Univision makes no effort to conceal its conviction that illegal immigrants should be treated no differently from those who follow immigration law. Its news anchors routinely refer to opponents of illegal immigration as "anti-immigrant".
But on last Friday's evening news, the Spanish-language network reached a new low in its bias. Its offense came in its treatment of the South Carolina group called Americans Have Had Enough.
Before watching my recording of the newscast last weekend, I had never head of Americans Have Had Enough. A check of its website makes clear that it's a conservative group. Its list of concerns names these as its top five:
- Securing our borders;
- Enforcing our laws against the hiring of illegal aliens;
- Restoring and strengthening the "private" part in private property rights;
- Returning education authority and control to local school districts and de-funding the national Department of Education; and
- Restoring fiscal accountability in government spending.
The list goes on, in a way that Ronald Reagan would probably have approved. I saw no sign of xenophobia.
And yet Univision anchor Maria Salinas, a highly regarded journalist, made her brief discussion of the group part of a story she prominently labeled as an examination of "xenophobia." She noted that the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled Americans Have Had Enough as a "hate group."
That is a smear tactic that the SPLC's Heidi Beirich and Mark Potok have used with a reckless malice we discussed in the 2010 investigation titled "Immigration and the SPLC". The "hate group" tag is often nothing more than a shoddy and cheap stunt to advance the cause of wide-open immigration.
Salinas's story then compounded the insult by putting the words "Group de Odio" — "Hate Group" — on the screen as she began a brief exchange with Roan Garcia-Quintana, the executive director of Americans Have Had Enough. Salinas did not use quotation marks, effectively affirming the smear.
Applying the network's party line, she said to Garcia-Quintana, "You are an immigrant. You came from Cuba. Why are you against immigrants?"
He responded: "I'm not against immigrants, I'm against illegals."
That is a distinction that Univision, in repeated defiance of basic journalistic principles, fails to make.
I think that was bad reporting. For the record, that does not make me "anti-journalist." I was a reporter for more than 30 years. That was long enough to earn me the label of "anti-bad journalism."