Lost in the research

“Perils darken a shadow economy: Illegal immigrant workers, the health-care system and taxpayers all pay a steep price” is over-reported, for one thing, as my city editor used to tell me.  Some very eager social-science researchers masquerading as newspaper reporters spent a lot of hard time with injured migrants and we get the results in today’s 2nd installment, which is more of the same hitting over the head with hard-luck stories.  How many readers not given to self-flagellation can stay with such an account? 

This is less a news article than an editorial, sans punchline, which impinges on its honesty, since editorials are upfront about what they want.  These writers, aided and abetted by various editors, have a point of view over which they trip with every vivid sentence and heart-rending description: in a journalistic version of a primal scream, they tell us with their presentation that they HATE our immigration laws, HATE its application, HATE the crackdowns that have come helter-skelter in the wake of mass protests.

Another thing about an editorial: good ones make an argument, presenting the other side which they wish to discredit.  This series nowhere takes a detached moment to do that.  Its writers don’t have the time.  Nowhere do they describe the dilemma we face about open borders or not, respect for law or flouting it.  Once again, Chi Trib blows it, succumbing to emotion and giving us rant when we deserve to hear both sides.


Anonymous said...

It's not even good social science.

Anonymous said...

The Tribune isn't alone. This quote is from the Sun-Times' story this morning about the pro-illegal immigration marchers who descended on Hastert's office:

"One counter-protester said she believes illegal immigrants are making it more difficult for U.S. residents to find work.

"They are taking over," said Vicky Stephenson of Aurora."

What's wrong with that? It's just about the only voice given to the other view. And it is so generalized ("They are taking over") that is sounds racist. Here's a way, as all reporters know, to discredit one side or the other: Lift one or two sentences out of a quote without further details.

Does the reporter ask, how did Stephenson suffer? Sounds like she might have a story to tell. If not her, what about the other counter-demonstrators? This story would get an "F" in my journalism class, if anyone still gives Fs.