On February 8, the Chicago Tribune ran an editorial by Dave Seminara (“Legalizing Illegal Immigrants A Bad Idea”) without ever divulging to readers the author’s perhaps most relevant affiliation. Seminara is a fellow of the Center for Immigration Studies, an organization the Southern Poverty Law Center has painted as part of what it calls the “Nativist Lobby.” Not only did The Trib fail to give its readers a heads up about the author’s bias but according to Media Matters, the commentary article serves up old “claims about undocumented immigrants that have been widely debunked.”
Perhaps some of the greatest dangers in journalism are those that go totally unseen. These errors of omission just sit there like those lowly vacuous spaces in the earth where poisonous gasses tend to collect, clouding our judgment and polluting our democracy. Hopefully the Chicago Tribune will fill in the gap in editorial judgment here and prevent readers from falling into an age-old trap.