Where’s the press?


We read stories of many of the individual children, teenagers and young adults crossing into America, designed to evoke sympathy (one such article ran here in Connecticut last week). We aren’t reading these stories in magazines but on mainstream news sites. Occasionally, we see a report that Rick Perry is attacking Obama or that Obama wants money to deal with the problem. What we are not seeing is the problem itself being reported in detail.

Where are the photos of planes being loaded with kids being deported? Where are the photos of kids being brought into hearings, their transportation, housing, and care. Where is the big picture? I understand that photographing children presents a legal issue for journalists, and has its own set of challenges (permission from their parents isn’t possible since those same parents sent their children unaccompanied to the United States — here we would call that abandonment, right, and the parents would be arrested?). But this is an American crisis that needs to be documented and reported. I would say that the parents relinquished their rights when they allowed their children to face the dangers of illegally crossing the border into the United States.

We are seeing tiny glimpses into this crisis. The United States is being flooded with young undocumented immigrants who want the American Dream. Sorry to say that that dream is no longer available, even to Americans. Sorry, kids.

I am reading that many of these kids are fleeing violent environments. And they think by coming to the United States they can avoid gangs, drugs, and gun violence? Huh? When was the last time any news source reported on America’s inner cities, especially those areas housing the poorest of the poor? When was the last time we saw reports on crime in urban America?

We have gangs. We have drugs. And we have lots and lots of violence. Just read every week about what is going on in Chicago. It is a blood bath there.

And where is the press? Where is that antagonistic relationship that is supposed to keep the press hounding the heels of government? Where is the constant pressure for access? Where are the investigative reporters?

After reading how the White House is patting itself on the back for coming through with its promise of transparency, I tried to remember the last time I saw a candid shot of any of the First Family. I tried to remember the last time I read a story that criticized Obama. I mean really criticized him for anything he did recently. That is the job of the press, folks. Holding the feet of government to the fire, providing accountability and critical analysis of its actions.

I am thoroughly disgusted by mainstream news organizations. I learned recently through one of my college classes that most news media are owned by a handful of corporate conglomerates. These big corporations, the very same corporations who have great influence in Washington, D.C., control not only the entertainment industry but the news.

I ask again: where’s the press in this whole immigration crisis? Where are the photojournalists who should be chronicling this mass immigration of young people who thought they would be allowed to stay if they could just cross the border? Where is the press? Where is the transparency?

I am sick of being spoon fed tiny portions of pathos-filled news on the crisis. I am sick of not finding facts and real figures, not seeing videos of these kids and photos of buses and planes, border guards escorting children to where they are being held. Where are the tours of these facilities with lots of photos? This is America, and I want to know what is really going on?

Where’s the press?

UPDATE: I could find no articles on national news sites, but by searching for news sites located in the Rio Grande Valley, I found a few articles on the crisis. “Border Patrol agents are ‘frustrated’ and ‘overwhelmed'” by journalist Valeria Aponte from ValleyCentral.com accuses the Border Patrol, and therefore the Federal Government, of not allowing journalists access to immigrant facilities to record the crisis. Border Patrol agents have been issued gag orders and are not allowed to speak to the press. This is not transparency.

Apparently, journalists would like access to report on the crisis but are being hindered. Governor Rick Perry allowed a single, conservative Sean Hannity to accompany him on a tour of the border. No other journalists were allowed access. This is NOT transparency. Since when is the government and its public servants allowed to control press access to American stories? Something is seriously wrong.

So where’s the press? I think we should ask Obama and Perry that question!

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