DMI Blog

Elana Levin

Voting “None of the Above” in Newsday’s skewed immigration push-poll

(UPDATE! Just got off the phone with Newsday and their online editor was very responsive. They'll use more objective descriptions & represent the range of opinions next time around).
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Newsday is a serious regional newspaper -- the kind we could use more of. That's why I was so disgusted to see this push-poll full of false choices on their website this morning. Everyone knows that immigration is a hotly debated topic in Long Island, a situation exacerbated by the political maneuvering of a certain ambitious elected who should know better.

That does not excuse a legitimate newspaper from creating an online push-poll using skewed language which asks respondents to make a choice between unfeasible, destructive options and a coded language slur constructed to bias the public against comprehensive immigration reform. According to Newsday here are the only opinions one can have on immigration policy (and the percentage they poll right now).

What kind of immigration reform should Congress pass?

Tougher border and visa control (57 responses)
Tougher control, deportation of undocumented (273 responses)
Tougher control, some kind of amnesty (34 responses)
Tougher control, amnesty (12 responses)
Amnesty (6 responses)
None, it's fine as it is (7 responses)

Ok so according to Newsday I'm either infected with Lou Dobb's inventive form of leprosy of the brain and I'm under the impression that walling off America is 1. feasible 2. desirable OR I think that everything in our broken immigration system is fine just the way it is (with people forced to work under the table for substandard wages and thereby possibly reducing the quality of jobs available for all workers) OR I think that the US shouldn't even bother to have an immigration policy and then in that response I'd be forced to describe my feelings with a term created by immigration opponents to frame the creation of a path to citizenship negatively - as if workers were getting something for nothing.

How about I vote "none of the above".
How about I vote for "immigration policy that supports the contributions immigrants make to the economy and also protects the workplace rights of Americans and immigrants".

How about readers at least get the option to vote for choices that reflect the actual range of opinions held by the American public in honest, unbiased language. I know that objectivity in journalism is a myth but can we at least as aim for accuracy in phrasing? And maybe this would be a helpful time to educate the public about what the range of options in immigration policy really are.

Critics of the recently proposed immigration legislation aren't necessarily (and I'd argue, usually are not) saying that everything is fine the way it is. We agree that the system is broken. Some of us believe that the proposed legislation didn't do enough to protect the interests of the American middle class. I urge the newspaper to look into the real debate on immigration rather than relying on inaccurate frames developed by biased interest groups with hidden agendas. The least the public deserves is an accurate range of options to choose from on immigration policy.

Elana Levin: Author Bio | Other Posts
Posted at 11:40 AM, Jun 29, 2007 in Long Island | Media | New York
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