the false claims to attack Tom Kopko. So it was wrong to say he "lied", but he did employ a reckless disregard for the truth in his attempts to smear his political opponents.

I will note that this exchange with James is a good illustration of the difference between "National Enquirer-type blogs like Greg's, and blogs which seek to report the truth. Commenters over at BVBL would be shocked to see James correcting my statement, or to see a blogger accept the correction -- at BVBL, it's normal to accuse people of things they didn't do.


James Young said...

You've been tagged.

Charles said...

are you allowed to tag two people at once? I thought you tagged Greg over in his last thread......


James Young said...

Far be it for me to defend Greg, but I must take exception to your comment that he "lie[d] TWICE about the RPV Plan." "Lie" implies intentional falsehood, and I find it difficult to believe that Greg intentionally lied. His comments were simply irresponsibly careless errors of fact. Unless, of course, you are referring to something other than what I am thinking of. A link on this point would be helpful.