In Headline, NY Times Calls Criminal Alien a 'Mexican Man' When He's Executed In Texas

When Edgar Tamayo killed a police officer in Houston, he could have been defined by our national media as "an American living in the shadows." But in Thursday's New York Times, the headline was "Texas Executes Mexican Man for Murder."

Reporter Manny Fernandez began by noting outrage at Rick Perry's Texas from "the State Department, Mexican officials, and Latino advocates," but it wasn't until the second paragraph from the end that Fernandez whispered in print that Tamayo was "in the United States illegally."  The Times even took most of three paragraphs to get to the cop-killer part:

AUSTIN, Tex. — Despite opposition from the State Department, Mexican officials and Latino advocates, Texas executed Edgar Arias Tamayo on Wednesday night, putting to death a Mexican citizen whose case raised questions about the state’s duty to abide by international law.

Mr. Tamayo, 46, was strapped to a T-shaped gurney in the state’s death chamber at a prison in Huntsville, injected with a lethal dose of the sedative known as pentobarbital and pronounced dead at 9:32 p.m. Mr. Tamayo was the 509th inmate executed by Texas in the past three decades and had been one of 21 foreign citizens on its death row.

The case became an international issue that Mexican officials and Secretary of State John Kerry said threatened to strain relations between the two countries. Mr. Tamayo’s arrest in Houston in 1994 on charges of murdering a police officer violated the international treaty known as the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. The authorities neglected to tell him of his right under the Vienna Convention to notify Mexican diplomats.

Can you say "afterthought"? Fernandez also failed to include a quote from anyone who denounced the cop killer instead of the state of Texas. After Fernandez used the PC terminology for "illegal immigrant" in the 11th paragraph, readers could discover the slain cop, Guy Gaddis, was 24 and four days before his death, "he had learned he was going to be a father."


At least the Los Angeles Times ran the headline "Texas executes Mexican citizen who killed police officer." Their reporter Molly Hennessy-Fiske never mentioned Tamayo's immigration status, but did include some mention of the victim's family and colleagues:

As Gaddis' mother, two brothers, sister-in-law and uncle entered to witness the execution, they shook the officers' hands and thanked them, [Houston police officer Ray] Hunt said.

Clark said Gaddis' mother thanked the officers again after the execution.

"We believe that Mr. Tamayo got every right guaranteed to him as any person who was here legally," Hunt said, adding that the execution was "as much justice as the family can get."

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis