What makes me despair about American journalism? Michelle Malkin.
There are times I am tempted to throw my hands in the air and surrender to the populist takeover of American journalism. Complex issues are distilled, parsed, stretched and repackaged to meet the needs of an ideologue position. It happens on all sides of the political spectrum, but there are some populist commentators that have a particular gift for it. It is not too strong a point to take these distortions of journalist and term them intellectually dishonest. They are an immoral attempt to court readership through thinly veiled lies, surface scraping posing as analysis and playing to the lowest possible denominator of journalistic integrity.
Often, these populists also trade on the tragedies of others to garner appeal with their audience and their twisted perspective on matters. Take the example of the tragic case of Rutgers University student, Zeke Rucker. Joseph “Zeke” Rucker was on spring break in Cancun, Mexico with friends. The trip was a gift from his parents. When the group returned to its hotel in the early morning hours of March 14, Rucker decided to hang out by the swimming pool. He was later found by a resort security guard, seriously injured. The result is that Rucker is in a coma with skull fractures and bleeding on the brain. Police are investigating whether Rucker was the victim of an assault. His wallet and ID were found in his room so robbery does not seem the motive for any assault. So far there is no evidence to identify a potential attacker, no obvious motive and no proof to verify an attack.
This is a tragic case. The parents must be devastated and his friends who were with him on a terrible guilt trip that they weren’t with him at the time he sustained these injuries. There are certainly learnings from cases like this. Many people could draw conclusions about the risks of a spring break. Some could speculate that youth and alcohol can be a dangerous cocktail. One could even stretch to concerns about the danger of relatively wealthy young people in countries where third world poverty is endemic. One could always express sympathy for the parents.
It takes a certain type of heinous thinking and an unbridled desire for self-promotion however for tea party darling Michelle Malkin to produce her April 2nd column, “An American family’s Cancun horror”, on the matter. Her piece is a vile distortion of the case, twisted into a xenophobic attack on Mexico. Malkin concludes that the tragic case of Rucker goes to “prove” that this was obviously an attack against America by Mexicans and that nothing is being done to locate any attacker.
She then attempts to connect a story – as tragic as it is but that will occur in various forms and severity everywhere there are students, spring breaks parties and alcohol – into part of a systemic Mexican pattern of violence aimed at Americans. Deftly and dishonestly she also manages to take a slam at Mexican immigrants, corruption and conspiracy. This is her stock in trade type of work that acts as red meat to her audience and incites extreme and hateful comments from her readers. If this sort of populist incitement doesn’t appall you then you have lost the gift for independent analysis and have succumbed to the populist mentality. Malkin’s piece isn’t journalism; it is a hack job intended to incite her readership, increase her popularity and produce revenue. She may well achieve her objectives, though one has to doubt she sleeps well at night.
Did he fall? Was he beaten? Did hotel staff witness anything? A resort security guard found Rucker at around 3 a.m. near some lounge chairs with his head “bashed in.” According to family members, the hotel has interior surveillance video showing Rucker “staggering” from his room. But there is no exterior video to shed light on what happened once he exited the hotel or when and how exactly he sustained his grave head injuries. His wallet and ID were left intact inside his hotel room…
Mexican consulates on American soil are famous for vigorously intervening on behalf of their illegal alien citizens — lobbying to get them driver’s licenses, bank accounts, and healthcare, for example, and rushing to defend illegal alien border-crossers arrested in reckless and drunk-driving cases and sweeps…
Amid myriad cases of unsolved border violence cases over the past month – the cold-blooded murder of Arizona rancher Robert Krentz, the assassination of an American consulate worker and her federal security officer husband in Juarez, and on and on – the case of Zeke Rucker has a special, chilling resonance with every parent of a teen or twenty-something.