The Washington Post's Teresa Vargas rushed to the rescue last Friday of a drunk-driving Hispanic immigrant (legal, she tells us) who overstayed his jail time.[Another Inmate Held Too Long In Pr. William | Spanish-Speaking Man Victim of Clerical Error, June 8, 2007]
A number of points not addressed by Vargas:
We can be confident that Ms. Vargas—and the rest of the Washington Post team—will never ask these questions or write these stories. You can see exactly what's running through her head as she sits there at her desk: fat, white sheriff's deputies and police officials in Virginia, probably bigots, are manhandling innocent Mr. Duarte, a blameless Hispanic immigrant who only works hard and dreams his dreams of success. The hero and the villains were formed in her mind before she ever picked up the phone for an interview, and the story fell into place.
This is journalistic malpractice. It's naked ethnic advocacy (for Hispanics) and obvious ethnic slander (against Americans, English- speakers, whites, etc.). It doesn't pass what Chicago Tribune columnist Mike Royko (an old-style liberal) might have called the "Slats Grobnik" test: how would a working guy sitting at a bar react to a story like this? Probably by snorting that Mr. Duarte should have learned some English, or stayed home in El Salvador.
But I am willing to bet that Ms. Vargas wouldn't care about the opinion of a working guy sitting at a bar—unless he had two last names.