Jelly, jelly so fine

Saturday, April 3, 2021

We report, you decide.

I wrote a blogpost recently where I reported that certain social scientists were questioning the veracity of a border surge, instead attributing it to a seasonal upshift. Many people were apparently indignant about the original Washington Post article. 

Some people were also clearly indignant about my blog post, or at least one person was. A friend of mine started writing me rather nasty notes after I shared the article, which I had no part in writing. Accused me of bias. He sent me this article from Fox News. Gotcha!

I don't read a lot of stuff from Fox but looked at their link, a lot of blather over a limited correction, and not a retraction, at least in my mind. Significant correction? But here is how Fox framed it:

The Washington Post yet again was forced to make a significant correction on Thursday, altering a headline to an analysis piece that initially claimed there was "no migrant surge" and didn't acknowledge the record number of unaccompanied minors crossing the border.

The initial headline of the piece from its Monkey Cage blog read, "There’s no migrant ‘surge’ at the U.S. southern border. Here’s the data." The headline is now, "The migrant ‘surge’ at the U.S. southern border is actually a predictable pattern."

While the piece says it was updated, it does not specify how.

Heavens, not exactly earth shattering, at least not to me. But they never waste a chance to bare their fangs at the left so it is understood. Never miss an opportunity to inflict damage in the cultural civil war. Did you know Biden's dog even pooped in the White House? I never...

My reader sent me another email this morning, in the same vein:

My friend is clearly bugged. There is an obvious surge at the border. He is correct. Biden has asked people not to come but they are still coming. It is a problem. But as big as the problem might be, Biden's policy has to be an improvement over the human rights policies of his predecessors, the draconian splitting up of poor families, seeking a better life, fleeing poverty and persecution, some never seeing parents or children again.

Leslie and I met an ex Border Patrol supervisor, now tending bar in Santa Barbara, this weekend. I point blank asked him how he felt about the Trump administration's family separation policy and he said it was an absolute cluster fuck. Leslie cautioned me to never talk politics until you get your food or drinks, a memory of a large gathering at a Peruvian restaurant in San Francisco still fresh. An inch of salt poured over our food. Disastrous.

I wrote back.

If you’re not a red man you’re a freaking immigrant I am sorry.

He responded: Lol, do you ever retract false information that you blog ?

He: Don’t need to be angry at me. Just stating the obvious bias you have. 

Me: I am not angry with you. I admit to having a bias against people who want to blame migrants for their ills but can't stop hiring them and also have stupid kids that are too lazy to work.


No answer, that might be the end of our colloquy.  I guess his question is valid. Do I have an obligation to issue corrections for the Washington Post? Is it my job? I don't really see it as my place. Honestly, they don't pay me enough. And look what I wrote in the first place, "could there be?" Not definitive but posing a question. It plainly invites the reader to see for themself. That there might be more to the story than the standard Murdoch pablum.

We report shpiel , you decide. Just like Fox.


Sanoguy said...

When was the&last time Fauc News issued a correction?

Anonymous said...

I think it's always a good idea to dive deeper into the headlines, and let it lead where it may. The problem at the border has existed throughout both party's presidencies, so no need to place final blame, but maybe time to get together to fix the problem? You don't have to be a supporter of illegal immigration to believe that placing people seeking asylum into danger and taking children from guardians is a bad bad thing. It seems to me that Republicans especially want to deny they are responsible for any possible wrongdoing, and blame any bad thing that happens on Democrats...their preferred scapegoats. Yet the "party of purity and family values" seems to be secretly responsible for many terrible acts, especially ones they so loudly condemn. I'm wondering where that comes from.

Jon Harwood said...

I think you have a neutral reality: Immigration has run in CYCLES for a few years. The right spins this reality by saying the up cycle is a surge. The left spins this reality by saying that since the cycles are repetitive it is just a cyclical pattern not a surge. The problem is the spin not the reality.

I think your responsibility, if you find yourself standing in the witness box before the divine bar, is to report the reality clearly and to state that YOUR INTERPRETATION is "blah blah - whatever".

If we all did this state the situation in a neutral way and then state our editorial opinions we would be fine. What happens and what leads to arguments like the one you describe is that we state our interpretations first (as The Washington Post did). This leads to the endless circular arguments over interpretation while the real situation never gets acknowledged as being separate from our interpretations.

I now remove my white robe and laurel wreath and step down from the pundit plinth (skillfully ducking various rotten tomatoes and flying dung chunks.