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O'Reilly Factor segment supports Media Matters analysis

Reported by Chrish - May 22, 2008 -

Making Media Matters' point for them, last night 5/21 08 on The Factor Laura Ingraham hosted a segment about a crime committed by an illegal immigrant. Her guests were Joslyn Johnson, the widow of a cop murdered by an illegal immigrant, and her attorney; they are suing the accused's American employer.

Ingraham said that she learned that the murderer drank 24 beers a day and did drugs; how does the widow feel about that? Ingraham was predictably outraged that the man, Juan Quintero, was here, driving, and working, and said "This, sadly, is repeated too many times across this country, whether we're talking DWIs, or violent crime, rape, robbery, and this somehow gets left out of academic discussions of Illegal immigration in this country."

Next the legal case was explained: the employer somehow assisted Quintero get back into the country after he was deported for a crime, and then hired him. Why, given his history and outstanding warrants, wondered the attorney. Ingraham wondered how many illegals he had working for him. (Just the tip of the iceberg of violent criminals?)

Ingraham then turned to Johnson and elicited very sad, moving testimony from the widow about the details of her husband's murder (actually it was borderline cruel questioning, imho). Ingraham ran out of time during the recitation and had to cut the story short, but left herself enough time to politicize it: "I'm sure that you have a thing or two to say to politicians in Washington who continue to defend what is absolutely a broken border, and this should never have happened. We appreciate you joining us, and, this is happening all over the country."

One of the key findings of the Media Matters study was


* Illegal Immigration and Crime: Although numerous studies have found that immigrants in general commit fewer crimes than native-born citizens, these programs are positively obsessed with the topic. During 2007, the alleged connection between illegal immigration and crime was discussed on 94 episodes of Lou Dobbs Tonight, 66 episodes of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, and 29 episodes of CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck.

As they note about the myth of immigrants and crime, "These topics are complex, and there are sometimes legitimate points buried within the arguments immigration opponents make." The over-hyping of isolated incidents and the emotional presentations makes it difficult for us to engage in rational, objective discussion and reach workable solutions. Of course this story is a tragedy for the Johnson family, and I think they're going about attacking the problem in a way that can be effective.

But Ingraham's repeated statements that "it's happening all over the country" makes it sound like an epidemic. Remember the summer of the shark bites? More recently there would appear to be an epidemic of hot teachers seducing their male students, and not too long ago I saw a four-way split screen of four different accidents where vehicles had plowed into buildings. What's going on???

The argument about undocumented workers and crime is that their very presence in the US is illegal (agreed) so if they hadn't committed that initial crime the second crime (or third or fourth in some cases) could not have been committed. The same argument can be made for drunk drivers, or even speeders, who cause wrecks and injuries, and certainly there is much more of that - where's the outrage? Specifically, Bill O'Reilly had 13 programs that addressed the single incident of a drunk Mexican, here illegally, driving drunk and killing two girls in Virginia Beach, the incident that precipitated his famous shouting match with Geraldo Rivera. But on that same day and every other day of the year, 45 other deaths were cause by drunk drivers, illegal drivers, if you will, which Rivera fought to point out.

Each individual incident (back to crime) is a shame but the reporting is inflammatory and designed to inspire fear and frustration, and as Ingraham so blatantly exposed, anger at Washington officials who are not enacting the FOX/conservative agenda.