One high profile case, the murder of Chandra Levy, highlights this fact. It has been quite some time (over a year) since Ingmar Guandique was charged with Levy's murder, and much longer since he was identified as being an illegal immigrant from El Salvador.
And while Guandique's illegal status isn't necessarily news to those having actually followed the case, you would think it was still an unproven fact based on media reports past and present.
As a recent update reveals, attorney's working on behalf of Guandique argued that he would not get a fair trial in Washington, though a judge has now determined that the trial will indeed stay in DC. Coinciding with this news, is the recent release of a book covering the case entitled, Finding Chandra. With these updates, one has to wonder how far the media has come in their willingness to report the truth. How far have they come since Michelle Malkin noted a perfect record of going 115 for 115 in reports failing to mention the suspect's illegal status back in 2002? As it turns out, not far at all...
- The Associated Press failed to cite Guandique's status at all in their brief report.
- As did NBC Washington.
- MSNBC used both the AP, and the NBC Washington report in their coverage.
- In a retrospective slideshow of the Levy case, the Washington Post refers to the suspect as a Salvadoran immigrant. A timeline states nothing of his immigration status. The Post does however note his illegal status in a little blurb in the Local Digest.
- Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, and Washington Post book reviews also fail to use the word illegal, referring to Guandique each time as simply a Salvadoran immigrant.
- A Fresno Bee article uses a McClatchy report that actually refers to him as an illegal alien, but omits the paragraph that states:
(Public Defender) Sonenberg wants to ask questions of potential jurors about issues like attitudes toward gangs and illegal immigration. A native of El Salvador, Guandique is an illegal immigrant and festooned with gang tattoos.
A Google search of the words ‘Guandique and illegal' yields a staggering two results. One of the results then leads the viewer to an additional ‘295 articles,' which in reality only yields another 9 articles, a majority of which are highlighted above.
As Malkin stated nearly eight years ago:
"The glaring omission of Guandique's immigration status from the mainstream media's no-stone-unturned Levy coverage is a newsworthy act of negligence as the nation grapples with lax borders and national (in)security."
How appropriate, even today.
While some might view his immigration status as irrelevant to this trial, the mention, or rather the omission, of Guandique's status does indeed become relevant when covering the reality of failing to enforce immigration laws.
A reality our media is all too willing to overlook.
Photo Credit: AP