New York Times Editor: Racial Conflict Drives Immigration Politics

Dean Baquet, executive editor of The New York Times, speaks at the National First Amendment Conference in Pittsburgh on Monday, Oct. 22, 2018. Journalists, scholars and government officials past and present have gathered in Pittsburgh to emphasize the First Amendment's continuing importance in American society. (AP Photo/Ted Anthony)
AP Photo/Ted Anthony

The New York Times should treat immigration disputes in the 2020 election as a racial issue, according to the newspaper’s executive editor, Dean Baquet.

“Race in the next year is going to be a huge part of the American story,” he told reporters and editors at a Monday meeting, according to an audio recording, which was transcribed by “I mean, race in terms of not only African Americans and their relationship with Donald Trump, but Latinos and immigration,” he continued.

The focus on immigration as a racial issue is part of a broader shift towards racial differences that has happened in the NYT‘s coverage since the July collapse of the Moscow-elected-Donald-Trump conspiracy.

But Baquet’s focus on race will drag reporters’ attention further from the huge economic impact of immigration — and its subsequent impact on Americans’ wages, salaries, job creation, job outsourcing, housing, regional growth, and politics.

Baquet told his staff:

We built our newsroom to cover one story, and we did it truly well. Now we have to regroup, and shift resources and emphasis to take on a different story … this one is a story about what it means to be an American in 2019. It is a story that requires deep investigation into people who peddle hatred, but it is also a story that requires imaginative use of all our muscles to write about race and class in a deeper way than we have in years. In the coming weeks, we’ll be assigning some new people to politics who can offer different ways of looking at the world. We’ll also ask reporters to write more deeply about the country, race, and other divisions. I really want your help in navigating this story.

Racial conflicts explain Trump’s election in 2016, and voter worries about migration are close to conspiracy theories, he suggested:

Our job is to figure out why, and how, and to hold the administration to account. If you’re independent, that’s what you do. The same newspaper that this week will publish the 1619 Project, the most ambitious examination of the legacy of slavery [in the United States] ever undertaken in [inaudible] newspaper, to try to understand the forces that led to the election of Donald Trump. And that means trying to understand the segment of America that probably does not read us. The same newspaper that can publish a major story on Fox News, and how some of its commentators purvey anti-immigrant conspiracies, also has to talk to people who think immigration may cost them jobs and who oppose abortion on religious grounds.

Baquet also validated progressives’  growing insistence that race — not money, civic status, or the self-interest of the post-graduate class — is at the center of American politics. One unidentified NYT staff questioner asked him:

Hello, I have another question about racism. I’m wondering to what extent you think that the fact of racism and white supremacy being sort of the foundation of this country should play into our reporting. Just because it feels to me like it should be a starting point, you know? Like these conversations about what is racist, what isn’t racist. I just feel like racism is in everything. It should be considered in our science reporting, in our culture reporting, in our national reporting. And so, to me, it’s less about the individual instances of racism, and sort of how we’re thinking about racism and white supremacy as the foundation of all of the systems in the country.

Baquet endorsed the “race-is-central” claim:

Race in the next year is going to be a huge part of the American story. And I mean, race in terms of not only African Americans and their relationship with Donald Trump, but Latinos and immigration. And I think that one of the things I would love to come out of this with is for people to feel very comfortable coming to me and saying, here’s how I would like you to consider telling that story. Because the reason you have a diverse newsroom, to be frank, is so that you can have people pull together to try to tell that story. I think that’s the closest answer I can come.

The newspaper’s 1619 Project is an attempt to rewrite Americans’ history as a story of racial discrimination. “In the days and weeks to come, we will publish essays demonstrating that nearly everything that has made America exceptional grew out of slavery,” said a tweet from a member of the newspaper’s editorial board, Mara Gay:

“Don’t ignore the racism,” Gay tweeted June 27. “Go right at it. Talk about it for what it is: a threat to democracy, a campaign of terror, the biggest con-job in our 400-year history, and a cancer on the human soul.”

The newspaper’s new focus on race echoes the widespread claim by progressives that racism explains why different racial or ethnic groups in one society can have different income levels, wealth, cultural styles, and career paths.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez echoed the “systemic racism” view in mid-August:

There are a lot of people that support Trump that genuinely don’t believe that they are racist because we do not talk about or educate people on recognizing racism. And because we do not do that, we get caught in this debate of “Is something racist?” Then people use their defensiveness, and they say, “Well, it’s not racist because I’m not racist and I believe this thing because it’s economic in nature.”

Breitbart News covers immigration by following the money because immigration has a huge economic impact on Americans’ income, wealth, housing, careers, and economy:

Immigration Numbers:

Each year, roughly four million young Americans join the workforce after graduating from high school or university. This total includes about 800,000 Americans who graduate with skilled degrees in business or health care, engineering or science, software, or statistics.

But the federal government then imports about 1.1 million legal immigrants and refreshes a resident population of roughly 1.5 million white-collar visa workers — including approximately 1 million H-1B workers and spouses — and about 500,000 blue-collar visa workers.

The government also prints out more than one million work permits for foreigners, tolerates about eight million illegal workers, and does not punish companies for employing the hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants who sneak across the border or overstay their legal visas each year.

This policy of inflating the labor supply boosts economic growth for investors because it transfers wages to investors and ensures that employers do not have to compete for American workers by offering higher wages and better working conditions.

This policy of flooding the market with cheap, foreign, white-collar graduates and blue-collar labor also shifts enormous wealth from young employees towards older investors, even as it also widens wealth gaps, reduces high-tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, and hurts children’s schools and college educations.

The cheap-labor economic strategy also pushes Americans away from high-tech careers and sidelines millions of marginalized Americans, including many who are now struggling with fentanyl addictions.

The labor policy also moves business investment and wealth from the Heartland to the coastal cities, explodes rents and housing costs, shrivels real estate values in the Midwest, and rewards investors for creating low-tech, labor-intensive workplaces:


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