Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Why I Miss Coffee

I had a hard time making much sense of this news article in the Los Angeles Times. It seems that Cardinal Roger Mahony, who will be retiring as head of the Los Angeles Archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church soon, posted a critique of the immigration bill that came out of the Arizona legislature on his blog (which can be accessed here). The blog post isn't all that coherent, and (as the article points out) is wrong on a couple of points. But, as a religious leader, Cardinal Mahony is expected to point out moral error when he sees it, and, as an American, he is entitled to speak his mind. The rest of us can choose to agree with him and to amend our actions or not.

I don't deny that the cardinal's pronouncement is newsworthy, primarily in Los Angeles. I just wish that the article was a little more coherent than the cardinal's blog post.

For example, the article quotes Cardinal Mahony, and then gives his credentials to speak to the issue in a rather unusual fashion:

"The Arizona legislature just passed the country's most retrogressive, mean-spirited, and useless anti-immigrant law," he wrote on his blog. "The tragedy of the law is its totally flawed reasoning: that immigrants come to our country to rob, plunder, and consume public resources. That is not only false, the premise is nonsense."

Mahony is the head of the nation's largest Roman Catholic archdiocese and a powerful, influential voice among Catholics and others nationwide. His comments are the highest-level statement from the Catholic hierarchy on the Arizona legislation. The Los Angeles archdiocese is nearly 70% Latino.
[Emphasis added]

While I'm not certain Cardinal Mahony is that influential a voice "among Catholics and others nationwide," he is certainly an important voice in Los Angeles. What I don't understand is why the fact that his flock is 70% Latino (a fact I did not know and am not certain is accurate) pertains to what precedes it. Is the reporter implying a bias?

Then, I guess in an attempt to be fair and balanced, the article contains a rebuttal to the cardinal's blog post:

"I think it's frankly bizarre and the cardinal should apologize for dredging up that old imagery," said Joe Hicks, a commentator for the conservative online news network PJTV.com.

Hicks said he was sympathetic to Arizona's struggles in dealing with soaring illegal immigration amid economic crisis. The state's illegal immigrant population increased 70% from 2000 to 2008, according to Department of Homeland Security statistics.
[Emphasis added]

Joe Hicks? Pajamas Media? This is the best the Los Angeles Times can come up with for the other side of the story?

And isn't it an amazing coincidence that the percentage increase in Arizona's illegal immigrant population is the same percentage as the Latino constituency in the Los Angeles archdiocese? Is that supposed to mean something?

I really shouldn't have to be hopped up on caffeine to understand what purports to be the news. What we have here is a waste of ink, electrons, and my early morning time.

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