The blogosphere is busy dissecting the media’s (mis)handling of the immigration debate — and in most cases, amnesty is not being offered.


The Not So Free State, for one, feels misrepresented (and made to feel like a meanie). “My blood boiled,” blogs TNSFS, upon seeing this cartoon by the Houston Chronicle’s editorial cartoonist, Nick Anderson, in which Jesus is arrested for “giving aid and comfort” to an illegal immigrant. Contends TNSFS, “…the media continues to slant this thing as if ‘we don’t care’ if we don’t want to let illegals into America. .. the whole issue is being obfuscated by the media insisting to not using the word ‘illegal’ and instead just using ‘immigrant’… I don’t know a single person who has publicly stated they are opposed to immigration. We are opposed to illegal immigration…”


Michelle Malkin finds fault with the Washington Post’s coverage of “illegal alien activists’…ballyhooed May 17 Amnesty Rally” (not that she expected the “MSM would provide fair coverage of the demonstration.”) Malkin links to Tim Graham’s examination of the Post’s piece at newsbusters.org (Graham’s objections are neatly summed up in the title of his post, “WashPost Plays Up New Illegal-Alien Protest, Complete With Flag Photos In Color.”) To Graham’s expert eyes, this story belongs in the Post’s Metro section, not on A13. Moreover, gripes Graham, neither this piece nor another piece on the rally “used the word ‘liberal’ to describe anyone in the story, either the amnesty lobbyists or the sympathetic Democrats who received them. They were merely ‘activists.’”


It is Bill O’Reilly’s recent immigration-related press criticism that has Lya Kahlo at God Is For Suckers up in arms. O’Reilly’s offending words (uttered May 16th in the “Memo” portion of his Fox News show, “The O’Reilly Factor”)?

[The New York Times] and many far-left thinkers believe the white power structure that controls America is bad, so a drastic change is needed. According to the lefty zealots, the white Christians who hold power must be swept out by a new multicultural tide, a rainbow coalition, if you will. This can only happen if demographics change in America. An open-border policy and the legalization of millions of Hispanic illegal aliens would deeply affect the political landscape in America. That’s what the New York Times and many others on the left want. They might get it. And that’s the “Memo.”


Here is Kahlo’s reaction (well, the politer part of it): “…I can’t even pretend to be surprised that O’Reilly would say these things. It’s been a few days since his name was in the papers. And, since it looks like his political masters are going to lose big time in the next round of elections, he’s got to start lying early if he hopes to help dupe the stupid into voting for them again.”


On a lighter note (or is it?), Steve Benen at The Carpetbagger Report flags a recent USA Today story about how “a set of flashcards designed to help applicants for U.S. citizenship learn basic civics” sold by the Government Printing Office “won’t help immigrants learn much about the role of the press in American democracy.” Why? Because “freedom of the press” is not among the official flashcard answers to the question, “Name one right or freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment.” The article quotes an official confirming that “anyone answering the question by citing freedom of the press will get credit for the right answer.” Writes Brenen: “It was probably just an innocent mistake. But I found this funny.” Far less amused and forgiving were Benen’s readers. (Sample comment: “And if they answer, ‘The only rights I need are my God-given rights to bear arms, drive a 1-ton, spread the word of Jesus, and get tax cuts,’ they’re awarded citizenship right on the spot.”)


And finally, what critical issue might bump immigration off of the front pages once and for all? Lake Worth, Florida-dwelling Victoria at cru5h has some thoughts. “I’m sure our crummy alligators are making their way to national news now because there’s nothing else to talk about when they’re done talking about immigration, I guess. Remember how bad sharks were just before September 11th? And last summer too?” And Victoria has this reminder for readers (cable news producers, take note!): “… before people start filming Gators Gone Wild 2006 understand something — it’s mating season. Alligators are out big time during the warmer months. They’re lookin’ for action and some munchies. It’s their nature.”

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.