To comprehend what happened after Congressman Tom Tancredo called the Immigration and Naturalization Service and suggested an inquiry into the status of Jesus Apodaca, the illegal alien hyped in a Denver Post August 11 front page sob story urging that he get in-state university tuition ("Immigrants Shut Out of Colleges"), you must first realize that the Denver Post is an illegal alien propaganda machine disguised as a newspaper.
Note, for example, that if Apodaca actually were a legal "immigrant," in the disingenuous words of the Post's headline, rather than an illegal alien, he would not be "shut out of college." He would be there at the expense of the American taxpayer, displacing native-born children. In fact, there are only five illegal aliens in the Apodaca family of seven. Two siblings were born in the U.S. and, under the current misinterpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment, are thus citizens. No doubt they'll be studying at the expense of Colorado taxpayers soon.
I read the Denver Post every day as part of Numbers USA's ongoing Media Standards Project, evaluating fairness and balance in immigration reporting. It can be counted on for two things: correctly reporting Sunday's Denver Bronco score; and running hundreds of stories, columns, editorials and political cartoons every year touting illegals and benefits for illegals—such as driver's licenses, unlimited health care…and in-state tuition.
Tancredo was dismayed by the brazen story (which, it turns out, was planted by the Mexican consulate). After all, as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, he took an oath of office swearing to uphold the nation's laws. And entering the U.S. illegally is (despite the Denver Post) against the law. Tancredo's phone call should have been considered routine.
But we're talking about illegal immigration, Mexico and the Denver Post. So common sense went out the window and Tancredo bashing began. And before long, the list of usual suspects had entered stage right: the pandering Republican Colorado Governor Bill Owens, his pandering colleague Republican Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, the kingpin of unlimited immigration, Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy and last but not least, the incredibly aggressive and influential Latino advocacy groups.
As soon as Tancredo spoke out, the Post launched an old-fashioned vendetta against him. More than 30 Post stories and editorials have appeared. All the Post's columnists lined up to take their shots, some more than once: Tina Griego, Diane Carman, Gail Schoettler, Reggie Rivers, Angela Cortez and Jim Anderson. Cortez and Anderson gave Tancredo credit for bringing up a touchy subject but both defended the Post's position. Except for the voice of reason at the Post, columnist Al Knight, all were sharply critical.
The Post hit bottom when it gleefully but incorrectly reported in its September 20 editorial "Remodel the Attitude" that Tancredo had hired illegal aliens to refurbish his basement. But, to the Post's dismay, Tancredo was innocent of wrongdoing. Tancredo hired a contractor who, in turn, did not do a proper document check.
As the Post hammered away, Senator Campbell raced into the open arms of Senator Kennedy. Between the two of them, they proposed private bill legislation that would allow the Apodaca family to become legal permanent residents and eventually citizens.
But why bother? In Campbell's eyes, young Jesus is already a citizen. Declared Campbell:
"This kid is an American for crying out loud..."
Campbell's action propelled the Post's editorial writers out of their seats with applause. Calling for "a gold star" for Campbell in its September 28 editorial "Way to Go, Ben" the Post suggested that the proposal has the support of the White House and that, joy of joys, the conservative Bush is "aligned" with the liberal Kennedy in favor of legal status for Apodaca.
Pandering begets pandering. Governor Owens "embraced" Campbell's proposal. Another U.S. Rep., Mark Udall (D-Boulder), suggested he would introduce similar legislation in the House. And U.S. Rep., Bob Schaffer (R-Ft. Collins), is "inclined" to back Campbell.
Owens, Udall and Schaffer represent, in the Post's vernacular, the "rising chorus" of support for Apodaca. Campbell is "eminently qualified" to judge who gets special treatment. To support the bill is "compassionate."
Culling a few adjectives and phrases about Tancredo from the dozens of Post columns, I offer these gems: the old standby "xenophobe" (and those who agree with him "schizophrenic"), has "his foot in his mouth," "threw a tantrum," "railed against the Apodaca family," "sicced" the I.N.S. on the "hapless teen," made "a fiery speech" on the Congressional floor and, in general, "fulminated."
Furthermore according to the Post, Tancredo "dropped a dime" on the Apodaca's, Tancredo "lashed out" at Owens and is "splitting the Republican Party." Tancredo's actions have created fears of "racism" in the Latino population.
Need I go on?
The Denver Post attack on Tancredo did not surprise me. At its best, the Post is fish-wrap.
Thus in August 2001, Tancredo and former Colorado Governor Dick Lamm made a joint statement about the impact of immigration on Colorado sprawl. According to Census 2000, the Hispanic population of Colorado grew by 578,000 in the last decade, a total larger than the entire city of Denver. Obviously, those 578,000 people (including many illegal aliens) would need housing, transportation and schools.
But the Post didn't see it that way. In its August 10 editorial titled "Lamm, Tancredo Overreach" the Post suggested that migration from San Diego to Colorado is the same as immigration from Guatemala.
No mention, of course, that Californians are Americans and have the legal right to move where they please. Illegal aliens do not.
In a curious turn of phrase, the Post wrote that it would not
"call Lamm and Tancredo xenophobes."
I read the sentence as:
"We would love to call Lamm and Tancredo xenophobes"
"We dare not call Lamm, Tancredo xenophobes but please be our guest."
I called Post Editorial Page editor Sue O'Brien to ask why the editorial introduced "xenophobe" if not to plant the idea in reader's minds. O'Brien, who worked for Lamm while he was governor, responded: "Good question."
My exchanges with O'Brien came to an abrupt halt when I asked her if I could summarize my personal experiences as an E.S.L instructor in an Op-ed. I never heard back.
Let's summarize and update this nasty affair.
The Post must assume a large share of the blame for the ensuing disruption in the Apodaca family's life. The family has left its home, disconnected its telephone and is staying, according to current information, at the Denver Mexican Consulate.
Had the Post been in touch with Denver public opinion regarding immigration it might have thought twice before making Jesus Apodaca a poster-boy. The newspaper's poll showed that 85% of readers have a "favorable" or "highly favorable" opinion of Tancredo. The Denver ABC affiliate poll found viewers strongly opposed (85%) to the Campbell bill. And the Greeley (Co.) Tribune's poll indicated that 60% of respondents favored deporting Jesus Apodaca.
Tancredo, who has not backed down under fire, has expressed the feelings of most Americans on immigration.
His fellow Congressmen can learn a lesson from Tancredo's example.
I have no hope for the Denver Post.
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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.