Why Does the Corporate Media Include the Perspective of White Nationalists in the ‘Immigration Debate’?
- “‘There were no safeguards [in the spousal program] to make sure they weren’t displacing or undercutting US workers,’ said Jessica Vaughan, an immigration expert at the Center for Immigration Studies, which backs limits on legal as well as illegal immigration.” (Wall Street Journal, 12/14/17)
- “‘The parents that would undertake this perilous journey to the United States would be less likely to do it if they knew they would be separated from their kids,’ said Andrew R. Arthur, a resident fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies, which seeks to reduce immigration.’” (Washington Post, 12/21/17)
- “Mr. Trump ‘has taken the handcuffs off,’ said Steven A. Camarota of the Center for Immigration Studies, an advocacy group that favors more limits on immigration.” (New York Times, 12/23/17)
- “‘As a practical matter, it just kind of swept those cases under the rug,’ said [Andrew] Arthur, now a fellow at Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates for immigration restrictions.” (Washington Post, 1/5/18)
- “‘We can help people closer to where their homes are,’ said Jessica Vaughan of the Center for Immigration Studies, which supports restrictions on legal and illegal immigration. ‘That makes it much easier for them to go home if conditions permit.’” (Wall Street Journal, 1/7/18)
- “But Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which favors restrictions on immigration, said the Trump administration was correctly abiding by the original intent of the program.” (New York Times, 1/8/18)
CIS has a long history of bigotry, starting with its founder, white nationalist John Tanton, but in 2016, the group hit a new low. CIS commissioned Jason Richwine, a man whose PhD dissertation endorses the idea of IQ differences between the races, to write multiple reports and blog pieces for the organization. The group also continued to circulate racist and antisemitic authors to its supporters and, finally, staffer John Miano attended the white nationalist group VDARE’s Christmas party in December.
As PolitiFact (3/22/17), a factchecking organization, noted when it examined the issue of CIS “hate group” status:
CIS circulates a weekly email listserv with dozens of links to articles about immigration. The SPLC said that these emails have highlighted articles by “white nationalists” such as Paul Weston, a Holocaust denier, and articles by American Renaissance, run by Jared Taylor, who has made racist statements about blacks. One article, entitled “Voting for Hillary Equals More Muslim Killings of Americans,” claimed that Clinton’s assistant “works fervently for Sharia law in America,” and that Trump would give the United States a chance to “survive this immigration invasion.”
Just as with NPR’s reliance on an SPLC-labeled “extremist” group, the deeply Islamophobic Center for Security Policy, to provide “balance” on the issue of Iran as it pertains to Trump’s extremism (FAIR.org, 2/7/17), the tactic of racist, xenophobic and outright white nationalist elements passing as mainstream by simply rebranding themselves as a generic-sounding think tank with “institute” or “center” in its name is a pernicious one. This has always been a marketing ploy of far-right groups, but the rise of Trump—whose candidacy and presidency are defined by white nationalist dog whistles and pandering—makes the practice that much more dangerous. Major outlets like the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal are turning to extremist groups to provide the pretense of balance as the government moves further to the far right on immigration. This inclination speaks to the pitfalls of “balance” as an overarching principle. One of the more subtle ways the media normalize Trump is by normalizing previously fringe groups that have grown more powerful in his orbit. Not giving these hate groups a platform would be ideal; disclosing their white nationalist ties when quoting them should be the bare minimum.
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