The Denver Post`s Jim Spencer: Worst Immigration Reporter (Except For The Others)
December 23, 2005, 04:00 AM
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Some of you spend your pre-Christmas days pondering the ultimate eggnog recipe. Others among you contemplate the Rose Bowl complexities of the Southern California Trojans minus 7 versus the Texas Longhorns.

But we at VDARE.COM are counting down the days to the January announcement of our Third Annual "Worst Immigration Reporting" award.

Making the final choice is hard work, believe me.

As the "Worst Immigration Reporting" award`s judge and jury, I can allow myself no seasonal luxuries.

I am locked in my study reviewing a stack of truly horrible immigration stories and columns that violate most every known principle of professional journalism.

What has remained constant in the ever-shifting power struggle for immigration sanity between the good guys—us—and the bad guys—them—is the refusal of the MSM, in the face of any and all evidence, to write fair and balanced news stories or structurally sound columns.

Not only do journalists fail to write professionally about immigration, they have not the slightest interest in using the resources that would enable them to do so.

The pity is that only one can win the VDARE.COM prize.

Among those that fell by the wayside this year is Denver Post columnist Jim Spencer.

Axing Spencer from the finals was tough. Not only is his complete body of immigration columns laughably bad but Spencer also wrote one of the worst columns of 2005, Governor Owens Closes Doors to Nativists [Denver Post, December 16, 2005]

Spencer`s column contains the usual Denver Post snide comments about Congressman Tom Tancredo.

And to support his sophomoric thesis that Tancredo and the rest of the immigration reform community—now millions strong—is "nativist," Spencer quoted the Manhattan Institute`s Tamar Jacoby, the National Immigration Forum`s Frank Sharry and Colorado State`s "immigration expert" (and open borders proponent) Stephan Mumme (e-mail him).

Let`s be clear. Spencer, as an opinion column writer, is free to express his feelings and to quote anyone he pleases in defense of his position.

I`m an opinion column writer too; I follow the same formula that Spencer does.

But what Spencer cannot do is try to pass off utter nonsense—even framed in someone else`s words—to his readers as representing reality.

Observe Spencer`s final words in which he tries to marginalize Tancredo into nothingness.

Spencer, quoting Sharry (and certainly agreeing with him), wrote

 "Tancredo is visible but not influential."

And,

"I predict that Tancredo will go the way of Pat Buchanan. And I think he`ll have as much success."

These two sentences are indicative of why the MSM continues to lose the precious little credibility it has left.

Tancredo is not only "visible" but he may be the most "influential" Congressman on Capitol Hill. And Tancredo will continue to be vastly more successful at bringing the immigration reform message to America than Buchanan—although Buchanan did see the future early on.

Leading his 92-member Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus, Tancredo literally beat down the White House-endorsed  Republican Party position on immigration that pushed for open borders, amnesty and guest workers.

At the end of the fight, Tancredo`s efforts delivered a border enforcement bill, H.R. 4437, without a single mention of a guest worker plan, once assumed to be an inevitable part of any bill.

(Read the behind-the-scenes details of the infighting at "How It Went Down.")

Here`s more on how off-base Spencer is. Not only is Tancredo "influential" within the Republican Party, his voice is heard loud and clear among Democrats, too.

House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi decided against making H.R. 4437 a party loyalty vote. Pelosi knew that she would be putting many Democrats in competitive districts at a real disadvantage with their constituents in 2006 if she insisted they vote against tough enforcement measures. Bowing to their best interests, Pelosi released all Democrats to vote their conscience.

The result: on four tough roll call votes—the final vote to pass H.R. 4437, the fence along large portions of the Mexico/U.S. border, the end of the visa lottery and the Clear Act provisions for local detention of illegal aliens—75 Democrats voted in support of at least one of those provisions.

Spencer`s column was written before the House vote. But Spencer knows—and knows for sure—that immigration reform`s direction is not headed the way Sharry hoped.

As a frequent guest on Peter Boyles` Denver radio talk show, Spencer gets plenty of negative feedback from local grassroots activists.

And Spencer also knows—or should know if he doesn`t—that Tancredo`s caucus is the fastest growing group on the Hill, reflecting nationwide dissatisfaction with immigration status quo.

But that`s the MSM for you; it writes what it pleases without a passing thought to accuracy. When immigration is the subject, the MSM is determined to get it wrong.

Curious about Tancredo`s impression of Spencer, I called the Congressman`s office.

Spokesman Will Adams told me,

"Spencer is as bad as they come. Whatever we say, he takes as idiotic. But whatever the open borders lobby says is brilliant as far as Spencer is concerned."

Adams added,

"The Congressman won`t even speak to Spencer any more."

I fully expect that Spencer (e-mail him) and the Denver Post will continue to ignore fact and to cover immigration based on their own bias.

But one thing that H.R. 4437 proves conclusively: for Jacoby (e-mail her), Sharry, Spencer and the rest of the immigration enthusiasts, the cakewalk is over.

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.