If an adult chosen at random were asked to name the biggest story of the week, odds are low that he’d say a Muslim immigrant terrorist set off a bomb in a New York subway station in an attempt to kill unknown numbers of innocent people.
That’s because national news editors and TV producers decided that story wasn’t as important as a Republican's election loss and endless commentary that imagined President Trump slut-shaming Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s words, not mine).
Example: After Roy Moore’s defeat in Alabama, the New York Times immediately ran four op-eds and an editorial on the race, which was covered as a national news story. After the terrorist attack, the paper ran just one editorial about it and its news coverage of the incident was relegated to the “New York region” pages.
Example: As of Friday, the last story the Washington Post reported that referenced Akayed Ullah, the terrorist, was Dec. 12, one day after the failed bombing and nothing since. But the paper published at least one about Moore as late as Thursday and one op-ed about him on Friday, three days after the race ended.
There’s one major difference between the immigrant terrorist story and the other two about Moore and Gillibrand: The media can’t make the immigrant terrorist story bad for the White House.
On Monday, Ullah, a 27-year-old Bangladeshi national, secured a pipe bomb to his body and then detonated it in a busy Times Square subway station. The bomb mostly fizzled, injuring only Ullah, who told authorities after that he had been inspired by the Islamic State.
Ullah’s ticket to the U.S. came in the form of a green card, which he received not because he had something substantial to offer — he drove for a car service, which anyone with legs and arms can do — but because his mother is the sister of a U.S. citizen.
That’s the way the vast majority of immigrants come to the U.S., while other foreigners, including high-skilled workers who want a better life, too, wait their turn and hope for the best.
In English, getting an advantage because of (loose) family connections is called nepotism. In America (where language is not an issue), it’s called “chain migration.”
Trump on Tuesday renewed calls for Congress to end chain migration, and his director of Citizen and Immigration Services made the case for why.
Francis Cissna, the director, told reporters that under the current system, the standards to chain migrate or to win a green card through the random lottery are so low that virtually anyone — say, a Muslim Uber driver who might eventually want to blow up a subway station — can abuse it.
Yahoo News reporter Hunter Walker thought he was making a smart point when he suggested to Cissna that “immigrants actually commit fewer crimes than native-born Americans.”
So what? The U.S. already has to deal with its native-born criminals, but it should open the gates to the rest of the world’s?
Most people reading this are probably only just now remembering that there even was an attempted attack in New York, because the news media wanted to focus on something more important, like Trump’s supposedly “suggestive” tweet about Gillibrand.
Trump won the GOP nomination and the presidency in large part because he went the opposite way his opponents and the media have been going on immigration for decades.
On immigration, the media and Trump’s opponents said: have a heart. Trump said: get in line behind that wall.
Trump’s poll numbers shot up when he had the balls to defend his December 2015 proposal for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the U.S., which followed the San Bernardino shooting (perpetuated by two Muslim immigrant terrorists) and the multiple bombings and shootings in Paris the month before (perpetuated by several Muslim immigrant terrorists).
In August, the White House won the argument for reducing immigration and tilting it in favor of a merit-based system, a proposal that polls show is popular, even though CNN’s Jim Acosta believes it would violate a poem on the Statue of Liberty.
Immigration is a good story for Trump. That’s why the media would rather talk about something else.