Thursday, July 9, 2009

Page Two

The Denver Post has a column on page two of its first section titled “Morning Brew.” It is a rotating column, shared principally by two columnists for the Denver Post, Mike Littwin and Tina Griego.

The front page of the Denver Post tells us what events are the “news of the day.” The second page tells us how we should feel about the news.

Why is this important? It’s related to the structure of our printed media. In an earlier post, I noted how anti-Republican characterizations are reported as news, while pro-Republican facts show up as opinion. Page two of the Denver Post tells us how we should feel about the news, and often that feeling is portrayed with anti-Republican themes.

Perhaps an example is in order. Here are the first few paragraphs from a "Morning Brew" column by Tina Griego:

A move to integrate — not to assimilate

By Tina Griego
Denver Post Columnist
Posted: 06/27/2009 01:00:00 AM MDT

On Thursday, while President Barack Obama was meeting with lawmakers on immigration reform, about 300 people gathered in downtown Denver to talk about how to best integrate immigrants into American society.

Before I go any further, let me first take you back to City Councilman Paul Lopez's congreso last weekend, where people from his southwest Denver district spent three hours discussing their community's problems and what to do about them.

They rattled off issues like graffiti and illegal dumping and too much noise and not enough parking. I waited for someone to say, "illegal immigration," but no one did.
I shouldn't have been as surprised as I was. But I had forgotten one of the lessons of my year reporting on Border Street, which is in Lopez's district.

The American citizens, white and Latino, on that block all told me the same thing: The issue for them was not so much that their neighbor might be an illegal immigrant. The issue was that the neighbor was washing her laundry in a tub in the front yard and hanging wet underwear on rope strung from the porch to the tree to the fence post. The issue was that 14 people lived next door. The issue was that they could not communicate with their Spanish-speaking neighbors.

The silence between native-born and immigrant had become grudging and accusatory. The long-timers had reached the conclusion that the newcomers did not want to talk to them, did not respect them or this country and its rules. The immigrants, here legally and illegally, likewise decided their neighbors did not respect them and so withdrew or moved away only to be replaced by other immigrants. And so the dysfunctional dance began again...

The article purports to be about the difference between assimilation and integration. But the one thing that stands out is the contrast between the use of the words “immigrant” and “illegal immigrant.” Note how the last paragraph characterizes “immigrants, here legally and illegally” as having the same mindset. The idea is that whether or not you have gone through the American naturalization process, you think the same.

Is this true? An illegal immigrant does not have to demonstrate an ability to read, write, and speak English; does not have to demonstrate a knowledge of U. S. History; does not have to take an Oath of Allegiance that declares that he or she will support and defend the Constitution and will bear true faith and allegiance to the same, while renouncing fidelity to any sovereignty where the immigrant has been a citizen. To me, this is an important difference. Ms. Griego doesn’t see it that way. She believes legal immigrants and illegal immigrants have the same point of view. Pledging allegiance to the Constitution is apparently a trivial matter.

You are probably wondering how this fits in with our anti-Republican culture. Take a look at a recent article by Daniel Henninger in the Wall Street Journal. Mr. Henninger talks about “the official dumbing down of democracy,” and emphasizes his point by quoting Russian Foreign Minister Sergio Lavrov’s characterization of the Iranian election of June, 2009: “No one is willing to condemn the election process because it’s an exercise in democracy.”

The Iranian election process as an exercise in democracy? Republicans venerate things like democracy, our Constitution and natural law. Evidently, on a larger stage, these words and their respective ideas are merely props. They are meant to lack significance and meaning.

Ms. Griego doesn’t sense that illegal immigration is an offense of trespassing, as real as seizure by eminent domain. Our government is charged with protecting individual property rights and the rights of American citizenship. To say that these rights are no more important than “hanging wet underwear on a rope” is an argument that offends. Legitimizing activities that demean the underpinnings of our American life are, as President Obama might say, “disturbing” and a matter of “concern.”

While the intent is not openly acknowledged, the second page of the Denver Post attacks Republicans by marginalizing the principles Republicans hold dear. Mr. Littwin does it by openly mocking Republicans. Ms. Griego does it by legitimizing anti-Republican thought.

Welcome to Page Two of our 21st century news.

UPDATE 1/4/2011:
As of today, the Denver Post has modified its format so that Ms. Griego and Mr. Littwin are no longer on page two.  Ms. Griego has moved to the first page of the "Denver & the West" section (regional news and opinion) and Mr. Littwin is now on the op-ed page.  Page two of the front section of the Denver Post now contains actual news stories, rather than columns that tell you how you should feel about the news.

Gregory L. Moore, Editor of the Denver Post appears to be "getting the message" that newspapers with structural bias are becoming marginalized.


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