Drive-By Media: Highlighting Hit-n-Run Rise, 'Today' Ignores Impact of Illegals

Let's try an experiment. Imagine that, like me, you were watching the opening of this morning's 'Today.' You hear Matt Lauer - teasing upcoming stories - say: "A mystery on the roads. A dramatic increase in hit-and-run accidents nationwide. What is going on?"

OK, quick: what comes to mind? I immediately thought of the increase in illegal immigration in our country. How about you?

And so I waited to see how 'Today' would deal with the issue of illegal immigration. And waited. And . . .

That's right. In discussing the apparent epidemic of hit-and-run accidents in the United States, 'Today' never once mentioned - even if only to reject - the possibility that the jump in illegal immigration might be a contributing cause.

Instead, we were treated to a variety of other theories to explain the fact that "hit-and-run fatalities climbed dramatically - up 20 percent in 5 years":

  • "We have increased traffic. There is a mixture between traffic and pedestrians. We have more aggressive driving."
  • "Cellphones and iPods and Blackberries distracting drivers and pedestrians."
  • "Perhaps it's a sign of the times. Less concern for others."
  • "Sociologists may have answers for why this is happening."

And that was it. Not a word about illegal immigration, despite growing evidence that it is a significant contributing factor. Take this 2005 article from the Arizona Daily Star

"Arizona consistently has one of the nation's highest rates of fatal hit-and-run crashes.
And some statistical evidence suggests the state's large number of illegal immigrants is one reason.

"An Arizona Daily Star analysis of nearly 10,000 fatal crashes in the state from 1994 through 2004 found that drivers left the scene in 5.6 percent of the accidents. That's a higher rate of hit-and-runs than in any state except California.

"Just in 2004, 77 people in Arizona died in hit-and-runs. Over the past decade, half of Arizona's fatal hit-and-runs involved pedestrians — a trend mirrored nationwide. If a pedestrian or bicyclist is killed on an Arizona road, there's a one in five chance the driver will take off.

"Determining why states vary on hit-and-run crashes is inherently difficult because many of those who flee are never caught.

"Nationally and in Arizona, the federal government's fatal accident database contains no information on drivers in four out of 10 cases of hit-and-run. Even in the other 60 percent, nationality and immigration status of drivers are not reported.
But to many traffic safety experts and insurance industry officials, there is at least circumstantial evidence that people illegally in the country contribute to the hit-and-run problem.

"The seven states with the highest rates of fatal hit-and-run crashes are also the seven states that have the most illegal immigrants, according to two think tanks. Both the Pew Hispanic Center and the Center for Immigration Studies rank Arizona fifth and put its illegal immigrant population at about 500,000, or 9 percent of all state residents. "

Or have a look at this World Net Daily article from just this past August, How open borders turn Americans into roadkill:

"There is an increasing awareness among law enforcement officials – and victims of traffic accidents – that illegal aliens are playing a disproportionate role in the road mayhem."

You don't suppose the PC-politics of the 'Today' show had anything to do with them ignoring the 800-pound issue in the room, do you?

Talk - as Rush would say - about your drive-by media!

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.