May 5, 2008

Raising Concerns

Justin Katz

Methinks there's a missing "my" in Karen Lee Ziner's "Remarks raise concern" piece on the front page of yesterday's Local News section:

A nonprofit group whose board members include First Lady Sue Carcieri asserts that nearly 45 percent of all immigrants in Rhode Island — legal and illegal — lack high school diplomas and "this low-skilled cohort of immigrants to Rhode Island costs state taxpayers about $212 million per year."

"It is because such a high percentage of immigrants, legal or not, lack a quality formal education that they represent a relatively high cost to the taxpayer," said the statement by the Ocean State Policy Research Institute. Its executive director, William Felkner, said he wrote the statement.

Felkner called people who sponsor immigrants to this country "the new deadbeat dad." He said he means that the government has assumed the financial role for immigrants that "family, faith and friends" formerly played.

The only person whom the remarks seem to have concerned is Ziner. It was then Ziner who proceeded to drum up concerns among others — specifically OSPRI's board members (emphasis added):

Carcieri spokesman Jeff Neal said Felkner's statements "are at odds" with Governor and Mrs. Carcieri's views on the subject of immigration. He said they were unaware of Felkner's news release until Neal brought it to their attention after The Journal sought comment. ...

Board member Edward M. Mazze said he also was unaware of the statement until a reporter asked him about it. Mazze is a regular contributor to the opinion and financial pages of The Journal.

In other words, if the Projo were to follow the editorial rule of avoiding the passive voice, the headline should have been: "Reporter raises concerns about remark." Perhaps the follow-up could have been: "Report raises profile of nonprofit group."

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karen lee Ziner uses her news stories as a virtual column in some instances.Years ago Lee Dykas,the Projo police reporter,reported on immigration enforcement activities.since I was involved in much of what he reported I can say with certainty that he was accurate and neutral.I never met or spoke to the man that I can recall although I remember seeing him at Providence Police HQ a few times.He was a journalist who reported the facts,period.I went back and forth with Ian at N4N over Ziner's style of reporting immigration stories-we wound up agreeing to disagree.I get the difference with Bakst-he is not a reporter.He is a columnist and he doesn't have to be concerned with facts.He voices his worthless opinion and it's easy to see him for what he is.Ziner is flying under the radar by subtly inserting opinion unfavorable to the enforcement of the immigration laws.I think this type of reporting and the demagoguery of Bakst combined with the irresponsible accusations of religious "leaders"have done more to raise the fear level of legitimate immigrants than any executive order by the Governor.His executive order does not diminish any rights that legal immigrants now have.if some legal immigrant children are removed from RICare it is only because there is a waiting period under the Federal laws that determine when legal residents become eligible for certain benefits.Just like the waiting period to purchase firearms,but you won't hear Ziner or Bakst whining about that.I would refer anyone who wants to dispute what I have said to research the "public charge"provisions of the immigration laws.Most immigrants who enter the US legally for permanent residence must have an affidavit of support from a US citizen or resident alien,or a labor certification.I won't explain these further here-if anyone's interested,they can check it out for themselves on line.The only people exempt to my knowledge are refugees where it obviously wouldn't make sense.

Posted by: joe bernstein at May 5, 2008 11:09 AM

Well, then, maybe reporters shouldn't ask activists about controversial statements, such as this dude throwing the term "deadbeat dad" around. Reporters asking questions can be pretty inconvenient to the anti-illegal immigrant agenda, right?

Posted by: rhody at May 5, 2008 11:13 AM

What happened to the days when reporters reported the news? Karen Ziner has spent years manipulating the players. Where no outrage exists, she'll create it. Then she has something to write about.

Posted by: Greg at May 5, 2008 12:16 PM

Ziner's not a reporter she's an advocate and not a very good one at that. (Now that Rawson is gone here's hoping there will be a demand from the new executive editor that actual journalism instead of storytelling be practiced at the Projo) Bill Felkner must be thrilled will all this free publicity. Heard the governor on with Helen Glover this morning and he's in aggreement with much of what Felkner had to say. Poor Karen! Yet another swing and a miss... lol

Posted by: Tim at May 5, 2008 12:42 PM

So board members, some high profile, should not be asked about comments from their executive director? Oh, its not like a reverend's remarks. Maybe some of you commentors should have taken one or two journalism courses in college.

Posted by: David at May 5, 2008 5:16 PM

Rhody-I gave a direction where to look for facts on this issue-Ziner asks questions and then uses the answers that propel her story-I don't know Felkner at all-I've heard his name and I saw him once on a Sunday morning show-I gave a comparison to Ziner's writing_i also have examples of other reporters in other places in years past who reported accurately on immigration matters-you mention an "anti-illegal immigrant agenda"-there certainly is one.The key word being ILLEGAL.i am not the least ashamed to ask for Federal laws already existing to be enforced.

Posted by: joe bernstein at May 5, 2008 5:54 PM

Hey Rhody-All darrel west or any other pollster asks to ask is "Do you think the state should provide social welfare benefits to illegal aliens?"
They never ask the question. We all know why. Dimwit lefties like you are the reason the Democrats never elect a governor despite a 4-1 registration edge. In 2010 the only Democrat with a chance is Caprio, who-like Sundlun- will make MORE cuts than a Republican could get away with.
Take your pick: Lots of cuts with Laffey or even more cuts with Caprio.
It SUCKS being a RI progressive!

Posted by: Mike at May 5, 2008 8:51 PM

".I think this type of reporting and the demagoguery of Bakst combined with the irresponsible accusations of religious "leaders"have done more to raise the fear level of legitimate immigrants than any executive order by the Governor"

Great point.

We keep hearing some variation of "just you wait". Actually, we've been waiting quite some time and nothing bad has happened. How many actual instances of "vigilante" profiling have there been? Two: Dave Richardson and the RIPTA supervisor. That's it. [They both preceded the Gov's E.O., by the way.] But from the wailing and carry on, you'd think we were years into some kind of pogrom.

Posted by: Monique at May 5, 2008 10:12 PM

Monique-I am surprised there hasn't been some reference to "genocide" or "mass oppression"-overdramatization is a disease with the Baksts and Steven Browns of this world-and by the way,the RIPTA incident is far from clear as Lopez apparently was intoxicated.It's funny that the bus driver didn't mention that the other passenger was exposing himself.Somehow I think it would have come up if it had occured.

Posted by: joe bernstein at May 5, 2008 11:02 PM

Ziner's just trying to create something out of nothing. She's not a journalist -- she's an openly biased advocate -- so I don't even feel the need to respond in any detail to whatever assertions she makes, because she already has her conclusions predetermined, and is just looking for "facts" which fit them. I'd like to expect real journalism from the Projo, but honestly, I don't anymore.

The OSPRI issue vis-a-vis Mrs. Carcieri or anyone else is a case of apples and oranges. The press release from Bill was simply stating a statistical fact based on publicly available data. It had no contextual relationship with the EO at all, as the EO deals solely with the subject of illegal immigration. OSPRI is a non-partisan research institute, which occasionally puts out whitepapers on policy issues. If anything, I think this proves a complete lack of coordination with the administration. Unless one can specifically disprove the assertions with real data, I don't see any reason to criticize OSPRI.

That being said, I don't think OSPRI minds the press.

Posted by: Will at May 6, 2008 1:02 AM

Mike takes such delight in bad budget news.
I don't think anyone else here, no matter where they fit on the political spectrum, does.
Mike, what size straitjacket do you take?

Posted by: rhody at May 6, 2008 1:02 PM
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