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Immigration Reporting At Its "Best" : The Chicago Tribune`s Oscar Avila
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January 07, 2006, 07:53 PM
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I don`t envy Joe Guzzardi`s task of determining who is the nation`s worst immigration reporter. Isn`t what he`s trying to do much like having to decide at the supermarket which toothpaste or deodorant to buy? I mean, given so many choices, where the hell does one start? Here in the Midwest, I`m going to go with Oscar Avila, the Chicago Tribune`s "immigration reporter." Cutting to the chase: Avila (e-mail him), in general, mirrors the journalistic standards of our MSM, i.e., "Illegal aliens are `victims,` and let`s not bother with what their presence is costing the American taxpayer or those among us who fall into the category of `the working poor.` " In his most recent effort, "Day Laborers` tough choice: rights or job," Avila dragged his readers through 10 paragraphs before he mentioned that most of his subjects were, uh, you know, illegal aliens. I got my first glimpse of the real Oscar several years ago over lunch. When I asked why he couldn`t provide a more balanced view of the immigration issue, he said:

"Maybe if you had a `(Tom) Tancredo` in Illinois, you`d see a different type of reporting."

Que pasa? In other words, unless ordinary residents in "The Land of Lincoln" had a high profile figure who really gave a damn about the rule of law, the best Avila`s readers could hope for would be heavily biased stories about people "living in the shadows" as they "searched for a better life." "Everybody has an agenda," Avila told me ( with a slight smirk). And Oscar`s agenda became very apparent Oct. 16 when, in his coverage of the ChicagoMinutemanProject`s meeting in Arlington Heights, "Two sides clash over immigration," (paid archive), he wrote:

"Sensitive to charges of racism, organizers invited speakers of Mexican, Chinese and African-American descent."

Well, let`s see. Among those who were brought in to allay any misgivings about what the real intentions of the ChicagoMinutemenProject might be were Terry Anderson, Yeh-Ling-Ling, and Robert Vasquez, all of whom have very long records of trying to restore sanity to our goofy immigration laws regardless of their racial origins. By the way, Avila insisted on picking up the lunch tab. Anybody who says this guy isn`t worried about creating the wrong impression will have to answer to me.