Slipping One Past the Grey Lady’s Immigration Censors

Published on April 25th, 2013

"Nobody’s perfect,” goes the saying. That would apparently apply to newspapers as well as people.  The Grey Lady of American journalism, aka The New York Times, recently slipped up when it allowed an op-ed essay critical of unrestrained American population growth to appear on the pompous pages of America’s “newspaper of record.”

In his April 17 column, The False Alarm over US Fertility,  Derek S. Hoff, Kansas State University associate professor of history and author of The State and the Stork: The Population Debate and Policy Making in U.S. History, had the temerity to question “the environmental implications of sustained large-scale legal immigration to one of the world’s most energy-hogging nations,” as well as to advance the heretical notion that “environmentalists need the courage to discuss national population growth.” [The False Alarm over US Fertility, by Derek S. Hoff, New York Times, April 17, 2013]

Of course, at one time, according to esteemed historians and archeologists, environmentalists did have the courage not just to discuss, but even to denounce perpetual population growth in the U.S. and insist on its cessation or reversal.

Indeed, in the mythic, bygone days of the late sixties, there was once an organization known as Zero Population Growth (ZPG), whose catchy name was also its mission for the country and the planet – slowing and then stopping population growth. That was back before Political Correctness (PC) swept the nation, stifling free speech and replacing inconvenient truths with more politically palatable euphemisms and platitudes that would not offend newly empowered interests. Capitulating to the self-appointed thought police of this brave new world, in the nineties ZPG abandoned its commitment to U.S. population stabilization and changed its name to Population Connection, or PC for short (a most appropriate acronym for the new era).

That the Times would publish Hoff’s piece reflects a serious lapse on the part of its gatekeepers. Someone was undoubtedly asleep at the switch, the famous filters left unguarded. While the Times’ iconic motto is “All The News That’s Fit to Print,” in reality, with regard to immigration, its motto has been more like “All The News That Fits Our Open Borders Ideology.”

Over the past decade or two, under its current publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and editor Lawrence Downes, the influential Times is little more than an uncritical cheerleader for endless mass immigration, legal and illegal alike. In keeping with this ideological bias, the Times has nurtured a nasty habit of smearing immigration restrictionists as contemptible racists, bigots, and xenophobes. This is superbly documented in a recent report by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jerry Kammer, senior research fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies here.

Kammer concludes that the Times “has produced immigration reporting that has often obscured or distorted one of the most important stories in American life.”  Worse even than its reporting, Times editorials and op-eds are uniformly pro-mass immigration, pro-amnesty, and anti-enforcement; they typically amount to shrill, often unhinged, screeds.

While the Times also prides itself as an environmental champion, it displays a curious blind spot or cognitive dissonance when it comes to discerning the connection between rapid and unending U.S. population growth – fueled by mass immigration – and the resulting environmental degradation. It is oblivious to the obvious.

One would not think it that difficult to acknowledge that there are tradeoffs between immigration’s pros and cons – for a truly fair and balanced newspaper, that is, but this the Times is not. It's on a mission, and contrary information and views don't fit its narrative. Immigration, at whatever level, only carries benefits, not costs. And there are no principled motives for opposing large-scale immigration, only base ones.

In terms of Times priorities, immigration trumps the environment hands down. Don’t expect the Times ever to admit this. An admission would, after all, be treasonous to the elite readership to which it caters (or panders).

On immigration and the environment, elites want to have their cake and eat it too. The Times reaffirms readers' good feelings about themselves and their noble opinions, what Garrett Hardin called conspicuous benevolence.

So hats off to Professor Hoff for using the Times as his forum to question immigration-fueled, runaway U.S. population growth. Given how infrequently the Times writes responsibly about immigration, I’ll look forward to the next op-ed that does the same in about 2030. With any luck, I’ll still be around to savor it.


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