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Immigration Polls: The Big Shell Game Continues
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June 04, 2006, 05:00 AM
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Why does the press feel entitled to mislead, smear, goof off, and cover up when it comes to immigration?

Consider its shameless misuse of public opinion polls.

Back in April, I explained in detail how the press rigs the verbiage in public opinion polls on immigration to get the desired results.

And yet, the insightful blogger Audacious Epigone pointed out in an email that in my VDARE.com assault on rigged questions about immigration, I had flat-out missed the worst survey research sin committed by the contrivers of the April 13th LA Times poll that I was using as my example. I overlooked the LAT`s biggest feat of sleight-of-hand because I concentrated too much on the biased wording of the individual proposals, rather than on the bigger picture.

The LAT offered respondents the following "three proposals" and asked whether they supported or opposed each. See if you can spot how they contrived the grouping of the questions to lower artificially the amount of immigration restrictionist support.

  1. Create a guest-worker program that would give a temporary visa to noncitizens who want to legally work in the U.S."

  1. "Allow undocumented immigrants who have been living and working in the U.S. for a number of years, with no criminal record, to start a path to citizenship."

  1. "Fence off hundreds of miles of the border between the U.S. and Mexico and make it a felony to enter illegally."

Yet, are there really just three proposals here?

No, there are four:

A. Guest-worker program

B. Amnesty

C. Fence and Felony

The two pro-immigration proposals were made independent of each other, while the two anti-immigration proposals were linked together with the logical operator "and." The word "and" is the opposite of "or"—you`re only supposed to answer "Support" for "C" if you favor both the fence and the felony.

Thus, if you supported the guest-worker program but not the amnesty, or vice-versa, you`d still be counted by the LAT as supporting one of the first two proposals for increased immigration. But if you supported the fence but not the felony, or vice-versa, you`d be logically forced to answer "oppose" to the combined proposal.

You won`t be surprised to learn that the Mainstream Media is still at it when it comes to immigration polls. But now they have a new trick: announcing that the public supports the Senate over the House based on poll questions that are not actually about the bill the Senate just passed.

For example, in "Why Immigration Reform May Die in the House" in Time on May 30, Perry Brown Jr. opined:

"But in fact, polls suggest large majorities of Americans support something akin to what President Bush and the Senate have pushed, a so-called "comprehensive reform" law that would create a guest worker program and provide some path to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants already in the country."

"Something akin"…that`s one way to put it.

The poll questions aren`t more than "something akin" to the Hagel-Martinez Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act, which passed the Senate two weeks ago on the back of overwhelming Democratic support, because the Mainstream Media has relentlessly refused to explain fully what is in the bill—above all, its huge increase in legal immigration.

VDARE.com readers know all about it, but the first inkling many people got of what the Senate bill would actually do came in the distinguished economics pundit Robert Samuelson`s May 31 column in the Washington Post and Newsweek:

"You might think that the first question anyone would ask is how much it would actually increase or decrease legal immigration. But no. After the Senate approved the bill by 62 to 36, you could not find the answer in the news columns of The Post, the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal."

"Yet the estimates do exist and are fairly startling. By rough projections, the Senate bill would double the legal immigration that would occur during the next two decades from about 20 million (under present law) to about 40 million [and that`s the White House`s lowball estimate]. One job of journalism is to inform the public about what our political leaders are doing. In this case, we failed." [What You Don`t Know About the Immigration Bill by Robert J. Samuelson, May 31, 2006]

The Time article careened onward:

"A recent poll from Fox News showed about 63% of Americans supported the Senate approach, a CBS poll puts that number at around 77%, depending on the wording of the question."

This claim is apparently based on this Fox question:

"Allowing illegal immigrants who have jobs in the United States to apply for legal, temporary-worker status?"

and this CBS question:

"Allow foreign workers to work in U.S. temporarily and then return home."

But, as we`ve been pointing out for weeks on VDARE.com, the "temporary" workers in the Senate bill aren`t temporary. As Patrick Cleburne wrote on the VDARE.COM blog on May 20:

"The "Temporary Guest Worker" concept as the bill designs it is an utter fraud."

The redoubtable Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) pointed out that it would be extraordinarily easy for "temporary" workers to get permanent legal residency. For his insensitivity in actually reading the 614-page bill that he was being asked to vote on, Sessions was smeared ad hominem by the Washington Post`s top political reporter Dana Milbank in a diatribe that has to be read to be believed.

When Senators John Cornyn (R-Tex.) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) tried to insert an amendment into the Hagel-Martinez bill saying that "temporary" workers had to be temporary, the White House intervened to shoot it down, saying, in effect, that when President Bush had used the word "temporary" six times in his May 15 speech, he was lying.

Furthermore, Time forgot to mention that a House-like proposal in the Fox poll was favored 55-31, not terribly different from the 63-29 margin for the "temporary" workers. Respondents were asked:

"Trying to send as many illegal immigrants back to their home countries as possible?"

Republicans, Democrats, and Independents all favored this by substantial margins.

Undaunted, Time went on:

"Meanwhile, a New York Times poll showed 66% of Americans opposed a 700-mile fence along the U.S.-Mexico border, one of the key provisions in the House bill."

Of course, many American citizens oppose building a 700-mile long fence—because they favor building a 2000-mile-long fence along the entire border that would actually get the job done, unlike the House`s 700-mile or the Senate`s 350-mile partial fences. But, don`t expect the MSM media to mention this.

Why does the MSM feel entitled to yank your chain when it comes to immigration?

Samuelson concluded his column by making a point I`ve been stressing for years:

"Whether or not the bias is `liberal,` groupthink is a powerful force in journalism. Immigration is considered noble. People who critically examine its value or worry about its social effects are subtly considered small-minded, stupid, or bigoted."

The fact that they support massive immigration means that are more moral than you. So they don`t have to obey the basic rules of morality. They can lie, mislead, and twist the truth with a clear conscience.

Why? Because they are better than you.

In their minds, it`s that simple.

[Steve Sailer [email him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and movie critic for The American Conservative. His website www.iSteve.blogspot.com features his daily blog.]