It is no surprise that the illegal alien advocacy network is pretty unhappy about last week’s ruling by a federal judge allowing Alabama to implement AB 56, a law designed to discourage illegal immigration. Nor is it surprising that participants in a telephonic news conference would promulgate blatant falsehoods about what the law requires. What is dismaying (though not surprising) is the unwillingness of big time media to challenge a single inaccurate assertion. Why would news organizations like the Washington Post, CNN, and NPR affiliates even have reporters listen to canned talking points from advocates if they’re not going to ask for proof of the assertions that are made?
Reporters listened as “news” conference participants asserted that the law “requires police to investigate people they suspect might look or sound foreign,” or that children “will have to produce papers on a moment’s notice at school or at play.” Instead, we got questions, such as one from a reporter for WBEZ Radio, Chicago’s NPR affiliate, asking if it was true that illegal alien women were being shackled while in childbirth. (Yes, according to one news conference participant who said such abuse was “documented,” but neither provided, nor was asked for that documentation.)
The media certainly have a legitimate interest in including the views of advocacy groups in their coverage of news events, but they have an obligation to hold sources accountable for what they say. They ask FAIR to back-up our assertions all the time – requests we are always happy to accommodate. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but no one is entitled to their own set of “facts.”
In fact, the only piece of actual news to emerge from the 45-minute advocacy diatribe is that there are no plans to call for a boycott of Alabama, similar to the one that failed miserably in Arizona.