Journalists are expected to filter out the facts, for the good of society

By Mick Gregory

PC journalism’s New Speak

You don’t have any idea how elitist newsrooms at the nation’s top newspapers are. Did you know that illegal aliens murdered a young mother in Houston because she wouldn’t give up the keys to her car because her baby was inside? That is a fact that his been erased from the shocking murder, not unlike a PhotoShop airbrush of a portrait to take out blemishes.

How much of this type of truth filtering has gone on? Shouldn’t ethics come into play? Isn’t this a type of ethnic cleansing?

Check out for the complete story.

Newsrooms actually think it is in bad taste to publish the facts.
Take a look at this article on

Deciding Whether to Publish the Immigration Status of Crime Suspects
By Mizanur Rahman

It’s becoming an uncomfortably familiar question in newsrooms when someone with a Spanish surname is a crime suspect: Is he illegal?

The climate is ripe for local stories about illegal immigrants charged with crimes to explode into the public’s consciousness. Like the story of Juan Leonardo Quintero, an undocumented worker accused of fatally shooting a Houston police officer in 2006.

The feverish reaction to this case is mirrored by similar stories in Phoenix, Los Angeles and South Florida.

So it was not surprising when an Arizona Republic editor recently contacted the Chronicle inquiring about our policy on identifying the immigration status of crime suspects. Like many newspapers, we don’t have one since it’s a recently emerging issue. It was also understandable when a Chronicle reporter asked me, the immigration editor, if the paper was on a witch hunt against Hispanics after our most recent story about a homicide involving an immigrant.

Immigration, in some respects, is like another thorny identifier in stories: race. We’ve been taught that you only identify one’s race if race is central to the story. Immigration status mandates a similar threshold. (Of course, identifying someone’s race will never get them deported.)

Officer Rodney Johnson’s killing, on first glance, is a story about a horrible crime. But if questions about the suspect’s legal residency emerge, then his immigration status becomes important because of this fundamental point: The crime might not have happened if the suspect wasn’t in the U.S. without authorization. It’s a concern family members of victims, prosecutors and others will raise.

For example, say an illegal immigrant faces intoxicated manslaughter charges for killing someone while driving drunk. Immigration status is relevant in this case because in states such as Texas, illegal immigrants are prohibited from getting a driver’s license.

The residency status of immigrants (legal and illegal) charged with a crime is also pertinent because that status determines if they face deportation. Even legal permanent residents can be deported if they’re convicted of aggravated felonies or minor theft crimes.

Listing punitive consequences a charged suspect faces is important in any story. It’s why we include how much prison time a criminal conviction carries.

That’s a case for including immigration status in some crime stories.

But in daily practice, journalists now face a minefield of questions. Should we call ICE to check the immigration status of ALL Hispanics charged with serious crimes?

Why not help journalists understand their role. Tell Mr. Rahman what is common sense to most of us.


3 thoughts on “Journalists are expected to filter out the facts, for the good of society

  1. Pingback: Pages tagged "journalism"

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