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primavera Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-21-04 12:07 PM
Original message
I need help getting through to NPR
I've had a grievance with NPR for years now that, in their coverage of US immigration matters, they typically turn to the Foundation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and one of their many subsidiary organizations, the Center for Immigration Studies. I've been trying to get them to at least investigate and identify for their audience the background and bias of the sources they're using, but so far they're just blowing me off.

Now, I realize most of you are probably not aware of exactly who FAIR is, as FAIR goes to some pains to conceal the fact that it is an anti-immigrant hate group. It was founded by a Michigan anti-immigration activist named John Tanton, after he was unsuccessful in persuading the Sierra Club to adopt an anti-immigration platform. The guy's actually a brilliant activist, in that he's founded a whole consortium of organizations designed to appeal to virtually anyone who might have a beef with immigrants. So he set up American Patrol, an openly racist, xenophobic hate group which proudly promotes abuse and violence towards immigrants and foreign nationals. The good people at FAIR also founded US English, the activist organization most responsible for fanning the flames to get Prop 187 passed in California. They've also founded labor organizations designed to fuel popular misperceptions that immigrants steal jobs from Americans. They also founded the Center for Immigration Studies to be their "respectable" think tank, and a host of other organizations. But all of these organizations were founded by the same people, often share the same members on their respective boards of directors, receive funding from the same sources (most prominent of which being the far right-wing Mellon Scaife foundations and a eugenics organization which seeks to carry on the work of Joseph Mengele), and work in close collaboration with each other to achieve common, rabidly anti-immigrant goals. The Southern Poverty Law Center has classified these groups as hate groups and a good overview of their investigation into the Tanton consortium of anti-immigrant groups can be found at http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?aid=93

Anyway, these are the people to whom NPR is turning for comment on US immigration policy. Now, if this were Faux News we were talking about, I wouldn't even bother trying to convince them of the right-wing bias of their sources, it would only insure that they received more air time rather than less. But NPR should know better.

If this issue bothers any DUers as much as it does me, I would encourage them to write to NPR and urge them to investigate their sources more thoroughly. As a specific reference, NPR's All Things Considered aired just yesterday (Feb 20) a piece by Jennifer Ludden entitled US Weighs Asylum for Domestic Abuse Victim (http://www.npr.org/features/feature.php?wfId=1687052) in which they solicited commentary from FAIR.

Here is a copy of what I sent to All Things Considered at atc@npr.org :

To the personal attention of Ms. Jennifer Ludden:


Dear Ms. Ludden,

I am writing in regards to your February 20th piece entitled "US Weighs Asylum for Domestic Abuse Victim." Specifically, I am writing to express my deep concern over your inclusion of commentary by Dan Stein of the Foundation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in this piece, as well as in other immigration-related pieces which you have authored. I can only assume that you have not yourself investigated the credibility of the organization to whose spokesperson you are providing a forum to express his views.

Please consult the Southern Poverty Law Center's investigations into FAIR and its consortium network of anti-immigrant hate groups. A good overview may be found in their publication Intelligence Report, the Summer 2002 issue, available online at http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?aid=93. Founded by Michigan anti-immigrant activist John Tanton, FAIR is but the first of many organizations established by Mr. Tanton which share a common anti-immigrant goal. FAIR receives its funding from the far right-wing Mellon Scaife family and a eugenics organization whose stated purpose is to carry on the good work of Nazi Dr. Joseph Mengele. Among FAIR's funded subsidiary organizations is the Center for Immigration Studies, whose spokespersons NPR has also deemed credible to provide "expert" commentary on American immigration policy, as well as American Patrol, a racist, xenophobic hate group which proudly displays characterizations of abuse and violence towards immigrants and foreign nationals. Make no mistake, all of these dubious organizations were founded by the same people, are funded by the same sources, and work in close collaboration with each other to promote racial intolerance and hatred of immigrants. And these are the sources you are using in preparing your reports and to whose spokespersons you are providing air time.

I cannot imagine that if members of the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan offered NPR their "expert" opinions on race relations in the United States, NPR would consider them to be a credible, impartial authority deserving of air time. Yet by offering FAIR and CIS a respected, mainstream platform from which to broadcast their views, you are lending legitimacy to groups whose views are no less biased and hateful than those espoused by the Klan. Again, I can only assume that, if you were fully aware of the background and agenda of FAIR and its partners, you would not be providing them with this opportunity to disseminate their views. So I encourage you strongly to investigate them yourself - I do not suggest that you simply take my word for it.

Responsible journalism, something to which NPR aspires and usually achieves, requires a thorough knowledge of the biases of the sources one is using and that bias should be included in ones reportage. If you must provide FAIR with air time, you at the very least owe it to your audience to identify them and their bias for what they are: a hate group. To allow such hate groups to broadcast their views as if they were respectable, impartial, scholarly sources is irresponsible, misleading to NPR listeners, and falls far below NPR's high standards of journalistic integrity. I urge you to consider this the next time you look to FAIR for "expert" commentary.

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benddem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-21-04 12:14 PM
Response to Original message
1. send this letter to
<ombudsman@npr.org>

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primavera Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-21-04 12:50 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Thanks for the tip!
I followed your advice!
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