How Tiny a Protest Is 'News'? N.Y. Times Publicizes a Four-Person March for Illegal Immigrants
By contrast, a massive anti-Obama rally that attracted over 100,000 people to the Capitol on September 12 resulted in virtually the same level of print coverage in the Times: A 932-word article.
The text box to Preston's story on Saturday read: “Hoping that a four-person walk will resonate in a way mass marches did not.” That lack of resonance was not through any fault of Times reporters like Preston, who mainstreamed the mass immigration marches of 2006 and 2007 and portrayed them in a positive light.
Preston certainly embraced the self-serving melodrama of the protesters:
Lacing up new pairs of walking shoes with a flourish, four immigrant students set out on foot from downtown Miami on Friday, starting a four-month walk to Washington to protest what they called the Obama administration’s lack of action on legislation granting legal status to illegal immigrants.The protesters must not have felt too much risk, given that all four (!) are identified in the story by photo and name.
Three of the four protesters, who are current or former students at Miami Dade College, do not have legal-resident status and risk detention by immigration authorities during the 1,500-mile walk.
The students’ trek showed the resolve and also some limitations of groups supporting an immigration overhaul that would include measures to legalize illegal immigrants. Those groups said this week that they would start a national campaign in January to pressure President Obama to push for the overhaul before midterm elections in November.Preston got to a single opponent of amnesty in her very last paragraph:
But as immigration enforcement has continued at a steady pace during the first year of the Obama administration, many illegal immigrants are clinging to jobs and families in this country and may be afraid to participate in public demonstrations. With unemployment holding at 10 percent, immigrant advocates acknowledge that their campaign could awaken passionate opposition in Congress and around the country.
“Allowing millions of illegal immigrants to stay and take jobs away from citizens and legal immigrants is like giving a burglar a key to the house,” said Representative Lamar Smith of Texas, the senior Republican on the House Judiciary Committee.