Dan Amira, Fox Business News, Fox News, illegal aliens, Im-Politic, Immigration, Jose Antonio Vargas, Mainstream Media, The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, Trade Derangement Syndromeu, Trump Derangement Syndrome, Twitter
My main Twitter hashtag of choice to express disdain used to be #TooFunny” but lately I’ve largely switched over to #SMH (Shaking My Head) because it added the idea of incredulity. And items like The New York Times Magazine‘s interview last week with illegal alien author Jose Antonio Vargas nicely illustrates why the change is needed.
Vargas, in case you don’t know, is an illegal alien with a difference – other than being a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. He’s made his status public, in the apparent confidence that he’s created too high a profile to run any serious deportation risk. And so far, he’s been right.
The Times Magazine interviewed Vargas because he’s just published a memoir, and of course that’s fine on both counts. What’s not fine is how interviewer Dan Amira, and all his editors, gave Vargas a total pass for the following jaw-dropping statement:
“There’s an entire anti-immigrant machine, and it’s very savvy at how it uses media.”
That’s when Amira should have shouted, “Whoa!” Not that the school of thought that favors sensible restrictions on immigration (that “anti-immigrant machine”) isn’t full of highly intelligent and capable people. Of course it is. But Amira should have aggressively followed up on the idea that the individuals and organizations that comprise the restrictionist movement have been highly, and even a little sneakily, effective at manipulating news organizations and their employees into unknowingly peddling “anti-immigration” propaganda.
In the process, ignore Vargas’ fatuous definition of savvy media work: “cementing” in Americans’ minds the notion that the immigration policy debate “is about borders or walls.” If it’s not supposed to be largely about borders, what should be the focus? Melania Trump’s wardrobe?
Just consider the apparent belief that any major media organizations (outside of a few anchors and panelists on Fox News and Fox Business News) are chock full of reporters and editors and pundits harboring any significant skepticism about the most indulgent possible immigration policies, including maximally open borders and maximal leniency toward the current illegals population. Who does Vargas think these journalists are? Can Amira identify any at his own New York Times? And if so, where have they all been hiding since the current phase of the immigration policy debate began in 2006, when illegals and their supporters started staging large-scale pro-amnesty protests complete with cheeky signs contending “We Built America” and the flags of their countries of origin flying proudly.
It’s tempting to ascribe these utterly ditzy performances by Vargas and Amira to the simple cluelessness so often shown by journalists and policy activists, who rarely need to step outside their tightly circumscribed socio-professional bubbles. But my hunch is that there’s something else going on. I suspect that Vargas believes the media is gullibly parroting a restrictionist line, and that Amira let his observation pass, because both find it a convenient explanation for why the kinds of loosey-goosey immigration policies they and everyone else they know (along with all people of good will) supports aren’t yet the law of the land. After all, in their eyes, its virtues are so obvious and so widely appreciated that nothing but a devilishly clever conspiracy could be responsible for frustrating their objectives.
In other words, it may not be enough that American politics and policy are being saturated with Trump Derangement Syndrome and Trade Derangement Syndrome. Large shares of the establishment may now be suffering Immigration Derangement Syndrome as well.