Fall 2009 | Online Exclusives

An Opposing Viewpoint: The Struggle to Be Heard

By Jerry Kammer
I have a bone to pick with The Washington Post, particularly the editorial page.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Read a response to this article by Tamar Jacoby and a reply from Jerry Kammer.

The Post has repeatedly opened its pages to the advocacy and analysis of former journalist Tamar Jacoby. She has advocated expansive immigration policy for several years, first at the conservative Manhattan Institute and now as a lobbyist for an employers’ coalition. Since late 2003, she has had 14 bylines in the Post, including six op-eds, four Sunday Outlook essays, and four book reviews. All conveyed her views about immigration policy. Her input totaled 16,916 words.

In July, Jacoby and Jorge Castañeda, Mexico’s former foreign minister, coauthored an op-ed for the Post. They called on Congress to admit large numbers of low-wage immigrant workers when the economy improves. They said that if the United States didn’t let the workers in, they would come anyway, “no matter how much border and worksite enforcement is in place.”

Hoping to offer a differing view, I contacted an acquaintance on the Post’s editorial board. That led to contact with op-ed editor Autumn Brewington, who gave me the green light. She added that she would not make a decision on publishing until after she had read the piece.

I submitted a 743-word piece the next morning. In it I cited the Jordan Commission’s statement that “Immigration of unskilled immigrants comes at a cost to unskilled U.S. workers, particularly established immigrants for whom new immigrants are economic substitutes.” I noted Barbara Jordan’s observation that “any nation worth its salt must control its borders.” I ended with the observation that the Jacoby-Castañeda proposal “would benefit the interests they represent” but “would not serve the national interest.”
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Later that day, in response to an e-mail query, Brewington said she had received the piece, adding “I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.”

I haven’t heard from her since. Such casual discourtesy, especially in the context of the Post’s repeated accommodations to Jacoby’s views, is not good for the broad and open discussion of immigration policy that our country needs. It is also not good journalism.

1 Comment on An Opposing Viewpoint: The Struggle to Be Heard
Joseph Bracken says:
September 16, 2009 at 8:42am
Fairness is as elusive as it is desirable, and the WP is not being fair in its allocation of Op Ed space on this issue.
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