Ah, the best laid plans of mice and bloggers.
I’m in the middle of a planned little RealityChek break but sometimes you can be sitting around reading the papers lazily and an item (or two) just jolts you into action. In this case, it was the radically different coverage by The New York Post and The New York Times of Friday’s announcement of mass arrests on Long Island, New York, of alleged members of the Central America-based gang MS-13.
MS-13 is held responsible for any number of horrific murders and other crimes in the area (and around the nation), and the news made the front pages of both papers. The Post‘s initial display was more prominent, but then again, it’s a more regionally focused publication, so no one can have any legitimate beef with The Times somewhat lower key approach. Indeed, let’s not forget that The Times is a more than somewhat lower-keyed paper to start with.
But here’s what should be the subject of a big beef. Even though immigration policy was by no means the Post article’s main angle, the print edition article did quote “a federal source” (federal, state, and local law enforcement authorities worked together on the investigations leading to the arrests) as saying that an estimated half of the defendants are non-citizens in the United States illegally. (This claim was left out of the on-line version.) Both versions of the article quoted (presumably other) officials as stating that the newly indicted, in the reporters’ words, “include illegal immigrants, US citizens, and non-citizens who are in the country legally.”
And at the very end, the article noted that “President Donald Trump has often cited the dangers of the MS-13 “infestation” to push for tougher immigration laws.”
All in all, then, this tabloid, owned by Australian conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch, and which often covers and comments on the President favorably, looks to have provided an account of the arrests with an appropriate degree of balance and context.
You’d think that The New York Times, which long has proudly boasted that it presents “All the News That’s Fit to Print” would have performed at least as well. But do you know how many times The Times coverage, in print or on-line, mentioned the legal status of any of those arrested? Exactly none.
The paper did manage, though, to report – quite prominently in the piece – that “The gang’s notoriety and bloody tactics have caught the attention of President Trump, who has often invoked its name and reputation as a way to justify his immigration policy. He has referred to the group as an ‘infestation’ and to its members as ‘animals.’ In 2018, he invited the mother of one MS-13 murder victim to be his guest at the State of the Union address.
“And on Friday, the president went on Twitter to use the arrests as an argument for his immigration policy, saying that the gang takedown was an example of how ‘we are getting MS-13 gang members, and many other people that shouldn’t be here, out of our country.’”
In other words, any’one relying solely on The Times coverage could easily have gotten the impression that Mr. Trump is simply using MS-13 as a baseless – or at least suspicious – way to fan immigration-related fears.
Since it’s a free country, The Times is perfectly within its rights to pretend or to suggest that the spread of Central American-based gangs like MS-13 has absolutely nothing to do with American immigration policy — except in the minds of xenophobes like President Trump. But this kind of treatment belongs in its commentary pages, not in hard news reporting where facts and accurate context are supposed to matter.
Sadly, though, the paper’s coverage is only the latest instance of Mainstream Media news organizations — and other Open Borders supporters — coddling a vicious criminal ring which would have only a minor presence in America had the nation’s previous Presidents and Congresses taken seriously their responsibility to enforce border security. As a result, it’s legitimate to wonder how many more innocent residents of this country, legal and illegal, need to be victimized by illegal alien crime for its enablers to wake up.