Letters Editor Joe Guzzardi Writes To The Oregonian Editors About Its Reporter Betsy Hammond
February 01, 2009, 04:00 AM
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01/31/09 - Saturday Forum: The Oregonian's Betsy Hammond Tries To Get A VDARE.COM Reader Fired For Challenging Her Enthusiasm For "Diversity"

To: The Oregonian Editorial Staff (e-mail address)

Re: Saturday Forum: The Oregonian's Betsy Hammond Tries To Get A VDARE.COM Reader Fired For Challenging Her Enthusiasm For Diversity

I am a columnist and the Letters Editor at VDARE.COM, a website dedicated to immigration issues and their impact on American society. Along with my colleagues and unlike nearly 100 percent of the mainstream media, we present a restrictionist side to the immigration argument.

We promote an end to illegal immigration. And whatever legal immigration the U.S. allows, we think it should be controlled so that America's common well-being is served.

In my capacity as Letters Editor, I edited the correspondence initiated by former Portland resident Stephen Garland to your reporter Betsy Hammond, her letter to Hammond's employer, the employer's defense of Garland sent in reply to Hammonds and finally, Garland's letter back to Hammonds answering the questions she asked not— curiously— of him but of his boss. All of the exchanges focused on Hammond's January 17 story, "In a Changing World, Portland Remains Overwhelmingly White" [by Betsy Hammond, The Oregonian, January 17, 2009]

Actually, "edit" may be the wrong word. All I did was cut and paste the correspondence and add introductory and closing comments. We posted the letters on our site here on January 31st.

I sympathize with Garland's views. I am a Los Angeles native who recently relocated to Pittsburgh, PA for several reasons, including high among them the indisputable fact that illegal aliens have entered into California at such an alarming rate over the past four decades that its quality of life has deteriorated to a very great degree.

I am quite familiar with charges of "racism"—made exclusively by people I have never met. Like Garland, I am not a racist. For more than twenty years, I taught English as a Second language to Mexican migrants, Southeast Asian refugees and other immigrants from around the world. Teaching non-English speaking immigrants is not a job that a "racist" could hold for even a week.

And, as in Garland's case, people that favor more immigration—as Hammonds apparently does— tried to have me fired from my school district job.

In addition to being an educator, I have also written an Op-ed column for California daily newspapers for more than twenty years. They first appeared in The Record (formerly known as The Stockton Record) and are currently published in the Lodi News-Sentinel.

As a journalist, I am familiar with the industry's ethical code as outlined by the Society of Professional Journalists.

From the Code's section labeled "Be Accountable," the SPJ requires that reporters:

"Clarify and explain news coverage and invite dialogue with the public over journalistic conduct."

And:

"Encourage the public to voice grievances against the news media."

Finally to:

"Abide by the same high standards to which they hold others."

Reporter Hammond did not try to "invite a dialogue," "encourage the public to voice grievances" or "abide by the same high standards" that she thinks she has set for herself.

Her mission was to teach Garland a lesson for expressing his First Amendment right to free speech.

I have no doubt that Hammond would have been delighted to learn that Garland was fired for truthfully sharing with her the series of criminal acts perpetrated against him since he moved to Atlanta and for looking back at Portland with fondness and yearning.

Over the next few days, you may get a lot of mail about Hammond. You will not agree with much of it. And some of it will offend you.

As Hammond's superiors, however, the question before you is not whether Garland, VDARE.COM contributors and Joe Guzzardi are racists and xenophobes or whether we're out of step with today's America for questioning the wisdom of embracing unlimited diversity without first evaluating whether it serves the nation as a whole.

The question you must answer is whether Hammonds violated the trust and confidence you placed in her when you hired her as a reporter to represent The Oregonian.

What right, you must ask Hammond, does she have to seek out a correspondent's employer—and she had to have spent sometime searching for him via the Internet—in a thinly veiled effort to have Garland dismissed or, at least, severely reprimanded?

Hammond could have—and should have—either replied to Garland directly expressing her views to the contrary or ignored his mail completely.

To launch a personal attack on Garland that brought his employer into the fray is out of line and violates the rules of behavior I'm sure you encourage in your reporters.

Since the public's confidence in journalism is at an all-time low, I hope you'll respond to my inquiry. If you do, we'd like to post your reply in its entirety.

Joe Guzzardi adds: I sent my letter to the following Oregonian editors whose individual e-mail addresses are as follows:

Sandy Rowe, Editor srowe@news.oregonian.com
Peter Bhatia, Executive Editor pbhatia@news.oregonian.com
Therese Bottomly, Managing Editor theresebottomly@news.oregonian.com
Bob Caldwell, Editorial Page Editor bobcaldwell@news.oregonian.com