Interactive Blog: Rate This Newscast



FAIR spokespersons are interviewed by television, radio and print publications on a daily basis.  This clip, below, is an example of a recent story produced by a local ABC news outlet in Sacramento, California.  The clip features a story on the area’s coronavirus-related job losses and the impact it was having on the local illegal alien population.

First, watch the video.

Next, I’m going to offer some commentary about the station’s overall handling of the topic and then will grade the objectivity and fairness of the newscast.  Finally, I’ll ask readers to do the same in the comment section. 

Comments:

  1. Use of the term “Undocumented Immigrant” – It’s an unfortunate reality that most media outlets refuse to use the legally correct term to describe those who enter or live in our country without authorization:  illegal alien.   If the media insists on using a euphemism to describe this population, it could at least invent an accurate one that, at a minimum, includes the fact that the person is in the country in violation of federal law.  Miguel is clearly here illegally, but it’s highly unlikely he doesn’t have any documents.  California, a sanctuary state, provides drivers licenses for illegal aliens –- that’s a document.  And it’s highly unlikely that Miguel was able to land a job at Instacart without a stolen Social Security number or some other stolen or fraudulent documents. 
  2. Instacart hires illegal aliens.  This is good to know.  I wonder if they realize that it’s a clear and unambiguous violation of federal law to do so and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) should fine them heavily for doing so.  Hopefully, ICE will look into this.
  3. FAIR’s spokesperson, in this interview, Ira Mehlman, (who gets an A for this interview) was likely on camera for five to ten minutes answering questions for this interview.  It’s expected that the news station will only use one or two sentences from any interview.  In this case, I thought they used a very strong statement about personal responsibility:  The fact that illegal aliens, like the rest of us, make rational decisions based, at least in part, on our own self interest.   This family chose to not wait their turn in line and instead crashed the border illegally.  That choice has consequences.
  4. A ledger has two sides:  cost and benefit.  The newscast allows California Governor Gavin Newsom to quote the figure that illegal aliens contribute roughly $2.5 billion in state and local taxes.  But what about their cost?  FAIR estimates that in 2017, illegal aliens cost California taxpayers $23 billion, or $1,799 per household. 

Grade:  Overall, I’d have to give this specific newscast a B+.  They played the issue fairly straight forward, were likely very limited on time in terms of telling the story, and gave the immigration enforcement side a reasonably “fair” shake. 

Your turn.

About Author

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Dave rejoined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 2016 and brings more than thirty years of proactive communications experience working with non-profits, trade associations and the private sector. Dave has written and placed op-eds in more than 100 publications for national and state leaders in fields ranging from immigration to agriculture policy, food and energy. Ray has served as a chief spokesman for several national organizations and has extensive radio and television experience as well.

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