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  Media Sob Story About Illegal Aliens
by Andy Selepak 1/5/07

The media bias in favor of illegal immigration, amnesty, and an open-border policy is plain for all to see. In the nation’s capital, Washington Post Ombudsman Deborah Howell admits that “Journalists tend to be softhearted toward the afflicted or the underdog, which tends to make them less critical of illegal immigrants.” The problem is that the media use sympathy for the downtrodden and underprivileged to excuse or ignore bad behavior and criminal activity. The victims are not just the law-abiding but the illegal aliens themselves.


Andy Selepak, a writer at Accuracy in Media, is the author of the study, New Evidence of Liberal Media Bias. [go to Selepak index]

A case in point was a series of stories by the Washington Post of the tragic death of a young man in Virginia. The story made front-page news December 3 and 4, and the front page of the Metro Section on December 5, 2006. On December 3, the Washington Post ran a front-page story reporting that “A handcuffed Woodbridge teenager drowned early yesterday after he fled from a Virginia State Police cruiser during a traffic stop and plunged more than 60 feet off a bridge.”

For three straight days, five Post writers used the backdrop of a young man’s death to garner sympathy for the illegal immigrant movement, while ignoring, minimizing or forgiving the young man’s criminal history and the actions of those around him who facilitated his illegal activities.

The obvious ploy for sympathy was most evident in the December 4 article, where Post writers Mary Beth Sheridan and Ian Shapira told the story of struggle and loss for an illegal immigrant family. The Post writers explain the struggle of Gloria Rodriguez’s family losing their apartment, her sister-in-law’s death, and now the death of “her only son, Rodger.” We learn Rodriguez and her husband live in a “suburban split-level home they share with two other Honduran families.” We also learn that it was a mere 15 months ago that Rodger “arrived from Honduras, joyfully reuniting with the mother he hadn’t seen since 2002.” All that joy turned to sorrow, making readers feel sorry for what eventually happened to Rodger.

Once you get beyond the front page and the headlines, however, you begin to understand the multitude of illegal activities and crimes at issue here.

It turns out the boy on the run from the police was an illegal alien. The Post wants its readers to feel sorry for this boy, Rodger, who should never have been in this country in the first place and was actually smuggled in. The Post is careful to mask the truth. For instance, we are told that Gloria Rodriguez “moved” to Northern Virginia in 2002 from Honduras and her second husband “arrived” in the U.S. These are euphemisms designed to mask illegal entry.

In order to make Rodger out to be a victim, it is necessary to obscure how illegal aliens “move” or “arrive” in the U.S. This is media bias in action. It’s a common trick.

Remember how the family had lost their apartment in the beginning of the article? It turns out the family was unable to renew their lease on the apartment because, as Rodriguez’s husband admitted to the Post, “we had no papers.” Although they had “no papers,” in the December 3 article Post writers Candace Rondeaux and Allison Klein report that Rodger’s stepfather, Jilton Acosta, told them that he would sometimes take Rodger on construction jobs. The Post writers do not make it plain that Jilton was in fact breaking the law by working in this country as an illegal alien and that bringing his underage stepson to construction sites to work was illegal as well.

Remember the joyful reunion between Rodriguez and her son just 15 months ago? It turns out that Rodriguez “arranged for a smuggler to bring Rodger across the Mexican border, accompanied by her husband’s 26-year-old sister…Rodger was arrested and given a summons to appear in immigration court but ignored it and flew to Miami” where he joyfully reunited with his mother who brought him back to Northern Virginia.

Once in Virginia, Rodger, who was in this country illegally and failed to appear before an immigration court, enrolled at Gar-Field High School in Woodbridge, Virginia. Although Rodger was sweet natured and “tried to help everyone,” according to his mother and step-father, he constantly cut class at Gar-Field High School, and was eventually expelled.

After being expelled from school, Rodger was arrested with a friend who was driving a stolen car as they tried to flee police. Rodger was then jailed for several weeks and released on parole. In September, Rodger entered an alternative school in Manassas, Virginia, but quit after a week. Early Saturday, on December 2, Rodger received a phone call from a friend who asked for a ride home. The Post reports, “Rodger had been drinking beer in his room with a friend, who had fallen asleep…Rodger didn’t have a driver’s license but loved to drive. He took the keys to his friend’s Nissan Pathfinder and headed out, accompanied by another Honduran youth living in the house.” At 3:20 a.m. on the morning of the 2nd, a state trooper pulled Rodger over on Interstate-95. A police spokesman said, “the kid was driving 90 miles per hour in a 55-mile-per-hour zone, without a license, and he’s intoxicated.”

The December 5 Post article by Theresa Vargas identified the second “Honduran youth” in the car with Rodger as Christian Bardales. He was the first to notice the police car following them and tried to convince Rodger to not outrun the police. In addition, we learn that not only was Rodger driving without a license, driving while intoxicated, and driving recklessly at 90 miles per hour in a 55-mile-per-hour zone, but according to Virginia State Police spokesman Sgt. Terry Licklider, Virginia law would prohibit them from driving at that hour because of their youth.

The Vargas article mentioned that Bardales thought Rodger showed little indication that he might be scared after being pulled over. But, in a revealing example of how little worry illegal immigrants have about being deported, even with criminal backgrounds, the Post explained that Rodger’s fear “had nothing to do with his immigration status.”

The third article also mentioned Rodger’s immigration status, and once again does not use the word “illegal. Instead, Vargas writes, Gloria Rodriguez’s “son had moved to the United States from Honduras a year and a half ago and did not have documents.”   

The phrase, “undocumented workers,” is commonly used by the media to describe illegal aliens. This boy appears to have been an “undocumented” juvenile delinquent.

The death of any young person is a tragedy. But this article is much more than a story about the circumstances surrounding the bizarre death of a 16-year-old kid. This is a story about illegal immigration. It is also a story about complete disrespect for the laws of this country. But that’s not the way the Post saw it.

The key fact is that the Rodriguez family entered this country illegally. That includes Gloria and her son Rodger. It also includes Gloria’s husband, referred to as Jilton Acosta in the December 3 article and as Gilton Acosta in the December 4 article, and Gilton/Jilton’s sister Sarai. Rodger was arrested for entering the country illegally, and ignored a court ruling to appear before an immigration court. Gloria Rodriguez and her husband lost the lease on their apartment because they were here illegally, and they now may be breaking housing codes with three unrelated families living in one single-family home.

When an individual is willing to break one law by entering the country illegally, it shows a propensity to break other laws as well, and in the case of Rodger, those crimes were reckless driving, driving without a license, riding in a stolen vehicle, driving past curfew, skipping school, failure to show up to court, driving under the influence and underage drinking.

How many people were put in harm’s way because of the actions of this one illegal immigrant? That’s the story the Post won’t tell.  

How much money in taxpayer dollars was used to educate and prosecute this one illegal immigrant? That’s the story the Post won’t tell.

But there’s more: Bardales and the Rodriguez family are now calling for a full investigation into Rodger’s death. How many more taxpayer dollars will be spent on this? Are the authorities now going to be blamed for belatedly apprehending this criminal?  

It is time for journalists to stop being “soft-hearted” to the point of blindness to illegal activity that costs the lives of the illegal aliens the media claim to be so concerned about.   CRO

copyright 2007 Accuracy in Media www.aim.org




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