Thursday, February 5, 2015

Paul Babeu Goes to Washington

Outspoken Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu was the lead witness this week (Feb 3, 2015) at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on immigration and border security.  He presented some startling facts.  The reception he got tells you everything you need to know about why Congress is broken and why meaningful immigration reform remains almost, but not quite, a lost cause.

Even more instructive is the media reaction.  The last time I checked (just before posting this) I was able to find three articles referencing the hearing posted on what I would describe as mainstream media sites.  Three.  The Arizona Daily Star made a mention.  So did the Tucson Sentinel.   I could find no references to any radio or television coverage anywhere.  Even CSPAN didn't carry this hearing (I had to rely on the House Judiciary web page itself.)  To put the near-total lack of media interest into perspective, a search for coverage of the Brazilian beauty pageant where the runner-up snatched the crown off the head of the winner led to more than 200 articles.  

The left-leaning Huffington Post did make an oblique reference to the hearing.   It posted a complaint from U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Washington, D.C.) grousing that the Republicans had cut him off and prevented him from questioning what he calls the militarization of the border.  From several hours of testimony, that was HuffPo's sole takeaway.  Nor did it do any reporting to investigate whether the Congressman's complaint was valid.

Was it?  Listen to the coverage yourself to see who cut off whom.  This was not a short radio segment; we devoted some time to it.  But if you care about immigration issues and about our democratic processes, and if you'd like to find out something about both that you can't learn anywhere else, it's worth your while.

Before you proceed, in the interests of full disclosure, let me say this. I believe you deserve to know where journalists and commentators are coming from when they present stories.  I am pro-immigration.  I believe the current laws aren't working well and need to be changed.  I do not agree that we should insist on "securing the border first" -- let's be honest, it will never be secure to the satisfaction of all.  That said, I do believe we should make reasonable efforts to enforce the laws on the books until such time as Americans, through their Constitutionally provided democratic processes, decide to change them.  And I believe this story is newsworthy precisely because of what it says about those processes.

The radio segment is below.

©2015 by Forrest Carr.  All rights reserved.

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