San Francisco Bay Area NPR affiliate KQED has published a comic book guide to Donald Trump’s immigration policy, aimed at students, which is titled “Fear of Foreigners” and casts Trump as part of the “History of Nativism in America.”
The comic book slide show, illustrated by Andy Warner, is part of KQED’s series “The Lowdown,” described by the station as “Connecting newsroom to classroom,” and is presented among “lesson plans and education guides” for teachers to use.
The “lesson” consists of twelve panels, starting with two panels depicting the Republican presidential nominee commenting on Mexican immigrants and proposing to shut down Muslim immigration. It goes on to explain: “Some Americans find his rhetoric alarming, but it follows a long tradition of anti-immigrant public discourse.”
Subsequent panels trace hostility to immigration from Benjamin Franklin in the mid-18th century, to the Know-Nothings of the 1850s, through the anti-Catholic Ku Klux Klan, the internment of Japanese-Americans in World War II by FDR, and California’s own Proposition 187 in 1994.
The series misses important facts and dates, and provides little historical context. For example, it leaves out the Immigration Act of 1924, arguably the most important law restricting Jewish migration in the interwar period, preferring to dwell instead on antisemitism by the KKK, Henry Ford, and Charles Lindbergh, which serves the purpose of demonizing America without actually explaining the anti-immigration backlash. And if America was so terrible to Jews, who were fleeing real persecution in Russia and elsewhere, why did they flock to the U.S.? Warner does not interrupt his indictment of America to explain.
Nowhere does Warner mention the real problems of anarchism and communism among immigrant communities in the early 20th century. The illustrations also fail to mention the problem of radical Islam among present immigrants from the Muslim world, until a brief allusion at the end: “the nation remains on edge after recent ISIS-inspired attacks.” And the series makes little effort to distinguish between legal and illegal immigrants, casting all hostility to our present immigration policy as the result of prejudice and economic insecurity, ignoring genuine public concerns for sovereignty, security, and the rule of law.
Warner provides a bibliography, which includes left-wing sources like a Washington Post op-ed declaring “America has always been hostile to immigrants,” and Syracuse professor David H. Bennett’s book The Party Of Fear: The American Far Right from Nativism to the Militia Movement. No effort appears to have been made to include different perspectives, whether political or historical.
It is impossible to imagine a public — and publicly-subsidized — outlet publishing an “educational” comic that demonized the Democratic nominee in similar terms.
Breitbart News has reached out to Warner for comment.
Update: KQED comments: “As noted in the piece, this is a comic from KQED’s Education department meant to explore the history of anti-immigrant statements and quotes in U.S. politics, including in this year’s presidential race.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, is available from Regnery through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.