LatinaLista– With the DREAM Act gaining momentum in Congress, groups, who are hostile towards any idea that our government would do the right thing for this country and begin to resolve the illegal immigration issue, are getting frantic.
The unfortunate thing is that they are dragging down the integrity of respected newspapers along with them.
Case in point: An article currently being distributed to newspapers via PRNewswire and authored by the president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a known entity that distorts the facts about immigration statistics to influence people, is achieving its objective easily without any pushback from the one institution whose hallmark has been the keeper of the public trust.
The article’s headline “Anti-Hispanic Hate Crime Drops Three Years in a Row,” is a blatant misrepresentation of the facts. Yet one newspaper, The Bradenton Herald, chose to run this article.
Not sure if they ran it as an op-ed or a regular article, though it clearly would be an op-ed and even then should have been questioned about its facts before publishing.
The article presents the premise that Latinos really aren’t seeing an increase in attacks because of the anti-immigration rhetoric being pushed by groups like FAIR.
If only that were true.
By virtue of completing a recent project on the Shenandoah hate crime trial that concluded last month in Scranton, PA and having to secure data for that project from the Department of Justice on hate crimes incidences targeting Latinos, I am disappointed that the Bradenton Herald let down their guard and published something that is more akin to propaganda than the truth.
Though I realize newspapers are short-staffed during holidays, and especially more so these days, and it is far easier and quicker to publish content supplied by a source one trusts, no newspaper should sacrifice their journalistic integrity for the sake of easy content.
Knowing how volatile the immigration issue is these days and the propensity for either side in the debate to manipulate statistics to meet their own agendas, there should be a requirement for authors to prove their stats and be challenged when analysis and statistics don’t match.
Yes, this takes time and it takes manpower from an already overworked staff but if newspapers still want to be the gatekeepers for their communities in delivering content void of propaganda and manipulation they must do this.
Just to clarify the points made in this particular article — There has not been a steady decline in Latino victimization but more of a fluctuation. Courtesy of Latina Lista friend, Prerna:
2005: 58.8 percent were targeted because of an anti-Hispanic bias.
2006: 62.8 percent were targeted because of an anti-Hispanic bias.
2007: 61.6 percent were targeted because of an anti-Hispanic bias.
2008: 64.6 percent were victims of an anti-Hispanic bias.
2009: 62.4 percent were targeted because of an anti-Hispanic bias.
While there is a 2.2 percent drop from 2008-2009, it hardly is a sign that Latinos are not being victimized in hate crimes. Not to mention, it completely discounts the headline of the article that says hate crimes against Latinos have dropped three years in a row. Obviously, a quick look illustrates that they have not.
The Department of Justice noticed the increase of Latino victims and has started to actively outreach to Latino communities to encourage them to report hate crimes committed against them, since many immigrants are afraid to report them for fear of reprisals.
No telling how many newspapers chose the easy route in picking up this article without subjecting it to proper scrutiny but hopefully, in the future, newspapers will return to those days that took the time to fact-check content under their banner — because their public’s trust should be more important than filling space.