A vivid dissection of a mainstream media hit piece

In search of articles relating to immigration sanity, my daily perusal of news feeds led me to the article, "What happened to Minuteman Project? It's still roiling immigration reform", Christian Science Monitor, April 30, 2014. This article embodies the lowest standards of biased mainstream media journalism. While the article reinforces the mindset of those following open borders extremist ideology, it is thoroughly distasteful to anyone who understands the issue. Nevertheless, a dissection of the article serves to illustrate evident reporting bias:


1. Disinformation regarding legislative efforts. 

The article begins with an overview of the Minuteman Project, stating:

At their height, the Minutemen were the face of a conservative insurgency that would later lend its energy to the emergence of the tea party."

The article then posits that the Minuteman movement largely lost momentum, due to the recession and "because politicians in state capitols and Congress have taken the lead." Huh?

I was media liaison and webmaster for the Minuteman Project (MMP) in Arizona in April, 2005 (CAIRCO's Mike McGarry was with me for the first week).. You can see photos I took which are posted to the original Minuteman Project website archive. The project dramatically demonstrated that retired ladies in lawn chairs actually could secure the United States border. Yet the most significant accomplishment of the project was the overwhelming media interest. Phones rang literally nonstop from 7 am to 7 pm. Reporters came in, not only from the US, but from Mexico, Spain, Holland, and Germany. Calls came in from Canada, Argentina and Japan. I asked European reporters why they were so interested and their response was consistently that because of formation of the EU, they have exactly the same problem in Europe. 

As for whether the energy of the MMP lent energy to the Tea Party, I certainly would hope so, because the GOP and Democratic parties have eschewed the law enforcement principles for which the MMP stood.

But to state that the MMP lost momentum because politicians have taken the lead? That's an unequivocal distortion of reality. One example is that in 2006, I headed up Defend Colorado Now, along with Gov. Lamm and Waldo Benavidez. The initiative was to allow voters to vote on whether to deny public benefits to illegal aliens. The Colorado Supreme Court killed the initiative on a contrived technicality. The Governor convened a special legislative session, which passed a number of immigration-related bills except the essence of the initiative.

Another example is the Oregon legislature, which recently issued driver licenses ("privilege cards") to illegal aliens. As a result Protect Oregon Driver Licenses formed as a citizens' referendum to overturn this ill-advised legislative action on the 2014 ballot. Indeed, it's close to impossible to find any state legislation that embodies the immigration law enforcement principles of the Minuteman Project. National legislation, of course, represents the antithesis of those principles - for example, the treasonous S. 744 amnesty bill, and the failed 2007 amnesty attempt.


2. Quoting discredited sources and ignoring legitimate sources.

The article then quotes Mark Potok of the Southern Law Poverty Center as "an expert on militias and antigovernment groups at the Southern Law Poverty Center," who states that the energy of the MMP shifted to state legislatures.

It is well-known that the Southern Law Poverty Center (SPLC) is a bigoted, discredited race-mongering fundraising organization. See The SPLC - Follow the Money. It is also quite revealing that no member of the Minuteman Project was quoted in the article.


3. Mouth-watering hyperbole, blatant lies, and inaccuracy.

The article continues with:

Criminal elements with ties to the organization caused damage, as did associations with people espousing white supremacy. Chris Simcox, a former leader of the movement, awaits trial in Phoenix on sexual-assault charges, while another leader, Shawna Forde, remains behind bars after being convicted and sentenced to death on murder charges."

What criminal elements? There were none whatsoever. White supremacy? The Minuteman Project predominantly and emphatically stated that:

The Minuteman Project has no affiliation with, nor will we accept any assistance by or interference from separatists, racists or supremacy groups or individuals, no matter what their race, color, or creed."

The charges against Simcox are alleged; they are part of a drawn-out divorce case. Chris maintains his innocence. Yet the reporter trots out this interesting "fact" which has nothing to do with the efficacy of the Minuteman Project. Specifically, this is an ad hominem attack - an attack against the person as opposed to an attack on one's position. It is a formal debating tactic and is frequently used as an attack of last resort against a winning position. (Here are a few more examples of ad hominem attack).

Back to the article. Who is Shawna Forde? She was never a leader with the original Minuteman Project. I was there for the entire project and never even met her. Leaders were Chris Simcox and Jim Gilchrist. Aside from the outright lie regarding her involvement, this is a classic example of "guilt by association". The reporter inaccurately claimed the involvement of Forde, with the implication that the entire project was as a result corrupted with criminal elements.


4. Doublespeak

It has been noted that "He who controls the language, controls the debate." The article certainly strives to do so. Here are some examples of how the reporter selectively included quotes from open borders radicals in order to negatively bias the article:

Although article includes a quote referring to Minuteman Project participants as vigalantees, MMP was a citizens' neighborhood watch along our border.

The article includes quotes referring to Minuteman Project participants as extremists and militia, not immigration law-enforcement advocates.

The article includes a quote referring to "anti-immigrant organizing". There is absolutely nothing regarding enforcing immigration laws that is anti-immigrant. Indeed, the United States is the most generous immigration nation, taking in a million legal immigrants each year - more than all other countries combined. 

The article references, "the image of members dressed in military-style clothes". MMP volunteers were not allowed to wear anything resembling military outfits. While carrying firearms is legal in Arizona, anyone carrying an un-holstered gun or a rifle was to be expelled immediately from participation on the project (no one violated the mandate). 

The article refers to "comprehensive immigration reform", which is code for amnesty for illegal aliens. Comprehensive immigration reform has nothing to do with the immigration law enforcement principles for which the Minuteman Project stood. The article states that:

In 2006, the House and Senate each approved legislation that addressed border security and the potential legalization of the estimated 12 million people in the country illegally. But the House and Senate proved unable to bridge the differences between the two proposals, and the attempts for reform crumbled.

The 2006-2007 amnesty for illegal aliens failed because of a huge outpouring of public opposition to the amnesty. It did not address border security in a positive manner - nor does the open borders s.744 bill. Indeed, a separate bill was passed by Congress in 2006 that mandated construction of a double secure border fence. Only a small fraction was funded and completed. For more information, see Border security and porous United States - Mexico border fence.


5. Inaccurate data

The article in the above excerpt refers to "the estimated 12 million people in the country illegally." This number originated with the Department of Homeland Security, which in December 2003 estimated 8 million to 12 million illegal aliens resided in the United States and that 700,000 new illegals snuck in and evaded apprehension every year. This stale statistic is suspect, as it was produced by the very entity responsible for the tidal wave of illegal aliens entering our nation - the United States Government.

The article states that "a sharp drop in illegal border crossings" was partially responsible for the "collapse" of the MMP. The article How many illegal aliens reside in the United States? explains how estimates of border crossings can be deliberately manipulated. One example is "sitting on X's". As explained to me by a Border Patrol agent when I was on the border in 2004, management directed Border Patrol agents to sit in one spot in their vehicles over an entire shift... so that they could not apprehend illegal aliens.

Regarding apprehensions, border apprehensions were up again in 2013. The December, 2013 article Deportation Lies Continue reveals that:

...although the percentage of criminal deportations is up, the number of criminal deportations is down, from 225,000 to 216,800. That ICE removed 9,000 fewer criminals this year is not a good thing for public safety, especially considering that the number of criminals turned over to ICE through Secure Communities and other programs is greater than ever before (700,000). This is catch-and-release on a massive scale — ICE is now releasing more criminals than it is removing.

Unsurprisingly, it was revealed in April, 2014 that the DHS Secretary Admits Department Manipulates Deportation Statistics. That is, DHS has been reclassifying deportation data in a way that made it appear that deportations had increased.

The data are there, waiting to be uncovered by an enterprising journalist.



The article notes that the Minuteman Project was overwhelmingly successful, which was entirely accurate. Unfortunately the article reveals a standard of reporting sloth and bias which pervades today's mainstream media. Articles such as this reveal a diminished journalistic standard to which the Christian Science Monitor evidently subscribes.


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