Economist Watch: A Dissenting Letter On Immigration...And A Pack Of Lies About Zimmerman
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Holy toffee-nosed elitism, Batman!—The Economist has published a dissenting letter on immigration!

SIR – Although the goal of providing a path to bring America’s estimated 11m illegal immigrants out of the shadows is laudable and sensible, it is not clear that the other consequences of the immigration bill are as positive as you think (“Of fences and good sense”, July 6th). There are different conclusions to be found in the Congressional Budget Office study that you quoted. GNP per person would increase only after 2031. Wages would be slightly lower until the end of 2024. And unemployment would increase until 2020.

With the unemployment rate at 14% today (using the alternative U6 government measure) these facts would make an already tenuous life for many Americans even less secure.

Paul Wehn

[The Economist, July 20th, “Letters”]

As you can see, it’s not very dissenting:  amnesty is “laudable and sensible,” says Mr. Wehn, where I would prefer something more along the lines of “treasonous and insane.”  Still, the writer does correct the magazine’s flagrant misrepresentation of the CBO data, as I did in a July 7th post.

What the toffs give with one hand, though, they take away with the other.  Pages 27-28 of that same July 20th issue cover the Zimmerman verdict.  The standard of reporting here is simply disgraceful.

Mr. Zimmerman, who is Hispanic, chose to stalk Mr. Martin, an unarmed black teenager, through the subdivision where they both were staying.

In the first place, Zimmerman and Martin were not both “staying” in Twin Lakes Retreat.  Zimmerman lived there, owned property there, and was active in the community.  Martin and his father were visiting at the father’s girlfriend's place.  Father and son both lived 200 miles away in Miami.

And then “chose to stalk”?  Do the editors of The Economist really believe that is a fair description of George Zimmerman’s actions? 

Zimmerman spotted a strange young man in characteristically lowlife attire walking in his gated community (“a group of houses or apartment buildings protected by gates, walls, or other security measures”; cf. “subdivision”—“a tract of land for building resulting from subdividing land; a housing development built on such a tract”).   

In his capacity as a Neighborhood Watch volunteer, Zimmerman called this observation into the police.  The stranger was, said Zimmerman, “just walking around, looking about . . . just staring . . . looking at all the houses.”  The dispatcher told Zimmerman: “We’ve got someone on the way, just let me know if this guy does anything else.”  Zimmerman then tried—unsuccessfully, by his own account—to keep track of Martin until the police arrived.  Martin meanwhile failed to go to his father’s girlfriend’s house, although he had ample time to do so.

Dictionaries give the transitive form of “stalk” as “to pursue (game, a person, etc.) stealthily; to proceed through (an area) in search of prey or quarry: to stalk the woods for game.”  Does The Economist really think this is the right word for what George Zimmerman was doing?

In the next paragraph The Economist tells readers that

The participants complained of racism in many aspects of the tragedy, from Mr Zimmerman’s groundless assumption that Mr Martin was up to no good . . .

Why was it “groundless”?  A stranger in typically young-hoodlum clothing, belonging to a demographic with crime rates sensationally higher than any other’s, is rather likely to be up to no good.  Best call the police and keep tabs on him till they arrive.

 . . .  to the local police’s initial refusal to arrest Mr Zimmerman . . .

They didn’t “refuse” to arrest him, as if someone had urged them to.  They decided not to arrest him because they saw no probable cause, and feared a wrongful-arrest lawsuit.  This was all explained patiently by former Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee, one of the real heroes of this case—a man of integrity, duty, and honor, of the kind our Western civilization produces far too few of nowadays.

 . . . to the jurors’ belief that Mr Martin, who had just been to a shop to buy sweets, posed so grave a threat to Mr Zimmerman that he was justified in killing him.

Again with the mot injuste.  I may believe that the Yankees will win the pennant, that Mohammed was the messenger of God, or that spunk-water cures warts.  The Zimmerman jurors were not in any corresponding frame of mind.  They did not merely believe the thing stated, they deduced it from many hours of courtroom evidence.

I don’t know how sly, sloppy mis-reporting likes this looks to a Defamation attorney; but while George Zimmerman is putting together his suit against NBC, he might want to consider another one against The Economist.

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