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I Am Ashamed!

As a long­time reporter and jour­nal­ism edu­ca­tor, I am ashamed of my pro­fes­sion as a result of the bias of the media toward the new immi­gra­tion policies.

From the cov­er­age, you couldn’t believe that 57 per­cent of those polled agree with the tem­po­rary ban on immi­grants from seven coun­tries, accord­ing to Ras­mussen Reports. Only 33 per­cent oppose Trump’s exec­u­tive order, while 10 per­cent are undecided.

The news media are in a full-​tilt smack­down of Trump’s poli­cies, under­lin­ing the administration’s notion that jour­nal­ists are indeed the opposition.

For exam­ple, a CNN “news” report com­pares the exec­u­tive order to the Alien and Sedi­tions Acts, the Japan­ese intern­ment camps and McCarthyism.

I address the fol­low­ing to the senior cor­re­spon­dent, Stephen Collinson, who appar­ently knows lit­tle about his­tory, and oth­ers who have picked up the meme:

–Only a hand­ful of peo­ple were not allowed into the United States.
–Green card hold­ers are not affected.
–The ban is tem­po­rary for between 90 and 120 days.

The Alien and Sedi­tion Acts existed dur­ing the pres­i­dency of John Adams. They allowed the gov­ern­ment to toss peo­ple out of the coun­try. More impor­tant, the main com­plaint about the acts was the abil­ity to close down news­pa­pers run by Adams’ opponents.

More than 100,000 Japan­ese and other aliens were interned dur­ing World War II by that cham­pion of the Democ­rats: FDR.

While I do not con­done Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s tac­tics, Soviet records con­firmed that mas­sive inci­dents of espi­onage occurred in the United States, includ­ing the place­ment of Russ­ian spies into U.S. gov­ern­ment positions.

An ABC jour­nal­ist posted his per­sonal views on Face­book about the ter­ri­ble stuff that was hap­pen­ing while he was cov­er­ing the immi­gra­tion story at JFK. He did not respond to my ques­tion about whether he was a reporter or an advocate.

But there’s more. Philly​.com, the host for the news­pa­pers in Philadel­phia, described the pro­tes­tors at the local air­port as a huge crowd. There were 200 people!

CNN’s sob sto­ries start with a woman whose friend can’t make it to a wed­ding and goes down­hill from there.

The Huff­in­g­ton Post had a col­umn call­ing for the president’s impeach­ment. Seriously?

Hun­dreds of lawyers report­edly descended on air­ports to “help” peo­ple who were stuck in immi­gra­tion, accord­ing to The Wash­ing­ton Post. The num­ber of lawyers would greatly out­num­ber those who had tem­po­rary prob­lems. As of this writ­ing, no one was being held in immi­gra­tion in the United States.

And, if you missed it, peo­ple were protest­ing against Über for tak­ing advan­tage of the immi­gra­tion changes. That’s right, boys and girls, all of those immi­grants who drive for Über were not prop­erly show­ing their sol­i­dar­ity with their com­rades. That one is really hard to get my head around.

Hav­ing had the oppor­tu­nity to travel to more than 60 coun­tries dur­ing my life­time, I have expe­ri­enced the tri­als and tribu­la­tions of immi­gra­tion laws through­out the world.

Egypt and Iraq expelled me for my report­ing in those coun­tries. Iran offi­cials detained me dur­ing the hostage cri­sis because I was an Amer­i­can. My team faced expul­sion in Ethiopia for leav­ing our hotel with­out a gov­ern­ment guide. I was inter­ro­gated in France because immi­gra­tion offi­cials thought I was car­ry­ing explo­sive mate­r­ial in my luggage.

When I taught in Rus­sia and Poland, I had to go through an elab­o­rate visa process. I vio­lated the immi­gra­tion poli­cies of Italy and the United King­dom when I taught there because I stayed on a tourist visa.

For the past three years, I have taught in China. I needed to have an offi­cial let­ter from the uni­ver­sity in order to obtain a visa.

I don’t begrudge any of these coun­tries for the actions they took, although the Egyp­tians and Iraqis may have been a bit extreme. A nation has an oblig­a­tion to pro­tect its cit­i­zens from eco­nomic and polit­i­cal threats.

Hav­ing worked in the Arab world for nearly a decade, I think it would be dif­fi­cult for any­one to call me an Islam­o­phobe. Nev­er­the­less, it is impor­tant to keep in mind that nowhere in the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion is there a right for for­eign­ers to come to the United States as any­thing other than guests.

Despite the ker­fuf­fle by hand-​wringing demon­stra­tors, few peo­ple were actu­ally affected by the tem­po­rary – yes, that’s tem­po­rary – immi­gra­tion poli­cies. Home­land Secu­rity offi­cials said that about 100 peo­ple who were already in tran­sit to the United States when the order was signed were denied access; less than 200 were stopped before board­ing planes head­ing to America.

If I heard a coun­try had changed its poli­cies, I don’t think I would get on a plane until I con­sulted with the embassy. More­over, I prob­a­bly would have used my visa on or about Jan. 19.

Finally, I recall when Jimmy Carter banned Ira­ni­ans from trav­el­ing to the United States in 1979. Few peo­ple demon­strated against him or called him a racist. But he was a Demo­c­rat. That appar­ently makes all the difference.

The hys­te­ria and the hyper­bole really have to stop. But that’s prob­a­bly not going to hap­pen in a media world run amok.


Christo­pher Harper worked for The Asso­ci­ated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and The Wash­ing­ton Times. He teaches journalism.

As a longtime reporter and journalism educator, I am ashamed of my profession as a result of the bias of the media toward the new immigration policies.

From the coverage, you couldn’t believe that 57 percent of those polled agree with the temporary ban on immigrants from seven countries, according to Rasmussen Reports. Only 33 percent oppose Trump’s executive order, while 10 percent are undecided.

The news media are in a full-tilt smackdown of Trump’s policies, underlining the administration’s notion that journalists are indeed the opposition.

For example, a CNN “news” report compares the executive order to the Alien and Seditions Acts, the Japanese internment camps and McCarthyism.

I address the following to the senior correspondent, Stephen Collinson, who apparently knows little about history, and others who have picked up the meme:

–Only a handful of people were not allowed into the United States.
–Green card holders are not affected.
–The ban is temporary for between 90 and 120 days.

The Alien and Sedition Acts existed during the presidency of John Adams. They allowed the government to toss people out of the country. More important, the main complaint about the acts was the ability to close down newspapers run by Adams’ opponents.

More than 100,000 Japanese and other aliens were interned during World War II by that champion of the Democrats: FDR.

While I do not condone Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s tactics, Soviet records confirmed that massive incidents of espionage occurred in the United States, including the placement of Russian spies into U.S. government positions.

An ABC journalist posted his personal views on Facebook about the terrible stuff that was happening while he was covering the immigration story at JFK. He did not respond to my question about whether he was a reporter or an advocate.

But there’s more. Philly.com, the host for the newspapers in Philadelphia, described the protestors at the local airport as a huge crowd. There were 200 people!

CNN’s sob stories start with a woman whose friend can’t make it to a wedding and goes downhill from there.

The Huffington Post had a column calling for the president’s impeachment. Seriously?

Hundreds of lawyers reportedly descended on airports to “help” people who were stuck in immigration, according to The Washington Post. The number of lawyers would greatly outnumber those who had temporary problems. As of this writing, no one was being held in immigration in the United States.

And, if you missed it, people were protesting against Uber for taking advantage of the immigration changes. That’s right, boys and girls, all of those immigrants who drive for Uber were not properly showing their solidarity with their comrades. That one is really hard to get my head around.

Having had the opportunity to travel to more than 60 countries during my lifetime, I have experienced the trials and tribulations of immigration laws throughout the world.

Egypt and Iraq expelled me for my reporting in those countries. Iran officials detained me during the hostage crisis because I was an American. My team faced expulsion in Ethiopia for leaving our hotel without a government guide. I was interrogated in France because immigration officials thought I was carrying explosive material in my luggage.

When I taught in Russia and Poland, I had to go through an elaborate visa process. I violated the immigration policies of Italy and the United Kingdom when I taught there because I stayed on a tourist visa.

For the past three years, I have taught in China. I needed to have an official letter from the university in order to obtain a visa.

I don’t begrudge any of these countries for the actions they took, although the Egyptians and Iraqis may have been a bit extreme. A nation has an obligation to protect its citizens from economic and political threats.

Having worked in the Arab world for nearly a decade, I think it would be difficult for anyone to call me an Islamophobe. Nevertheless, it is important to keep in mind that nowhere in the U.S. Constitution is there a right for foreigners to come to the United States as anything other than guests.

Despite the kerfuffle by hand-wringing demonstrators, few people were actually affected by the temporary–yes, that’s temporary–immigration policies. Homeland Security officials said that about 100 people who were already in transit to the United States when the order was signed were denied access; less than 200 were stopped before boarding planes heading to America.

If I heard a country had changed its policies, I don’t think I would get on a plane until I consulted with the embassy. Moreover, I probably would have used my visa on or about Jan. 19.

Finally, I recall when Jimmy Carter banned Iranians from traveling to the United States in 1979. Few people demonstrated against him or called him a racist. But he was a Democrat. That apparently makes all the difference.

The hysteria and the hyperbole really have to stop. But that’s probably not going to happen in a media world run amok.


Christopher Harper worked for The Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and The Washington Times. He teaches journalism.