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Hannity & Colmes' Good Guys/Bad Guys Reporting On Illegal Immigration

Reported by Ellen - October 6, 2005

All week Hannity & Colmes has focused on illegal immigration from Mexico. Sean Hannity has been in clover playing cop - first on horseback, then in a helicopter, last night in a boat. I was beginning to think he was auditioning for a TV series. Behind the dramatic footage, however, was a monotonous message repeated ad infinitum: illegal immigration bad and dangerous, border patrol cops great but too few, why aren't the US and Mexico governments doing more to crack down? There was absolutely no discussion about other measures that might work, such as employer sanctions. Nor did "fair and balanced" FOX make any attempt to examine the situation from another viewpoint such as from an immigrant (except for one who had just been arrested) or from the employers who surely add fuel to the immigration fire.

One particularly egregious example of the simplistic reporting was a segment with Diane Jacobs, San Diego Supervisor. Alan Colmes gave this teaser before the interview with Hannity and Jacobs: "Illegal immigrants are causing chaos and destruction on American highways. We have the details on this deadly threat."

Hannity said at the beginning of the interview, "An epidemic of fatal car accidents in San Diego County is the direct result of smugglers sneaking human cargo or drugs across the border."

When asked about the impact of illegals on highway accidents, Jacobs called it "A huge impact. Imagine that you're driving home on Highway 8 or Highway 94. You're traveling east. And here comes a van loaded with illegals and drugs. Maybe there's 10, 20, maybe as many as 33 illegal aliens in a van. Coming at you at 90 mph, no lights on."

Sounds pretty scary. Then she admitted that over the last decade "there's been as many as 75 deaths as the result of this." She went on histrionically "men, women, pregnant women, children... It's a result of the fact that our border is not secure."

Comment: 75 deaths a decade are certainly 75 too many. But compare that to other hazards on the road, such as drunk driving accidents and it's hard to think of the situation as an epidemic of chaos. According to the California Highway Patrol, in 2002 (the most recent year I could find statistics), there were 32,008 collisions involving alcohol, 850 victims killed in accidents caused by drunk driving. No attempt to put the numbers in perspective was offered or asked for in the interview.

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