Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Scaremongering

Here's something from a couple of weeks ago that you might find interesting:

U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales tours the border and announces a law enforcement grant for South Texas. As a reader pointed out, the AG addressed and discounted concerns about terrorists infiltrating the United States via the southern border, a claim the hysterical anti-immigrant crowd loves to make.
Gonzales, who was born in San Antonio, also responded to media reports that Middle Eastern terrorists were training to cross the southern border illegally into the United States. The possibility of terrorists sneaking through the Mexican border is a concern, but there's no specific or credible intelligence to say it is happening, he said. [emphasis added]
Cue NewsChannel 5's Will Ripley, who mentions the $300,000 grant but then, about a minute-and-a-half into the broadcast report about the visit, invokes "Homeland Security" and asks Gonzales if he thinks there's a real danger of terrorists sneaking across the border. "We are concerned about terrorists coming into our country."

But as my correspondent pointed out, the TV station ended the sound bite and omitted the part about "no specific or credible intelligence to say it is happening." To quote the reader (who will remain anonymous until I hear otherwise):
Ripley cut the AG's sentence in half to feed the terror monster he created.
Of course, this isn't the first time Rio Grande Valley broadcasters tried to grab viewers by crying "Terrorist!" Remember that South African woman arrested at the McAllen airport? TV made a huge deal about the "suspected al Qaida operative" right here at home. Turns out there was no connection to any terrorist groups.

So take what television reporters (or print journalists -- or bloggers, for that matter) tell you with a grain of salt.