Nina Bernstein: Old Skool NYT

Nina Bernstein, the NYT's immigration reporter, is truly "Old Skool" NYT. As in: "Meteor to hit Earth; Women, Minorities Hardest Hit."

Her latest piece is "New York Considers One-Year Driving Permits for Immigrants".

From the piece, we learn the following "facts":

- "an immigrant without legal status" is a cute euphemism for the legally-accurate term "illegal alien"...

- there is no difference between "noncitizens" and "illegal aliens"... (of course, a noncitizen might be a legal immigrant or a visitor, but, hey, who cares about accuracy?)

- the associations of Republican-oriented advocacy groups is important; that of left-leaning groups is not. They're apparently "normal"...

- presenting sob stories is a great way to drive your point home...

- "Since 9/11, many states have struggled with conflicts between efforts to tighten requirements for licenses, which increasingly serve as a national form of identification, and efforts to protect the driving privileges of longtime immigrant workers, despite their illegal status." Of course, some people are opposed to illegal immigration and incentives for it, but, hey, they don't count...

- any discussion of terrorism (aside from the oblique reference to "9/11" above) would simply cloud the advocacy piece... er, article...

And, last but hardly least, she discusses how someone fraudulently obtained another state's license:

...many New York drivers facing license suspension for lack of a Social Security number are already obtaining licenses fraudulently in states with lesser requirements.

One such driver, Jose, who would give only his first name for fear of deportation, described the method in a telephone interview. About three months ago, he said, he rented a post office box in Michigan, drove to Detroit and, claiming to have moved to the state, turned in his New York license for a Michigan one.

In the same situation, a reporter who wanted to present an unbiased report would have done at least two things. First, they would have identified "Jose" as an illegal alien.

Second, and much more important, they would have asked "If Jose can do this, can't a terrorist do the same thing?"

Please send a polite email to suggesting they find a reporter who can do a better job.


Well, having seen several of her articles, they seem to be on a much more elevated level than the emotive, concrete-bound sub-genre of illegal alien advocacy news-fictions. The NYT may be trying to prevent another jayson blair fiasco; realizing the potential for fictionalization in these stories, with their false names, and suspiciously similar quotes.