Robert Samuelson has a piece today in which he makes some amazing statements about the media’s failure to accurately report on the Senate’s immigration bill.
One job of journalism is to inform the public what our political leaders are doing. In this case, we failed. The Senate bill’s sponsors didn’t publicize its full impact on legal immigration, and we didn’t fill the void. It’s safe to say that few Americans know what the bill would do because no one has told them. Indeed, I suspect that many senators who voted for the legislation don’t have a clue as to the potential overall increase in immigration.
Mr. Samuelson also points out what some right of center bloggers and House Republicans have been saying: the Senate’s immigration bill will increase the number of immigrants in this country because it institutes a “guest worker” program before it increases border security. In fact Samuelson reports that, according to White House economists, we can expect the Senate bill to double the number of immigrants who come into this country.
All this makes the MSM’s failure to accurately report on the Senate’s bill even more aggravating. Since bloggers were able to easily spot this problem with the bill, the MSM could have as well.
In light of Mr. Samuelson’s article, Mary Katharine offers an interesting idea:
Here’s a radical idea: After the conference committee comes to a tentative compromise, but before that committee stops work, put the draft of the agreement out for public response. Sure it will be noisy and some on the extremes will denounce the compromise immediately, but try letting the public have a chance to speak before finding out that the public’s reaction to a handful of provisions dooms the compromise in one house or the other. After a week of reactions, the conferees could regroup and assess whether or not the mark had been hit.
Ed Morrissey also weighs in:
Samuelson is right. The Senate failed to inform us of the impact of CIRA, and the media did little to correct the problem. Samuelson argues that this reflects a bias that punishes those who ask critical questions about immigration policy, labeling them as bigots or idiots. Their closed-minded approach to debate instead reveals them as partisan absolutists, and in this case has done a tremendous disservice to their consumers.
Update: Power Line also noted the role bloggers played in exposing the insanity of the Senate’s immigration bill.