For today's lesson in bias by labeling, class, turn to today's "Annapolis Notebook" in the March 28 Washington Post.
It's there that reporter Lisa Rein skewed her portrayal of a debate over tuition for illegal aliens in favor of the liberal Democrats in the Maryland General Assembly, with everything from watering down the label "illegal immigrant" to painting Republicans as angry partisans and Democrats as righteously angry protecters of the underprivileged.
While the headline reads: "House Heats Up Over Bill to Give Illegal Immigrants In-State Tuition," Rein herself chooses the term "undocumented immigrants," even though, well, they apparently must have enough documentation to prove they've lived in Maryland for a "length of time" under the proposed legislation:
One of the most emotional debates of the Maryland General Assembly session came shortly after 8 p.m. Monday as the House of Delegates took up a bill to allow undocumented immigrants who have lived in Maryland for a length of time to pay in-state tuition at state universities and community colleges.
They currently must pay out-of-state tuition.
Keep that in mind for later. Illegal immigrants aren't barred from state colleges and universities. They simply must pay out-of-state tuition, which is still quite a bargain regionally.
Republican opponents said the General Assembly would be sanctioning illegal immigration and take away in-state spots from minority students who are legal residents of Maryland.
Del. Patrick L. McDonough (R-Baltimore County) told his colleagues, "We are aiding and abetting people who are in this state illegally." His voice rose in anger. "Welcome to Maryland. We are a sanctuary state. We will provide services to you. We will break the rule of law."
Yeah, McDonough asked for it alright. He kindled the righteous wrath of Democratic lawmakers:
The comments infuriated many Democrats, who rose to speak for the bill. The most eloquent was Del. Melvin L. Stukes (D-Baltimore), who spoke with the fervor of a preacher. He compared opposition to undocumented students with the 1700s view of slaves as less than human.
"Do I need anyone to remind me of the mind-set that existed then and still exists today, that some people were considered three-fifths of a human being?" Stukes asked, his voice rising. "Are we still saying that some people are less than whole? I don't think so."
Stein didn't find a rebuttal to that line of reasoning, although it's outright foolish. Kids from New York to New Delhi attend Maryland colleges and universities and pay out-of-state tuition. Does Stukes think they are regarded as "less than whole" persons under Maryland's laws and constitution?
Rein closed her article with the vote tally. The bill passed 81-57 in the House of Delegates and "now goes to the Senate, where its prospects are uncertain." She failed to note that if passed, some Democratic backers of the bill believe liberal Gov. Martin O'Malley is likely to sign the bill.