Jeff Zeleny/NYT: Conservative talk radio listeners menace Senate over immigration
Jeff Zeleny of the New York Times offers the sleazy "Immigration Bill Prompts Some Menacing Responses", an attempt by that paper to portray those opposed to an illegal alien amnesty as violent thugs. It discusses how a few pro-amnesty Senators have received what they claim to be threats, but it only provides one excerpt from such a message and hearsay on another and it provides no count of the number of threats. And, based on their past statements it's hard to trust what these Senators (or the NYT) say. It also discusses how the volume of calls has greatly increased due to this issue but fails to note that statistically speaking the more calls, the more threats. And, it fails to note the strong possibility that Senators have been threatened on other occasions; in fact there is probably a steady stream of such threats regardless of what legislation is being considered. Everything supposedly told the "reporter" is presented at face value; I might say that he completely fails to wonder whether these Senators might actually be selling him a bill of goods, but the fact of the matter is that he's a shill who's in on the game.
It also falsely implies that all the calls against the bill came from conservatives:
Republicans who support the immigration bill are facing unusually intense opposition from conservative groups fighting it. This is among the first times, several of them said, that they have felt the full brunt of an advocacy machine built around conservative talk radio and cable television programs that have long buttressed Republican efforts to defeat Democrats and their policies.
Then, of course, Senator Lindsey Graham gets a chance to play the martyr:
"There's racism in this debate... Nobody likes to talk about it, but a very small percentage of people involved in this debate really have racial and bigoted remarks. The tone that we create around these debates, whether it be rhetoric in a union hall or rhetoric on talk radio, it can take people who are on the fence and push them over emotionally... One of the requirements of public service in modern America is dealing with a few voices that are full of hate... And our discourse and the way we politic, the way we engage each other, brings that out."
Oddly enough, the piece doesn't mention blogs, concentrating on TV and, especially, talk radio:
Several senators said Wednesday that they did not care to be identified speaking critically of the broadcasters, fearing the same conservative backlash that befell Senator Trent Lott, a Mississippi Republican, this month when he declared: "Talk radio is running America. We have to deal with that problem."