Star Ledger`s Jennifer Weiss Flunks Journalism 101…Along With Rest Of MSM
April 28, 2006, 05:00 AM
A+
|
a-
Print Friendly and PDF

The immigration wave from 1965 to date is the biggest news story of our generation.

Some might argue that 9/11 is bigger. To me, though, 9/11 is more dramatic but without the long-term, irreversible consequences.

For its significance to the future of the U.S. as a sovereign nation-state, unchecked legal and illegal immigration has had the greatest impact on the country.

Immigration, with its multiple story lines of language, culture and diversity, is a journalist's dream. Yet, despite the opportunities for in-depth coverage and investigative reporting, the print media turns out the same story day after day, week after week.

Since the goal of newspapers is to attract readers, I have to wonder why they repeatedly crank out the identical tired stuff that no one pays any attention to—when the truth is so much more compelling.

For a form of tortured fun, I decided to dissect a recent story just to prove to myself that newspapers are missing a golden opportunity with their not even sophomoric immigration coverage.

Although I could have picked from hundreds, the story I chose appeared in the Newark NJ   Star-Ledger April 24th and was written by Jennifer Weiss: Thousands in Newark Protest Immigration Proposal.

The Star-Ledger is a respected newspaper serving the influential New Jersey market and parts of New York and Philadelphia. Commuters to those major cities often read the Star-Ledger along with the Wall Street Journal.

In 2005, The Star-Ledger won a Pulitzer Prize for its series on the resignation of New Jersey's gay governor James McGreevey and his admission that he committed adultery with a male lover.

And Jennifer Weiss is a recent graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism.

The uninitiated might think that, from a combination of a Pulitzer Prize winning newspaper and graduate of one of the country's most prestigious journalism schools, an insightful story about the Newark demonstrations would materialize.

Wrong!

Columbia apparently never taught Weiss—or perhaps she missed the lecture—that the most important thing for a reporter is to get the story.

And in this case, the story is not that 3,000 immigrants and aliens showed up on a rainy Sunday afternoon.  New Jersey is a small state: 88 miles from east to west and 186 miles from north to south. On a Sunday, anyone can be in Newark within a couple of hours.

And with an estimated illegal alien population of over 300,000, a one percent turn out is pathetic.

The story Weiss missed: New Jersey's Cuban-born Attorney General Zulima Farber, the state's highest ranking law enforcement officer, attended the rally and incited the crowd with statements—in English and Spanish—like this:

"All people have the right to be treated with dignity and respect, to live in safe, clean and affordable housing and to walk down the street without being afraid. I understand your struggle and the challenge of being an immigrant."

Farber—who certainly knew she was addressing a crowd composed of illegal aliens—should be immediately removed from office for flouting the laws she is sworn to uphold.

But the worst of Weiss's sloppy reporting is yet to come.

In interviews with three "immigrants"—a.k.a. illegal aliens—Weiss came away with these quotes:



And for her kicker (a journalism term used to indicate that the writer is driving home his point), Weiss wrote that Soriano's 10-year-old daughter "has a dream."

According to Weiss, Soriano said proudly that his daughter wants to become a lawyer who helps

"…people come without papers. That's what she wants to do and I'm going to help her do that."

That's Weiss's message: waiting in the wings is a group of young Hispanics eager to make the U.S. accessible to anyone "without papers."

Weiss hasn't read as many noxious immigration stories as I have. So perhaps she had no idea that Rodriguez, Valencia and Soriano's boring and predictable observations have been parroted several hundred thousand times over the last five years.

Jen, reporters are not stenographers! How about a fresh idea?

Imagine how much meatier Weiss's story would have been and how much more entertaining to read for those Monday morning New Jersey Central commuters if she had asked the following questions:

FOR ZULIMA FARBER:

  • Were you asked to attend this rally by Governor Jon Corzine, who pledged in his inaugural address to clean up corruption and restore ethics to New Jersey, or did you decide on your own to come?

  • When you said "people have a right to be treated with dignity and respect," what exactly do you mean? Do you have specific examples of undignified and disrespectful treatment?

  • You suggested that immigrants are afraid "to walk down the street" yet 3,000 people showed up today. In what specific way do you think they are "afraid"?

  • Which of the following crimes do you view as the more serious: entering the U.S. illegally; purchasing fraudulent documents to obtain employment under false pretenses as aliens do; or racking up (as you have) 13 speeding tickets, two suspended driver's licenses and two outstanding bench warrants for failure to appear in court? ("Jon's Joke on Jersey Justice," New York Post, January 29, 2006)

FOR RODRIGUEZ, ET AL:

  • Do you or have you ever had any children in New Jersey public schools? Do you know who pays for your children's education? Have you personally received any New Jersey taxpayer funded benefits? Did you lie on any application to receive public assistance? Have you ever publicly—or even privately— expressed the least bit of gratitude?

  • Do you think that, just because you "have kids" and " work", that is adequate justification for breaking U.S. law to suit your own narrow purposes?

  • Have you ever demonstrated against your own native country or its U.S. Embassy for "justice" so that you could return to your homeland and help it climb out of its morass? If not, why not?

That story, if written, would be talked about throughout New Jersey all day and all night. Star-Ledger readers would search every edition of the paper looking for Weiss's next byline.

Of course, Weiss will never write it. Neither will anyone else in the MSM. (That's what VDARE.COM is for!)

Weiss is firmly in the grasp of multiculturalism, political correctness and diversity unlimited.

See Weiss' blog, Mango salsa, to get a better idea of where her head is.

Too bad the Columbia School of Journalism didn't teach Weiss to think for herself. That is the most important lesson I can think of for a twenty-something starting off on a career.

Right now, it's unlikely that Weiss will show enough maturity to dig for the real story about immigration. Buying into the lies is so much less work for a lazy reporter.

But send Weiss an e-mail to encourage her—and to remind her of her professional responsibility to seek out the truth and report it.

Joe Guzzardi [email him], an instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly newspaper column since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.