AP Headline: Anyone Who Questions Perry's Soft Immigration Record Is 'Far Right'

First, to be fair to Associated Press reporter Christopher Sherman, because there is no equivalent reference in the 3:34 p.m. version of his report on Rick Perry's immigration positions, the headline which will follow the jump does not appear to be of his doing.

But whoever at the wire service decided on the headline to use at Sherman's piece definitely has a problem with anyone who questions the need for illegal-immgrant amnesty, is against the granting of in-state tuition for college students who are illegal immigrants, or supports robust border enforcement:

PerryFarRightAP081111

One supposes that cooler heads might prevail at the AP in due course. But in the meantime, a Google News search on the exact headline in quotes done shortly after 4 PM ET indicates that it has already appeared in 102 places.

Here are several paragraphs from Sherman's report:

For all of his rock-solid conservative credentials, Texas Gov. Rick Perry may have an Achilles' heel: immigration.

If Perry runs for president, as is widely expected, he will undoubtedly focus on Texas' relatively healthy economy and its low taxes and his record in creating jobs in the 11 years he's been governor. What he may have to explain on the stump is how illegal immigrants have contributed to that success, adding as much as $17.7 billion a year to the state gross product and enjoying such benefits as in-state tuition at public universities.

... "Gov. Perry is very eager to appear tough on illegal immigration, but upon closer inspection he's part of the problem," complained William Gheen, who runs the North Carolina-based political action committee Americans for Legal Immigration. The group intends to educate conservative groups about candidates' positions on that issue.

... Texas remains welcoming to immigrants in ways some other states are not.

Illegal immigrants can get in-state tuition at Texas universities. Neither employers nor state agencies are required to run job applicants through a federal database to determine their legal status. Illegal immigrants have access to services for drug treatment, mental health and children with special health care needs.

The fact is, despite the pronouncements from Democrats in Washington, illegal immigration is deeply opposed by at least a significant pluralities of Democrats and moderates as well as a majority of conservatives. One small example which shows majorities across the board comes from from May of last year:

A strong majority of Americans support Arizona's controversial new immigration law and would back similar laws in their own states, a new McClatchy-Ipsos poll found.

Sixty-one percent of Americans — and 64 percent of registered voters — said they favored the law in a survey of 1,016 adults conducted May 6-9.

Strikingly, nearly half of Democrats like the law, under which local law enforcement officers are tasked with verifying people's immigration status if they suspect them of being in the country illegally. While the Democratic Party generally is regarded as more sympathetic to illegal immigrants' plights, 46 percent of Democrats said they favored the law for Arizona and 49 percent said they'd favor the law's passage in their own states.

More than 8 in 10 Republicans and 54 percent of independents favor the law.

Given that so-called "comprehensive immigration reform" aka amnesty was rejected by the Senate in 2007 after a wave of public pressure, maybe the AP's headline writer delusionally believes that the World's Greatest Deliberative Body is also dominated by the far right. Zheesh.

I wonder how many times the term "far left" has ever appeared in an Associated Press headline, at least in the past decade?

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.