For quite some time, VDARE.com’s Patrick Cleburne has been pointing
to readers’ comments at online mainstream-media articles about immigration as important clues to public opinion on the subject.
Perhaps the first time Mr. Cleburne took up this topic was in November, 2006, when he mused
about the addition of Ruben Navarrette to Townhall.com’s line-up
of (nominally) conservative pundits:
Quite why not-very-covert Reconquista Ruben Navarrette Jr. has been picked up as a columnist is mysterious; but it has one great virtue: the articulate ferocity of the hostile comments posted on the discussion threads following his pieces.
That “articulate ferocity” has continued steadily in the years since Mr. Cleburne’s observation. Indeed, in the current “Radio Derb
,” John Derbyshire reported [link to item in transcript
] on his sampling of comments at a current Yahoo/Reuters sob story about an illegal alien who’s taken sanctuary from deportation in a Tucson church:
The main point of interest, though, is the comment thread. There were over twelve hundred comments when I looked. I trawled through the first few dozen and I couldn't find one that had any sympathy for this guy. Every single commenter wanted him deported, along with his family.
This reminds me of something I saw in the comments thread at a February 27, 2014 Yahoo/Reuters article[Mexican president 'indignant' at U.S. deportations
, by Julia Symmes Cobb] within several days of its posting: The article quickly attracted thousands of comments—today, the total is 7,060—and none of the ~50 that I scanned betrayed the slightest sympathy for the Mexican president.
But also of interest are the up votes (approval) and down votes added to most comments by other readers.
For example, a comment by “Kathleen” …
Who cares what [Mexican President] Nieto or the Mexicans think? He shouldn't be dumping his trash in our back yard in the first place. The indignation should be coming from the US for exporting his country's poverty to our doorstep. I see no mention of compensation to the US for all the food, health care, shelter and education provided to Mexico's illegal squatters and their anchor babies here in this country.
.. attracted six thumb-up votes and one thumb down.
And that’s a rather low “turnout”: One readily spots examples of patriotic comments that have received approval/disapproval counts like 24 to 0—I just noticed one that focuses on helping unemployed American citizens, by “Jake,” for which the count is 478 to 2!
When I first read the article, I’d also spotted the following comment by “Trust No One”:
Mexico's laws against illegal immigrants are MUCH tougher than ours.For example:Under Mexican law, illegal immigration is a felony. The General Law on Population States…"A penalty of up to two years in prison and a fine of three hundred to five thousand pesos will be imposed on the foreigner who enters the country illegally."Foreigners who are deported from Mexico and attempt to re-enter the country without authorization can be imprisoned for up to 10 years.Foreigners who violate the terms of their visa may be sentenced to up to six years in prison . Foreigners who misrepresent the terms of their visa while in Mexico — such as working with out a permit — can also be imprisoned.Mexicans who help illegal aliens enter the country are themselves considered criminals .Under the law, A Mexican who marries a foreigner with the sole objective of helping the foreigner live in the country is subject to up to five years in prison.
That seemed like a good statement of an important point, yet the approval/disapproval numbers were fairly evenly split at 27 to 21. Then I noticed that the “27” appeared kind of weird, so I whipped off my glasses for a closer look: It’s actually “2.7k”!
In other words, to the nearest 100, Mr. Trust No One’s comment had received 2,700 approving votes … to 23 disapproving. That seems pretty definitive. (The comment has also attracted 90 comments in reply, and a glance at those shows heavy agreement with Trust No One’s seed contribution.)
At this writing, the “Trust No One” comment is, fortuitously, only about 30 down from the top, at least in my view of the article, so you might be able to confirm my reporting. To check if you have the same view as I do, you can see if the first three comments include two by “dw” and one by “Wigamump.”