Thursday, February 22, 2007

Bad Journalism and Illegal Immigration

I didn't intend to post again until I got back from the Shepherd's Conference, but something happened on Fox News this morning that demands comment.

Geraldo Rivera was guest-hosting on Fox and Friends, and they had a couple of college students on to debate illegal immigration and a game that the College Republicans came up with to provoke debate on the issue, "Find the Illegal Immigrant." Rather than ask questions of the two protagonists and let them answer, Geraldo went off on the Republican student, calling the game (and by implication, the student) racist and comparing him to the Nazis. The hapless kid couldn't get a word in edgewise. On the other hand, the "poor pitiful Hispanic student" was allowed to speak uninterrupted. I fired off the following angry email to Fox and Friends . . .

I don't think I've ever seen more rude, unprofessional
behavior out of a journalist in my life. You ask a
College Republican on your program to discuss the
issue, and then you lace into him, hardly letting him
get a word in edgewise. You call that objective
journalism? Geraldo was really demogoging the issue as
well. The game was intended to call attention to
ILLEGAL immigration, violation of national borders,
illegal activity by businesses knowingly employing
illegals. Only one side of this issue is being heard,
and a college campus is supposedly one where academic
freedom reigns. It is hardly the Nazification of our

If Geraldo has an opinion on this stuff, let him put
it into an editorial. If he was going to be "fair and
balanced," he should have jumped into the Hispanic
guest and asked him "what part of illegal doesn't he

Geraldo's behavior is a classic example of why rational debate is becoming an extinct species in the United States. If they can't intellectionally win the argument, they shout you down and call you names. It is also an example of how journalism has deteriorated. News, fact and opinion have been blurred and journalists have become advocates rather than objective chroniclers of the day's events. Rather than the College Republicans being Nazis, Geraldo's behavior is of a piece with both fascist AND communist ways of humiliating and silencing their opposition.

No one that I know on this issue opposes LEGAL immigration. We object to illegality on all sides, the illegals and the employers who hire them. A nation has the right to govern its borders. Period.


Rob said...

I would hope that you have the same opinion of Bill O'Reilly. Not exactly fair and balanced.


SolaMeanie said...

Well, hi Rob...long time no hear from! Hope all is well with you.

Yes, Bill O makes me mad sometimes, but there is a difference there. He is more of an analyst/commentator rather than a journalist, although he was a reporter earlier in his career. They cast Geraldo as a journalist. I was trained by an old school type. Reporters report both sides fairly and save personal opinions for editorials or commentaries. That line is increasingly blurred anymore. What's worse, news is becoming more like entertainment, with lead stories I wouldn't even cover. Why is Anna Nicole Smith national news?

Rob said...

Any network that casts Geraldo as a journalist has a red flag in my mind :).

As for the Anna Nicole Smith stuff, I think your country has totally lost its mind.

I agree, I'd like to see unbiased media, but I'm sure it's a pipe dream.


crownring said...

Geraldo Rivera (Jerry Rivers) is, quite simply, a hack. I suppose Fox News keeps him on because he creates controversy and therefore brings in an audience.

Personally, if someone offered me a free shot of sticking a sock in Rivera's mouth and duct taping it shut, I'd do it in a heartbeat.