This week, Meet The Press host David Gregory upheld the journalistic tradition of giving voice to the voiceless, because when was the last time a mob of pissed-off bigots got their way?
On Sunday morning, Gregory doused himself with Derpentine™, lit a match, and interviewed Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson on the roiling immigration crisis that has clogged our immigration system with desperate children from Central America. Gregory’s questioning was heavy on Republican misinformation, and the full interview is everything you’d expect from a conflict-obsessed mainstream media journalist, but what really stood out was Gregory’s work on behalf of the racist assholes who screamed at busloads of women and children last week.
He began innocuously enough, asking Johnson, essentially, if these people are horrible racists, or is it possible they have a point. Obvious answer notwithstanding, it was a fair question to ask, if only to get Johnson on record with a hearty “Fuck yes, they’re horrible racists!”
That’s pretty much what Johnson said, as he told Gregory that “it is unfortunate to see that type of hostility directed at women and children on a bus, frankly. I do not believe that that band of individuals that you showed in your lead-in reflects Murrieta, California. And it certainly does not reflect the response we’ve seen across the southwest.”
It was Gregory’s followup, in which he pressed Johnson with the racist asshole side of the case, that was truly egregious, combining asshole advocacy with the aforementioned Republican misinformation.
But doesn’t it reflect frustration at the government — you’re the head of The Department of Homeland Security — for not doing more to protect the border, to enforce the nation’s laws with regard to turning migrants away who are coming illegally?
Johnson’s overly-generous response omitted the fundamental fact that this crisis has absolutely nothing to do with border security, since these children and families are, in fact, being apprehended, and if anything, it is the enforcement of the law that’s creating the bottleneck, as Central American children cannot, by law, simply be turned around and sent home immediately.
Johnson also generously elected not to point out that people with reasonable policy differences don’t generally shout at U.S. citizens through spittle-flecked lips to get out of their own country, but did point out that there are lots of people who are not humongous bigots about immigration.
There is so much attention paid to bias in the media, but the greatest crime that our current mainstream press commits is to pursue “balance” at the cost of factual accuracy and objective truth. Gregory’s self-destructive impulse to lift those bigoted voices onto a fair and balanced playing field could not have hurt him if he had gotten his facts straight first.