Rudabeh Shahbazi does puff piece on group that enables border deaths (KNXV, CNN)

Rudabeh Shahbazi [1] of Arizona's KNXV offers a video report entitled "Group helps immigrants cross desert" (; the video was picked up by CNN as part of their continued campaign to oppose Arizona's new immigration law. The group featured in the report is the Mexican government-linked No More Deaths ("NMD"). Shahbazi's report certainly isn't as bad as it could be: for instance, she could have been an outright cheerleader for them, could have consistently used words like "immigrant" or "migrant", and could have avoided even asking one slightly contrary question.

However, considering that NMD enables border deaths and that Shahbazi didn't call them on that, it sinks to the level of a puff piece.

The stated goal of NMD is to help those who try to cross the desert and no doubt that's what their volunteers think they're doing. However, they're in fact doing the opposite: NMD actually makes the problem worse by playing a role in giving crossers a false sense of security and thus encouraging people to cross. See the false compassion page for a longer discussion and this post about Scott Pelley for another recent example; the bottom line is that NMD is enabling border deaths rather than reducing the number.

Shahbazi does offer two instances of "but, critics say" but those are just setup questions which a noxious volunteer [2] is able to handle with ease. Shahbazi refers to NMD as a "humanitarian aid group" and the overall tone is designed to make viewers think that what they're doing is humanitarian when it's the opposite.

Next to that, the fact that she doesn't seem to know that hypothermia has nothing to do with not having enough water is trivial. Also relatively trivial is that she'd think that NMD picking up trash they find could make even the barest dent in the problem [3].

[1] Send her a brief, polite email:
[2] Chris Fleischman, send him a tweet: @cjfleischman
[3] Shahbazi raises the issue of "litter" that illegal aliens leave behind, to which Fleischman responds "we don't like it either... but we pick it up" and she then accepts his answer. In fact, in 2004 in the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge alone staff and volunteers picked up 500 tons of garbage left behind by illegal aliens. NMD volunteers will only pick up a miniscule fraction of that amount.