New York Times Slams AZ GOP's 'Hard-Line' on Immigration, Attempts Unrelated Scandal Smears

In two weekend stories, the New York Times did its best to discredit Arizona Republicans fighting illegal immigration both on the border and the ballot box. First up, Fernanda Santos's Saturday report, "As Primary Nears, Governor Candidates Turn Eyes to Border."

Right off Santos suggested Arizona citizens who showed up to a forum to express concerns about border security were misguided because, after all, Mexico was "at least 200 miles away," thus illegal immigration wouldn't affect them (never mind that Massachusetts, 2,000 miles away from Mexico, hosted planeloads of illegals caught at the border, proving the border issue is a national concern).

Mexico is at least 200 miles south of this city that neighbors Nevada. But that distance seemed irrelevant to the retirees, disabled veterans and civic leaders gathered at a community center’s gym recently for what was billed as a border security forum held by Christine Jones, one of six candidates vying to be the Republican Party’s nominee for governor in Tuesday’s primary election.

“Border security is the biggest priority for me, without a doubt the biggest issue facing us,” said Gina Gustafson, 48, one of the several dozen in attendance.

Santos smeared Arizona's GOP gubernatorial hopefuls with unrelated controversies:

Sentiments like that have left the candidates trying to outdo one another to sound tough on illegal immigration. Doug Ducey, the state’s treasurer, has called for “fencing, satellite, guardsmen, more police and prosecutors” to secure the border. Andrew Thomas, a former county attorney disbarred in 2012 for abuse of prosecutorial authority, has pledged to build a fence north of the one that already exists -- a “fallback line,” as he described it -- and then install checkpoints between them.

(Just like her paper, Santos has a history of slanted, sympathetic reporting on the issue of illegal immigrants; in an April 2012 story she claimed an Arizona law "seeks to push illegal immigrants out of the state by making it hard for them to go about their lives and earn a living.")

Veteran reporter Erik Eckholm's related Sunday piece from Arizona, "U.S. Court to Hear Case on Voting Restrictions as Arizona Prepares for Polls," covered the same hostile ground and contained similar unrelated smears.

And surely Eckholm meant to say "anti-illegal-immigration policies" in the following paragraph, as few Republicans truly favor shutting down all legal immigration:

A decades-old effort by Congress to make voter registration simple and uniform across the country has run up against a new era’s anti-immigration politics. So on Tuesday, when Arizona’s polls open for primaries for governor, attorney general and a host of other state and local positions as well as for Congress, some voters will be permitted to vote only in the race for Congress.

Eckholm, who has previously defended Barack Obama like it was his job, predictably played up an argument from unlabeled liberal activists.

Apart from the legal principles at stake, groups working to sign up voters say the document requirements will most heavily affect minorities, the poor, older adults and also college students who move into the state, effectively disenfranchising some.

By contrast, Eckholm couldn't find any objective merit in strict voting requirements, only political hay to be made by the GOP. Then he too brought up unrelated Republican scandals.

Arizona’s attorney general, Tom Horne, a Republican, sees the dispute over voter certification as a winning issue as he campaigns for re-election.

“People are very emotional about illegals voting and diluting their own votes,” Mr. Horne said in an interview.

Mr. Horne, who is battling allegations of campaign finance and other ethics violations, is known for his hard-line views on immigration. In speeches and a new television ad, he boasts that he “fought voter fraud” by personally defending Arizona’s proof-of-citizenship rules in court.

Clay Waters
Clay Waters
Clay Waters was director of Times Watch, a former project of the Media Research Center.