Column | NY Times reporter reveals her immigration stories’ sources
In a recent interview, New York Times immigration reporter Miriam Jordan revealed how she goes about putting together an immigration story.
Summarized, Jordan is heavily (if not exclusively) dependent on two sources: immigration lawyers and immigrants, often illegally present. Jordan also occasionally reaches out to advocacy groups and aid workers, but is cautious about citing federal immigration statistics. Jordan called government data “untrustworthy” and not “necessarily credible.” For her stories that require hard facts, Jordan also relies on the Pew Research Center and the Migration Policy Institute.
While these reputable think tanks are not advocacy groups per se, they promote higher immigration levels.
Conspicuously missing from Jordan’s sources are immigration victims or any of the half dozen, well-established research organizations that promote less immigration. Jordan hasn’t reported on immigration victims, including those who lost loved ones because of criminal aliens’ murderous acts or whose jobs have been given to immigrants with employment-based visas. She hasn’t covered aliens who present falsified Social Security numbers or who work for cash off the books.
Since she relies exclusively on sources that promote more immigration, Jordan cannot write a fair and balanced immigration story. Consider the lawyers she depends on for her material. No organization more richly profits from immigration increases than the American Immigration Lawyers Association. As evidence of how lucrative the immigration law profession is, AILA’s membership has grown from 600 in 1975 to 15,000 today.
Imagine that a reporter gets an assignment to determine how often consumers should buy a new car. Then the reporter exclusively interviews National Automobile Dealers Association members. The high probability is that, according to the dealers, the prudent plan would be to purchase new every couple of years – more safety features have been added, the latest models yield better gas mileage, and better long-term financing is available to the buyer. Missing from the story is the buyer whose eight-year-old, regularly serviced car has logged 100,000 miles, and is still going strong. Just as automobile dealers’ profit from more car sales, so too do lawyers gain from more immigration.
The 110-year-old, 10,000+ member-strong Society of Professional Journalists posted in their Code of Ethics principles essential for public enlightenment. Among them are to seek truth and report it. As part of truth seeking, the SPJ deems that ethical journalism requires “a special obligation to serve as watchdogs over public affairs and government.” But when only the pro-immigration side is written, as Jordan and countless others do, then they have failed in their mission as watchdogs. The simple solution is to write a balanced story that gives an equal number of pro-immigration and immigration reduction sources.
The lower immigration perspective is an important, statistically inarguable, but ignored, part of the mainstream media’s bias. More than 1 million new lawful permanent work authorized immigrants arrive annually along with about 750,000 guest workers, allegedly but not always temporary. Assuming the immigration status quo stays the same, the U.S. Census Bureau predicts that immigrants and their children will drive U.S. population to more than 400 million by 2060. These facts are crucially important for Americans to know and understand as they deliberate their individual opinions on more or less immigration.
Yet, Jordan and her peers deliberately withhold information that may lead their readers to conclude that immigration levels must be reduced for sustainability concerns if no others. The New York Times and other prominent daily newspapers largely refuse to publish information that reflects poorly on immigration, including unchallenged government data, hardly the definition of a watchdog.
With its huge reach – nearly 4 million subscribers – the New York Times has an obligation to tell the whole immigration story, not just the portion of it that matches a reporter’s personal views and biases.