The News Media and its Low-Hanging FruitsJun 20th, 2010 | By Michel Marizco | Category: General News, Immigration
Email Facebook Twitter Post to Delicious Stumble This Post Buzz This Post Digg This Post
THE BORDER REPORT
The restrictionists from Phoenix are at it again, this time threatening to set up snipers in ski-masks along Interstate 8 south of Phoenix to stop “the invasion.”
Keep in mind, nobody actually did anything, just wrote an e-mail. Does that give the media any pause? Hell no.
J.T. Ready, a former Minuteman Project supporter, the recipient of not one but two court-martials before he was tossed out of the Marine Corps, merely wrote an e-mail, announcing he wants to place teams of men along Interstate 8 and take out drug smugglers as they make their way up into Phoenix.
This is the kind of rhetoric that I find frustrating with journalism in general; the kind of mindless shrieking that makes its way into the newspapers, television stations and news Web sites and evolves a non-issue into something tangible that then merits more attention. Why? Because it’s been covered in the past. It’s a perfect public relations gig. There is no cost involved, a man must simply lobby off an outrageous email, make sure some journalists read it, then sit back and let the news mediums send it out virally. Instant credibility; it’s been reported in the news, it must be true.
In the age of the Internet, it’s even easier than before. Do a Google search for this “Minuteman Project on steroids,” garbage and you’ll see a great example of how a simple e-mail can earn as many individual news stories as a tangible, tactile event.
Like Chris Simcox before him, J.T. Ready is not a public figure who merits media attention – he’s a guy with a keyboard and an opinion. Yet because the news media have given him his wanted attention, he now merits further news coverage. In 2002, when Simcox launched his first militia activity, three “vigilantes” showed up – and 12 reporters were there to greet them, a ratio of three reporters to every one nut.
When I first reported on the activities of the Minuteman Project in 2005, as many reporters showed up for the group’s first meeting as actual volunteers. Yet, the national media’s attention on the low hanging fruits launched the group into the spotlight – and drove up donations. That right there is the key to announcements like J.T. Ready’s.
The Arizona Republic has a fine story this morning on the political rhetoric surrounding the Arizona border and how it doesn’t reflect the reality of the border. Yet, here is the same newspaper reporting on this e-mail, propagating the same level of fictions as the politicians it seeks to criticize.
Here is the Phoenix New Times, again with the same email. They take it a step further, calling for the FBI to investigate. Over an e-mail.
J.T. Ready isn’t going to do a goddamned thing but write more e-mails and continue screaming impotently into the ethersphere of the Internet. The news media covering the U.S.-Mexico border needs to move away from covering the things people say and focus on the things people do.
And we wonder why there’s no serious discussions on addressing the border. Pathetic.